How to Build a Rocking Chair From A Wine Barrel

Rocking chairs not only add to the aesthetics of your home, but they’re also perfect for your mental and physical health. And due to their therapeutic value, finding high-quality rocking chairs can prove to be quite costly. Luckily, you can easily build a rocking chair from scratch by using a strong enough wine barrel. So what steps should you follow when building a rocking chair from a wine barrel?

The first step when building a rocking chair from a wine barrel is choosing an ideal barrel. Once you have a barrel, you’ll need to remove the hoops and choose your preferred staves. You’ll then have to cut the staves to your preferred length before assembling the different parts individually.

How to Build a Rocking Chair From A Wine Barrel

Looking to learn more about building rocking chairs from wine barrels? If your answer is yes, then you couldn’t be in a better place. Read on for an in-depth guide on steps to observe when DIY building a rocking chair from a wine barrel.

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Material and Tools You’ll Need

  • A wine barrel
  • Head Deck Screws (stainless steel)
  • Wood Sealer
  • Pliers ( end cutting)
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Screwdriver or chisels (for removing hoops)
  • Mallet or hammer (for removing hoops)
  • Saw

Steps to Building A Rocking Chair from A Wine Barrel

Choose A Good Wine Barrel

With several wine barrels to choose from, the first step should be choosing one that best suits your preferences. Some people prefer using white wine barrels while others find red wine barrels to work well with DIY furniture.

You’ll need to be careful to pick a barrel that isn’t too charred on the inside. Whiskey, rum, and tequila barrels are notorious for charring on the inside, meaning you’ll need to remove the char if you’re to use these barrels.

Local wineries are great sources of barrels. But if you don’t have a winery in your area, you can try contacting a nearby distillery or brewery to see if you can find one or two barrels. Home improvement stores and garden stores are also ideal places to find quality barrels that can be used for DIY furniture projects.

Remove all the Barrel Hoops

Removing the barrel hoops will give you access to the staves. So you’ll need to carefully remove the hoop nails such that you don’t damage the staves.

End cut nippers can come in handy in prying out the hoop nails. But for the stubborn, hard-to-remove hoop nails, you might need to use a screwdriver or chisel to coax them out before removal.

Choose Staves for Different Parts of the Rocking Chair

Once you’re done removing the barrel hoops, you should lay the staves down and choose the ones that look strong enough for use on your rocking chair. Ideally, it would be best to use the most bent (and widest) staves as the rockers for a rocking chair. This is because a curved and long enough stave will allow for better weight distribution, thus enabling your rocking chair to swing back and forth in the smoothest possible way.

You’ll need about 6 staves for the backrest, while 5 to 6 staves should suffice for the seat. Around 3 staves should be perfect for the rocking chair’s back support. For the legs, you’ll need identical staves that are wide enough.

Please note that some staves might be blistered or cracked internally, so don’t be in a hurry to start using the staves after disassembling the barrel. Check the staves one by one as you choose the best for the back support, rockers, seat, and legs.

Cut the Staves, Placing Extra-Focus on Length

There are no standard dimensions for a wine barrel-inspired rocking chair. However, you’ll still need to take measurements to ensure the staves are of the ideal size.

Therefore, as you look to cut the staves, it’s highly advisable to cut based on the different parts. For instance, you can start cutting the staves meant for back support, focusing on your preferred backrest dimensions. Once done with the back support, measure the staves as you start working on another area like the seat.

You won’t need to cut or reduce the size of the staves meant for use as rockers. The longer these rockers are, the better the chair will be at distributing your weight. But if you must reduce the size of staves meant for rocking, be sure to cut identical pieces since a slight variation can lead to uncomfortable, inconsistent swings.

It would be best if you also were extra careful when cutting the staves meant for leg support. These four staves need to be identical for the rocking chair to swing consistently.  

Start Assembling the Separate Parts

The beauty of building a rocking chair is that you can work on different parts before joining them later on to form the main unit.

While you can start with any part, it’s advisable to start with the most challenging ones, usually the seat and back support.

To build the seat section, start by placing the base staves to support the several staves you’ll place on top. You can use two to three long staves for base support. Once you’ve laid down the main support staves, carefully place the other staves (approximately 5-6). Drive the screws where the base staves intersect with the seat staves.

Next is to work on the back section. For the back support, you can place three to four staves on top of the main stave that provides support.  

Assemble the Different Parts

After working on the various parts separately, you should carefully start to assemble the entire unit. Start by joining the largest parts, which are the seat and back. You’ll need to take accurate measurements to know the exact drill points.

With the seat and back tucked firmly in position, start drilling, placing extra focus on the points of intersection.

The next step is adding the legs to allow the chair to stand independently. Disclaimer, you might need to take measurements to determine the best areas to position the legs based on the inclination angle. Also, the legs should be long enough, protruding to around half the back support size. The long legs will allow for easy placement of arm support staves (one on each side).

After drilling screws and assembling the main parts, next is to set up the rockers. While some DIY gurus can bind the rockers to the legs without taking measurements, it’s best advised to measure and mark the drilling locations to ensure the rocking chair has consistent back and forth swings.

Apply Your Preferred Finish

Sealing your chair will keep it looking neat and aesthetically appealing. Using high-quality sealants like the Thompsons Water Seal Wood Protector can help prevent water and UV damage.

Last update on 2023-06-15 at 23:31 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sealants will help to maintain wood color and also prevent the formation of mildew. You can also use trusted paints like the Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint to give your rocking chair that extra edge.  

Building a Rocking Chair from A Wine Barrel: Final Takeaway

Building a DIY rocking chair using a wine barrel shouldn’t be too hard due to the barrel staves’ curved nature. The trick, however, is to take accurate measurements and work on each section individually.

When choosing the rockers, it’s advisable to go for the curviest and longest staves. Two well-curved (and long enough) staves will act as perfect rockers due to their ability to distribute weight evenly across the chair.

Remember to use strong screws and nails when assembling the various parts. The rockers should be installed last after the legs have been tucked firmly in place.


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