Making A Lazy Susan Out Of A Bourbon Barrel Head
So you should know I am from Kentucky, the place where bourbon was born! Making or owning something made from a bourbon barrel is a must have around here and it’s pretty popular in home deco right now. Having a Lazy Susan can come in very handy whether it’s in the center of your table holding condiments for taco night or on your island as a showpiece. However you decide to use this little rustic piece chances are you won’t be sorry you made it.
- Bourbon barrel head (top) I purchased mine from a follow woodworker on Facebook
- Wood glue (Gorilla Glue is the best)
- Swivel Plate (any hardware store should have them but I got mine at Lowe’s)
- 2 foam brushes
- 12” wood round for base
- 2’x2’ ½ inch thick wood (this is for making a backing for your barrel head)
- ½ inch and 1 ½ inch wood screws (you’ll need 4 of each)
- 80 grit sandpaper (if you want a more finely finished piece you will need 120, 150 and 220 grit also)
- Drill bits
- Orbital or finishing sander
- 4 clamps
- Measuring tape
- 2 landscape edging blocks or other heavy item (you’ll need this to help press head down on your backing)
In the spirit of full disclosure I know that acquiring a barrel head can be tricky but don’t fret and stick with me because I will show you something you can purchase at your local hardware store that you can use in place of a barrel head and you will still follow all of these steps.
Preparing Your Barrel Head
Now that you have your barrel head you will notice that one side of it is black and the other may have a stamp on it. The darker or black side is the bottom and the stamped side is the top. It may also be in pieces but it’s not hard to put back together, so let’s get started! First you’ll want to take your 2’x2’ piece of wood (or in my case I used some scrap wood from a welcome sign that went wrong) and cut a 20 inch wood circle. If you know where to get a precut 20 inch wood round that would be easier but buying a piece of wood and cutting it yourself is definitely cheaper.
The wood round you just cut will serve as a backing for your barrel head. It will hold all the pieces together, help it lay flat and will keep you from having to attach your swivel plate directly into the back of the head.
With the black or darker side up form a circle, kind of like putting a puzzle together. Once all of your pieces are in place take your wood glue and squeeze a good amount all over each piece. Then take one of your foam brushes and even the glue out over the entire head. Now that you have finished applying the glue, take your wood round and place it over the back of the head and press down firmly. Take your 4 clamps and place them on the head and backing making sure they are squeezing the two together and then flip it over where the backing is on the bottom and put your heavy item in the center.
Allow your head and backing to dry overnight to assure that they are secured to one another. When the glue is dry you will want to sand the top of the head. You will need to decide if you want your project to look rustic or more finely finished. If you choose the more finely finished option you will need to do a lot more sanding, starting with 80 grit sandpaper then using 120, 150 and finishing up with 220 grit sandpapers. But I chose the rustic look so I only used 80 grit.
After you are finished sanding the head take a clean towel and clear away any excess dust and set it off to the side.
Attaching Swivel Plate to Base
Place your 12 inch round on your work place, this is going to be the base of your Lazy Susan. The first thing you will need to do is to find the center point on your round. Upon taking my tape measure and measuring from one side to the other I found that my pre cut 12 inch round was actually 11 and ¾ inches wide and the center point was 5 and ⅞ inches.
When you find the center point on your base, place your swivel plate down and center it on the base. You should take your tape measure and measure from the edge of the wood round to the edge of the swivel plate, repeating this on all four sides to make sure that your plate is centered. Now you will need to drill starter holes for your screws in all four holes on your plate. Once you have done that take your ½ inch screws and affix the plate onto the base.
Next you will need to drill a large hole as an access point to be able to attach the swivel plate and base onto your head. You do this by turning the top of your swivel plate. You will notice it makes a diamond shape when you do this, now take a pencil and make a mark in one of the holes. Then move the top of the plate back so that it makes a square and is out of your way to drill your access point. Use a 1 inch drill bit and drill a hole through the wood base at the mark that you made. Once you have done all of this, set your base aside.
Staining and Sealing Your Head
You can always decide to leave your head natural but I prefer a stained look when using reclaimed wood. If you decide to stain you will need to do both sides. Take the stain of your choice (I went with my favorite color of stain, it’s called Kona by Varathane) and a foam brush and apply a good amount of the stain all over the backing, wait 5 minutes then take a clean towel and wipe away any excess stain that didn’t soak in. Now flip over the piece so that you can stain the head repeating the same steps as when you stained the backing. Check the drying time on your stain and allow your head the time to dry. The stain will continue to soak into the wood as it dries.
After your stain is dry you will now apply the polyurethane, this will seal your head and give it a shiny waterproof finish. I used the brand Varathane because you only need one coat and it dries in about an hour. Use a new foam brush for the polyurethane and apply a good amount coating the entire head and allow it to dry completely.
Attaching Base to the Head
Lay a towel down on your work space to protect your bourbon barrel head from getting scratches on the finish during this step. Flip your project over so that the backing is facing up and place your base in the center of it, use your measuring tape and measure from base to edge of backing on all four sides to assure that the base with the swivel plate is centered. You will now use the access point hole you made early as a way to get to the screw holes and make a starter hole for your screws. After you get the access hole over the screw hole use your drill and a small bit to make the starter hole in the center of the screw hole then slowly turn the base till you are over the next one, do this till all four are complete. Now take your 1 and ½ inch screws and put one in each of the holes you just made until all four are in and your base is securely anchored to the head.
Now Give It A Spin
After you have attached your base to the head, flip it over and give the head a good spin. Your head should move freely and smoothly.
You now have a beautiful Lazy Susan to use wherever you choose and because you used polyurethane to seal it, it is even waterproof and can be used outside at your picnic table. A barrel head is roughly 22 inches wide so this wood piece substantial and the uses for it are endless.
As I had stated in the beginning, if a bourbon barrel head wasn’t your cup of tea there is something you can purchase to use in its place. At any hardware store that sells wood, for example where I shop which is Lowe’s, there is a section that has the smaller pieces of wood. This is the section where you would have located the 2’x2’ piece of wood you needed for the backing of your head. In this section you should see different size thick wood rounds called table tops because they are for use in making a small side table and you guessed it, they can be used to make this project. I have posted the link below where you can purchase one of these. Now you won’t get a rustic vibe using this item but you can still make a beautiful Lazy Susan, using it and following the steps I have laid out for you.