Ye Olde Cedar Bucket

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Project by jbschutz posted 11-21-2014 11:05 PM 4668 views 16 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ye Olde Cedar Bucket When a guy gets an armload of nice western red cedar for free, you have to do something with it. I have made quite a number of these buckets over the years, but usually out of hickory, oak or walnut. This was made from cutoffs from a residing project….very nice lumber. It measures about 12 inches tall and nearly 12 inches across. The bands are scrap leather, held in place by upholstery tacks.
The staves begin as ten 3×10 inch blanks and two 3×12 inch…...5/8 inches thick. I do a dado about half way through near one end of each blank for the bottom disk (1/4 inch cabinet grade plywood) and then begin the tapering of the staves. I made a little sled, to hold the blanks, and use a piece of a shim to bump out the bottom of the stave 1/4 of an inch. Then run it through the table saw with the blade at 15 degrees. Then, I turn it around, add another quarter inch shim and run it through again. So, the blanks end up a total of 1/2 inch narrower at the bottom than the top.
When all the staves have been cut, I do a temporary assembly, using rubber bands and make the disk for the bottom. Usually, an 8 inch disk is perfect, but test the fit before the glue up.
Assembly is tricky…..I borrow a perfectly sized round plastic storage container from my wife, wrap a couple of heavy rubber bands around it and begin tucking the staves behind the rubber bands. When all of the staves are in place, I pull one of the rubber bands up around the staves within a couple of inches of the top. Then, I pull out the storage container, insert the bottom disk and check for fit. The glue up can be done fairly simply…...tip out the edge of a stave, apply glue, let it slip back into place and move on to the next. When all the edges have glue applied, check for alignment, and clamp with inner tube straps or band clamps, adjusting the edges to line up.
The handle is a three layer glueup, formed around a homemade form. When it has dried, the edges are trimmed, holes drilled and sanded and finished before assembly
When the glue has dried, I freehand the outside corners to a rounder shape on the jointer and then on the belt sander. Final sanding with the RO sander, up to 220 followed by satin poly, sand, poly, sand, poly.
The buckets are not made to hold water, but do a great job with kindling, magazines or a potted plant.

-- jbschutz

11 comments so far

View blackcherry's profile


3351 posts in 5274 days

#1 posted 11-21-2014 11:11 PM

Nice looking Bucky JB, quite a process but well worth the effort. Now we need to fill it full of draft beer and enjoy!

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 4118 days

#2 posted 11-22-2014 12:10 AM

John that is one nice pail and it reminds me of old ones back home .
I like your simple and easy to set up taper jig great idea using door shims .

One plan for making a pail like this had natural material rope in the dado for the bottom making it water tight maybe something you could try .


-- Kiefer

View Mark's profile


1084 posts in 3426 days

#3 posted 11-22-2014 01:05 AM

That’s a very cool bucket JB. I like the plant pot idea.

-- Mark

View JL7's profile


8793 posts in 4416 days

#4 posted 11-22-2014 01:38 AM

Bravo John…...Nice little project…..Wish I had that kind of inspiration…..:)

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Richard's profile


11310 posts in 4484 days

#5 posted 11-22-2014 03:59 AM

Very nice Project John. Well done. Thanks for posting.


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View jbschutz's profile


622 posts in 4143 days

#6 posted 11-22-2014 10:19 AM

Thanks for the comments, Guys. This bucket was never intended to be “water-tight”. Even with Titebond III construction, I doubt that it would hold up to repeated soakings. Old time water buckets relied on the bands and swelling wood to make them hold water.

-- jbschutz

View Mike Pousson's profile

Mike Pousson

10 posts in 4641 days

#7 posted 11-22-2014 11:19 AM

I made a similar one years ago with cypress. Instead of glue and straps holding it together, I drilled 2 3/16th holes in each slat before I tapered them. I strung rebar tie wire in all the slots and cut an exit slot for each wire on the inside. Pulled it loosely to form, inserted bottom in dado, and then tightened the wires, cut them off and tucked the ends into the exit points. A little colored wood putty finished the job. It’s sitting next to my wood stove holding kindling and matches.

-- Mike in Waubaushene, ON

View oldrivers's profile


3102 posts in 3018 days

#8 posted 11-22-2014 12:25 PM

Good looking bucket, reminds me of one we used years ago, all you need now is a long handle Gourd dipper, for accent.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4786 days

#9 posted 11-22-2014 05:20 PM

Very nicely done.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Ivan's profile


17281 posts in 4319 days

#10 posted 11-23-2014 05:52 PM

Nice bucket, well done!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4255 days

#11 posted 11-24-2014 01:39 PM

Super nice bucket. Don’t ever kick it.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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