Custom Bar Room Barrel Table Tops

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Project by WistysWoodWorkingWonders posted 11-22-2021 06:12 AM 609 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Good Day Fellow LJs – well I’ve been busy in the shop for the past year or so working on a commissioned project. These two table tops follow particular themes, with one being based on a Canadian warship, the other based on an Air Force theme.
Let’s describe how these came to be… First, over a few beers, the client mentioned he was looking for a woodworker to build two round table tops for on top of some old oak barrels he had bought. After some thought and further discussions, we agreed on the concept and eventually I was given the green light to start cutting wood.
After receiving the barrels from the client, there was lots to do, let’s start with the barrels themselves: both required a lot of sanding, doors to be cut into them, with hinges added, all the bands needed to be painted black, lights on the top/bottom/inside and a shelf on the inside.
With the work on the barrels complete, time to focus on the pedestals. I wanted to keep everything built out of wood so I picked up some Oak at my local lumber store. Lots of joining, planing and cutting left me with multiple stacks of boards ready to be steam bent and glued up to form parts of the circular pedestal (image 2). Lots of jigs were used during this project (probably 18-20 of them in total) – as I had multiple pieces to cut that had to be exactly the same, building jigs was a huge time saver.
After the pedestals were built and fitted, it was time to concentrate on the table tops. I recently purchased the Shapeoko XXL CNC Router and it was time to put this machine to the test. Being a “newbie” to CNC machines, I spent a lot of time online learning how to program vector images in order to build the unit crests, ships and planes required for this project. Each of these required a test cut to see what adjustments would be required to obtain the best details. Significant time was spent on the CNC to get all the crests and other boards cut. If you look closely, those are wooden ropes engraved with my CNC, then steam bent before being glued to the outside of the table.
Once all the engraving was done, each blank was cleaned up into shape, before gluing together. Cutting the circumference was easy using my router circle cutting jig (also built with the CNC).
On to the resin work – this is another area where this was my first time working with something new. A ton of research gave me the confidence to move forward with this phase of the project. The resin work went well overall – I was amazed at how much sanding was required. The first table took approx. 8 hours of sanding from 120 grit all the way to 7000 grit, wet sanding of course. A bit of polishing and the end product started to shine through.
All in all, approx. 360 hours were invested in putting these tables together. This is by far the largest and longest project I have put through my shop. Lots of new skills learnt and used.
I am very pleased with the results and better yet, so is the client. Everything delivered and installed, time to move on to other projects.
Hope you enjoy the pics.

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

8 comments so far

View Eric's profile


2843 posts in 1208 days

#1 posted 11-22-2021 11:41 AM

Wow, those are beautiful. And I can see many details that went into them. Great job.

-- Eric, building the dream

View mikeacg's profile


2084 posts in 2392 days

#2 posted 11-22-2021 11:53 AM

Ah, steam bent! I was wondering how you cut that big a radius on a Shapeoko…
Nicely done! Looks like your CNC skills are developing at a rapid rate!!!


-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27250 posts in 4440 days

#3 posted 11-22-2021 01:25 PM

Wow, beautiful tables. That was a big area to pour. Were the rope sections on the side steam bent after cutting or before?

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View PapaGary1's profile


230 posts in 322 days

#4 posted 11-22-2021 01:52 PM

For a Newbie it looks like your skills are as good as any seasoned veteran with the CNC machine. I got my first CNC machine and started using Vectric software in 2005, when the company started. I don’t think I could do much better.


View swirt's profile


7107 posts in 4307 days

#5 posted 11-23-2021 02:27 AM

Very nice. That rope-like edging is pretty cool.

-- Galootish log blog,

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12854 posts in 4492 days

#6 posted 11-23-2021 03:08 AM

Jim – the rope sections were first cut on my CNC, trimmed to final dimensions, steam bent, then glued on to the table edge (which was already trimmed round with my router circle cutting jig). Straight forward easy process actually. The resin pour was done in layers, with 2 coats brushed on thin to seal the wood, followed by the big pour to cover the table and the edges, certainly tested my new skills (learned through youtube videos of course)

PapGary1 – thanks for the compliment on my CNC skills – I did learn a great deal during this project (some lessons the hard way of course, lol). It took a while to learn the software, but now that I have that part somewhat figured out, future projects will be easier.

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View Calmudgeon's profile


586 posts in 2762 days

#7 posted 11-23-2021 01:02 PM

I’d have to say my favourite detail is the rope edging.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

View pottz's profile


22315 posts in 2319 days

#8 posted 11-27-2021 12:18 AM

wow im glad i took a look back at projects because sometimes i miss one,and this was those came out incrdible,the detail and time you spent really paid off.your client or friend has got to love the results.i sure do.with 360 hours invested i sure hope you were compensated properly ?

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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