I spend a lot of time in my shop, so I’m picky about what I put in there, from the bench to the tool cabinet, the wooden floor or even the wastebasket.
Last week I decided I needed a wastebasket by the door of my shop. I have a huge bourbon barrel by my bench for scraps, but I’m weary of walking back there when cleaning the front of my shop.
And yes, you read that right, a bourbon barrel, which my wife bought me for my birthday. It’s awesome – white oak, bound with steel straps and charred on the inside. Yes it was soaking in high-octane alcohol for a decade or two. And yes, perhaps that makes it flammable; but hey, so am I after a plate of tacos.
If you want a bourbon barrel for your very own, you can order one here. They just stuck a label on it and trucked it to my wife. You can also buy unused barrels, you fraidy cat.
Anyway, back to the wastebasket. I didn’t want a plastic one. After some thought, I hit upon the perfect solution: an old nail keg. You can find these at antique stores for about $20 (or on eBay for more). They are well-made: coopered, bound in wire and with a steel lip. They are quite the pieces of craftsmanship.
The ones I’ve seen are 18” tall with a 10” opening at the top – perfect for a wastebasket. And it’s a little piece of woodworking history.
— Christopher Schwarz