In April 2009 #175, Chris Schwarz Blog, Personal Favorites, Woodworking Blogs

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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

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Showing 9 comments
  • manaloof

    Geez, guys, cut him some slack. The intent was whimsy, not education. And, who would put a plastic liner in a pit full of rough lumber and exposed staples to begin with? Heavy to lift? Not so. I have two of these cute little rascals dating back to 1936 when my wifey’s grandfather built the family homeplace. The staves are thin and light. Perfect application, Chris! Carry on, sir.

  • micojack

    Terrible idea! Put a plastic bag into it as any savy person would know and you will not be able to get it out when you fill it up because of the tapered opening! Best trash can I have found is one with smaller bottom – wider top. retired-tired.

  • gsm627

    Another, in a long line of articles, that have expanded my woodworking knowledge.
    What’s next, how to sharpen a pencil?

  • Eric R

    Thanks, after you mentioning it, they’re sure to go up to around $600 or more by the end of the month!
    (and they’ll be out of stock for six months)

    You really got to cut that out ! lol

  • darin

    Looks nice but at 70 plus years emptying a pretty but heavy collector makes no sense.”WAKE UP”

  • gumpbelly

    Perfect time of year to find whiskey barrels, both used and unused at your local gardening center. Don`t see so may nail kegs anymore, was a time you bought your nails out of them, and they were everywhere, cardboard….yuk, makes the plastic look romantic.

  • Bill Lattanzio

    Dude, I hope the cost of these things doesn’t suddenly increase 500%. It’s getting a little ridiculous.

  • rootertooter

    What no Jack Daniels sipping whiskey. keep the great work up and stay dry

  • ecafsub

    I have no need for such a barrel, but the “fraidy cat” literally made me LOL, so I’m gonna buy one for no good reason.


    And since I no longer have a shop, I’ll keep it in my apt. With minimal ventilation. Should be nicely aromatic.

    That’ll larn ya ta call people “fraidy cat”! 😉


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