Converting a wine barrel into a decorative container for your garden plants is a great way to save money while recycling a wooden item. The main problem with using wine barrels it that they usually have to be cut in half in order to make them suitable for use in an average garden. Cutting a wine barrel in half is not a difficult task, although you will have to take care when using the cutting tools. If you wish to give this project a go, then follow a few simple guidelines to ensure that the job gets done quickly and safely.
Step 1 - Measure the Barrel
You should have bought and cleaned your old wine barrel, and it should now be dry and ready for use. Most barrels weigh around 120 to 160 pounds each, so you will probably need the help of a friend to get it positioned correctly, and for moving it around when you are cutting it up. Take your tape measure, and calculate the actual length of the barrel. Decide whether you are sawing it in half horizontally (across the belly), or vertically (from top to bottom). Using your chalk, mark a clear place on the barrel closest to the half-way line. Extend this mark until to goes all the way around the barrel.
Step 2 - Prepare the Barrel for Cutting
Now that you have the correct position for cutting the barrel, you must use either a circular saw or a hand saw to cut through the wood. A circular saw is probably the quickest and easiest method of cutting through the barrel, although you will have to take extra care. You may need the assistance of a friend in guiding the saw around the cutting line. A handsaw is less speedy, but you can take your time to make sure that you are always cutting along the half-way line, giving you a more even finish. When you have decided which tool you wish to use, place the barrel on its side (if cutting horizontally), and make sure that it is supported with rocks and barriers along the bottom portion.
Step 3 - Cutting the Barrel
You will need to cut the barrel so that it is sawn on the wood with metal staving supporting either end. If you do not do this, then the barrel will most likely fall apart. Your friend can slowly roll the barrel as you cut it. You should also take care to hold both halves of the barrel steady while cutting, in order to prevent the cask from breaking apart as you cut the last few links. Once the barrel is cut in half, then you can stand the pieces on their ends, and sand down the cut edge. This will help to give a smooth finish. Once the barrel is sanded down, varnish with an outdoor wood finish, as this will help to keep the barrel in good condition for years to come.