It can be said that oak barrels are ageless. Or that they’re immortal. Either way, they don’t die easy.
So, what would you do with something that’s immortal?
Why of course, you use it in whatever way you can, once its original purpose has been fulfilled!
You already know what the original purpose of barrels is, right? To age wine, bourbon, whiskey, scotch, you name it! Once the oak runs out of its flavors for the kind of alcohol, it can be used for another type of spirit.
If not that, then the barrels can be used for absolutely anything else, anything you can imagine.
In this blog, you’re going to read about converting the used bourbon barrels into rainwater harvesters for your home!
Interesting, right?
Shall we dive in?

Outside Beauty

For a barrel that is in a reasonably good condition won’t require a lot of beautification on the outside.
For the metal rings, you can use a steel wool pad with dish soap to get rid of any dust or debris that has accumulated on it.
With a hand sander remove any dirt that has made its home on the oak wood. Make sure you put the right amount of pressure.
Use a natural deck cleaner to wash off all the dirt from the metal and the wood.
You want your barrels to dry off completely before you go on to the next step, applying the wood sealer. Oh, and don’t forget to use tape on the metal rings.
As soon as the sealer has dried off, you want to remove the tapes. See, the longer the tapes stay on, the harder it will be to pull it off completely.
Now that you’ve secured the wood, it’s time to guard the metal rings. For this, you want to use a clear polyurethane varnish. It will prevent the metal from rusting, increasing the life of your used bourbon barrels.

Internal Wash

We’re going to divide the washing into two parts.
You’ve probably heard of sodium percarbonate, and you know its not a harmful chemical. For every 5 gallons of water, you only need to mix a 5/8th cup of sodium percarbonate with it. Fill your used bourbon barrels with the mixture and leave it be for a minimum of two hours. Just remember to tightly fit the bung stopper otherwise your mix will go to waste.
Once you empty this mixture from the barrel, it’s time for step two.
10 tablespoons of citric acid for 5 gallons of water will neutralize the barrel. Again, you want to let the mixture sit for two hours, of course with the bung stopper tightly put into place.
In the end want to rinse all your barrels, inside and out, with plain old water.

Using the Tools

Drill, drill, drill! Get your toolbox out and find the 1” and 1/2” drill bits. And if you happen to have a 3/4” bit, you could take that out as well.
See the top two rings on your used bourbon barrel? Here, you want to drill two holes 1” each with an inch or more distance between the two of them. These holes will act as the intake and overflow holes.
Either with the 1/2” bit or the 3/4” bit you want to drill a hole into the barrel for the spigot. If you’re using the 1/2” bit, you’re going to keep tilting the drill until the hole is the size of the tap.
Try not to drill a hole that’s too big. If it does become too wide, you could be left with a leakage you’ll have to fix. You really don’t want to be doing damage control at this stage.

Tapes and Security

Get ready to use one more tool! Grab your socket wrench. With the help of the 3/4” plumber tap and wrench, you want to thread the wood.
Take your white plumbing tape and wrap it around the spigot to make a seal.
Lastly, screw the spigot into the hole on your used bourbon barrel.
Simple, isn’t it?

Except for the Barrels

Don’t let the title throw you off track. You’re still making the rainwater harvester.
This step is for things that are indirectly related to the barrel.
You want to clean your rain gutter before you attach the downspout diverter. Clear the area of dirt, debris, and leaves.
If you want to, you could install those wire baskets that sit atop the downspout. They’re not expensive at all and are super easy to install as well. This step is recommended since you don’t want the debris and leaves to clog up the works.
You won’t even have to worry about leaves collecting on the downspout after this.
In the market, you’ll find a first-flush filter. Its design is such that it collects all the natural debris that flows with the water off the roof. Basically, all the dirt, leaves and extra material that may have been sitting on your roof, will get collected into the first-flush filter.
Only water gets collected in your used bourbon barrel, so you won’t have to worry about the water spoiling.

Install the Barrel

To be able to use the spigot you want your barrel to be at least 6” to 8” off the ground.
Possibilities are that you don’t already have stable platforms to place your harvesters made by used bourbon barrels. Landscaping bricks will be a great option for you to use as a construction material for the base. Make sure that it is sturdy enough to hold the weight of the barrel and the water in it.
A platform will also make sure that the bottom of your barrel remains dry.
In case you decide to place the barrels on the ground or the grass, make sure that the land is levelled. Also, use some landscaping rock at the bottom of the barrel to make sure that the weight is managed.

Related Installations

Okay, this one’s a little technical. Are you ready for it?
You want the downspout diverter to be placed 3 feet above the barrel (adding the height of the platform). Don’t worry if you’re a few inches here and there. Just remember you’ll be adding the filter as well. So, leave some space for that.
The first-flush filter or any other filter that you’ve decided on will be placed below the output hole and above the barrel. The pipe that connects it should not crease.
Now you want to mark the exact position and drill along. Carefully!
Attach the hose to the downspouts and the barrels. Make sure that the pipe attaches to the holes perfectly.
See, you’ll have to cover the top of the used bourbon barrels as well. You don’t want water to be collected on the top, become stagnant, and be the cause of mosquitoes. So, cover it up with non-absorbent materials, first with a plastic liner, and then materials like stones.
Don’t use the rocks you have in your garden. Buy some nice landscaping stones of various sizes.

Voila! That’s all!

Drum roll, please! Now that you’ve attached all the pieces and set up the used bourbon barrels as your rainwater harvesters all you’re left to do is let the rainwater get collected and use it!There are some obvious uses for the water! Gardening, showers, washing your cars, etc. One of them is to not drink it! The collected water might look extremely clean, but it’s not safe to drink.
The faster you use the water from the harvester the more room there will be in it to collect water. Don’t overuse the water. You don’t want to be wasting the hard-earned water!

Now you know. Used bourbon barrels are immortal, for real. Using them as rainwater harvesters will increase its life span by years!
Here’s hoping you’ll try to convert barrels into harvesters for your home.
The harvested rainwater is only going to help you. Since it can be used at any point in the future, it could be a lifesaver in times of crisis.
And even if you take this project as a fun activity to do with your family, it’s still a win. Along with getting a quality rainwater harvester, you get to spend quality time with your family. Life becomes too demanding at times, it would be nice to take out time and become creative, right?
Spread the word. Let your friends and family know about this unique use of bourbon barrels.
You don’t need to go far looking for a bourbon barrel.
Rocky Mountain Barrel Company brings to you the best quality used barrels. No matter how to decide to use the barrel, we will send out individually inspected barrels that will make you happy to the core. Our services have been extended to multiple countries, so you don’t have to worry about that either! We proudly offer our customers great service, expertise, and transparency. Get the best used bourbon barrels for sale. Check out our website for more details and contact us soon!