Aged Whiskey Barrel Cabinet Makeover

This project was cool and different for us because we had a customer bring their own cabinets to us for a makeover. Typically with our furniture we find things at thrift stores or just an ugly old piece that we already have to experiment with. So having a project for an actual customer was a different challenge! 

They were bright golden oak with gold hardware. They asked us to antique it and make it look like aged whiskey barrels. We were up to the challenge. I forgot to get a really good before image though! Sorry!

First, we removed all the hardware and took the doors off.

aged whiskey barrel cabinet makeover golden oak doors

Then it was time to strip and sand the old finish off of the cabinets. We used CitriStrip. Before you begin your own stripping adventure, just know that it does take a lot of hours and a lot of elbow grease! We let it soak and scrapped and let it soak and scrapped again. Then finally we found it was time for a final sanding.

aged whiskey barrel cabinet makeover stripping sanding staining

Now comes the fun part! Applying the stain! We went with Minwax stain in the color Provincial because it is a beautiful medium brown that can be layered to achieve a darker look. We thought it was a perfect place to start so we didn't go too dark right off the bat. 

We were really into the idea of the old whiskey barrels so we asked our customer if we could take it to the next level and actually engrave the doors to look like a fancy whiskey barrel label. They were a husband and wife so we created a whiskey barrel label with each of their names and put one on each door. It turned out awesome! 

laser engraved oak whiskey barrel wood cabinet makeover


To make the letters really stand out and look more authentic, we rubbed Kilz dark sealing wax over the front of the doors and buffed it. The wax stays built up inside the engraved sections and really adds some depth.

The final step to the makeover was to antique the hardware. We can't leave that bright gold on these aged whiskey barrels! We use Rub N Buff in Spanish Copper and rubbed it all over the hardware with a rag. We buffed more in the protruding parts that would naturally get more wear on them so that it looked naturally aged and worn. We had to do the same thing to the screw heads because they too were bright gold.

White Clad oak whiskey barrel cabinet hardware makeover rub n buff Spanish copper

Then it was time to reassemble! We also thought it would be a good idea to seal everything with our Minwax Polycrylic sealer. Once they were dry they were ready to go back to their owners!

laser engraved white clad oak whiskey barrel makeover  laser engraved white clad oak whiskey barrel cabinets makeover

This was such an exciting and challenging project since there was no room for error with the furniture already belonging to the customer. It was definitely more stressful than playing around with a junk table you find at Goodwill! But it made it that much more rewarding when our customer was very pleased when he finally saw them!

Aged whiskey barrel cabinet makeover