In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to make a weathered wood crate for a glass carboy with a few pieces of pine and some layered stain.
When I was small and still looked up at the world, I loved to go fishing with my Grampop in the tiny creek behind his small farmhouse on a lonely stretch of road in Middlebury, Connecticut. Every time I’d visit, I’d get so excited to catch a fish. I’d never caught one before, but I knew that my time was coming soon, that maybe this time I’d finally get to reel one in!
It didn’t register at the time that Grampop’s creek was only about two inches deep and had no fish.
It didn’t concern me that our fishing poles were willow switches with kitchen twine tied to the tips.
I saw nothing wrong with our bent-paper-clip hooks.
And, really, who needs bait anyway?
I’d stand on the creaky old footbridge that spanned the two-foot creek bed, and we’d lay out our line, my hopes as big as my Grampop.
After a long, luckless day of fishing (in reality about five or ten minutes), I’d tire of the fishing expedition, and we’d head back to the house.
I remember he had a contraption in the garage. It was a big glass carboy with bubbling liquid in it. A tube came out of the top and ran down into a bucket.
“What’s that, Grampop?” I said.
“Oh, that’s my special root beer!” He said with a laugh.
Root beer was my favorite! “Can I have some special root beer, Grampop?”
He laughed some more and said, “When it’s ready, boy. When it’s ready.”
Grampop died a year or so later. I never got to try his “special root beer,” and only much later did I understand that there was no “root” involved with that beer!
After he died, my Nana sold the house and downsized herself into a small apartment in Glastonbury. My parents kept some stuff and sold the rest.
My mom kept Grampop’s carboy, and for the next 35 years it sat in their basement in a cluttered corner of the crawl space.
It sat and waited…
And then, along came Handan.
When we stayed with my parents after moving back to the States in 2013 and even after we moved out, the crawl space was one of Handan’s favorite hangouts. Before she caught the tag sale and Put & Take bug, Handan was already combing through mom and dad’s forgotten junk in the darkest regions of the crawl space.
On one of her excavations, she unearthed Grampop’s old glass carboy.
We took it home and cleaned it up, and it has since sat in this corner and that corner – sometimes empty and sometimes sprouting sticks or flowers.
All seemed well.
But then Handan’s roving digital eye spotted this:
And then this:
And she wanted it.
Those two demijohns shown above with their weathered wood crates run upwards of $200. Pfffft. Fat chance!
But she had an old glass carboy.
And she had scrap wood.
And she had
a monkey with a hammer me.
I’m sure you know what happened next.
Yep! I was once again pressed into service to build something she saw on Pinterest.
Let’s have a look at how I did it.
Weathered Wood Carboy Crate
- (1) 1 x 3 pine board (8 feet long)
- (2) 1 x 2 pine board (8 feet long)
- (1) 2 x 4 pine board (8 feet long, but you’ll only need about 3 feet, so a scrap piece would be ideal)
- Wood glue
- Brad nailer and brad nails
- Detail sander or sandpaper
- Minwax Special Walnut Stain
- Varathane Weathered Gray Stain
- Varathane Kona Stain
- Glass carboy – find at a tag sale or on Amazon
1 x 3 board
- (4) 11 1/8 inches
- (4) 12 5/8 inches
1 x 2 boards
- (3) 11 1/8 inches
- (2) 8 1/8 inches
- (4) 15 13/16 inches, mitered both ends at a 39 degree angle and measuring 14 5/8 inches from long tip to short tip.
2 x 4 board trimmed to 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches and ripped at a 45 degree angle
- (4) 17 1/2 inches
Here are the pieces, cut and laid out:
To cut the triangular vertical supports, I set the table saw blade to 45 degrees and cut the squared-off 2×4 in half the long way.
Once the pieces are cut, assembly was a snap. First, I made two frames like the one shown below using the 1 x 3 pieces.
I attached the two 8 1/8 inch pieces as shown below with glue and brad nails.
Next, I layed the three base slats, leaving 1 13/16 inches between the slats. I brad nailed them in place.
And that was it for the build. But I needed to sand the edges and corners to take away that “newly-assembled” look. I used my mouse and really gave it a good sanding, especially the corners.
To give my carboy crate the weather wood look that Handan was wanting, I used three stains:
I let the first coat dry for about an hour, then I applied the Weathered Gray. I used much less Weathered Gray, and I applied it almost as if I were dry-brushing it on. I didn’t cover every square inch with it – I left some areas with just Special Walnut. I also worked on one face at a time, applying it and immediately wiping it off.
Here’s how my weathered wood carboy crate looked after the Weathered Gray. As you can see, the gray is subtle. I wasn’t trying to stain it fully gray.
Next came the Kona, and that’s the magic. I didn’t leave the gray to dry, but started right away with the Kona. Using a small rag, I applied only tiny amounts of Kona to the wood – a dab here, a streak there – and immediately rubbed it in and blended it with the two other colors. This part of the project was art. I worked on small sections at a time, applying a little, rubbing it in, maybe adding some more. I worked around the carboy crate, streaking here, darkening small patches there, until I achieved what I thought was a good weathered wood look.
The process is actually very simple, and I will be making a short video tutorial soon.
Since the crate will be living inside, I didn’t bother finishing it with polyurethane. Any more natural “weathering” will be entirely welcome!
When Handan saw her new weathered wood carboy crate, she was thrilled!
The weathered wood effect turned out great.
We even decided to use the same technique on a farmhouse trestle table I built for our new deck (post coming soon).
I think my Grampop would be happy to see that his “special root beer” glass carboy has a nice new home.
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