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How to Build a Wooden Stave Ice Bucket

How to Build a Wooden Stave Ice Bucket

In this video, I build a wooden stave Ice bucket for my bar cart. The bucket is made from white oak, and I used a Japanese wood finishing technique called shou sugi ban to add a little color. I wanted it to look like it had been used in the mine.

This is the build video; if you are interested in how I designed the bucket and figured out all the angles, please watch my Designing an Ice Bucket Video.

If you want to know more about this project or see a picture of the Bar cart with the Ice Bucket, <— click here.


If you want to see the whole cart being built, please watch my How to Build a Bar Cart Video.

The Build Process

Cut to length all parts to length using a stop at the table saw

As with many projects, accuracy will improve the end result. So, after milling the wood to thickness, I use a stop on my miter gauge to ensure that each piece is cut to the exact same length.

Cutting bucket staves to width

Before cutting the Bevels, I cut the staves a little oversized. This allowed me to discard any pieces that may warp or twist out of shape due to casehardening.  I want each of my stave blanks to be as straight as possible.

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Cutting a Dado in the staves to accept the bottom of the bucket

Before cutting the angles of the stave, I cut a dado with my dado blade to accept the bottom of the bucket during assembly.  You will notice that the zero clearance Table Saw blade insert has been removed for this operation.  This is because the dado needs to be cut at an angle, and the insert was in the way because it was designed for straight cuts.  Extreme caution should be used in a situation like this.

Sketchup Drawing to find angle of staves to build the bucket

To find all the angles, I used SketchUp to draw out the stave bucket size and work out all the details.  If you want to watch that video, Here it is below.

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Custom table saw sled to cut the angles on the staves for the bucket

Now that I had all the angles figured out, I built a custom table saw sled to hold the staves at the proper angle to create the taper needed.  I also tilted the blade at the appropriate angle to get all the staves to create the bucket shape.

Then, I had to readjust the sled to the opposing angle to cut the angle on the other side.

Then, I had to readjust the sled to the opposing angle to cut the angle on the other side.

Cutting out the bottom for the stave bucket

Then, I milled a blank to the correct thickness to cut the bottom out.

Fianl Test fit of the staves

Then, before applying the glue, I did a final test fit to ensure that everything fit tightly and adjusted anything that didn’t.

Light Shou Sugi Ban Finish

To add a bit of distress to the stave bucket and make it look like it had been used, I lightly burned the wood by applying a Sugi Ban Finish.

Gluing up the stave bucket with epoxy

Now I realize that a true stave bucket is held together with metal rings that are driven onto the bucket, forcing the tight staves together, and then the wood swells up even tighter when the bucket is filled with water. However, Since this is a prop piece, I am not concerned with that, so I glued it up with epoxy and brushed it all over the bucket to act as the finish.  Then, I used wood strips that I died with an ebonizing treatment instead of the metal rings.

Wooden Stave Ice Bucket


I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.