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How to Design a Stave Wooden Bucket using SketchUp

How to Design a Stave Wooden Bucket using SketchUp

In this video, I designed a Stave Wooden Bucket I built for clients to use with their bar cart. I used SketchUp to determine the proportions of the bucket and the angle of how much the bucket tapered from top to bottom. I then determined what angle and taper I needed to set the table saw up so I could cut the compound angles needed to construct the bucket. I even had a little fun drawing a rope handle, even though it was probably a moot point, and I should have used a different technique in the end.

Go here if you want to watch the Ice Bucket Be Built

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Portfolio picture of the finished Bucket and Bar Cart

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The Design Process

Visualizing the Bucket Size

The first step in designing the bucket was visualizing the size I needed for the project.  I had previously drawn in the bar cart to scale, and this is what I used to take my measurements off of while building the cart.  So, I drew the bucket in place so I could estimate the size and compare it to the cart.  This helped me get the diameter, then I measured a wine bottle to be sure it fit proportionally.


Taper the bucket using the scale tool.

To determine the tape, I selected just the bottom of the bucket and used the scale tool to scale about the center, until I found a pleasing to my design eye taper.

Determining the stave sizeOnce I knew how big I wanted the bucket, I used the polygon tool to draw it accurately and take measurements. I decided I liked the look of 20 staves, so I set the tool to draw a 20-sided stave and repeated the process.  I offset the polygon by 3/4″ which will be the thickness of the bucket.  Then I could take my measurements for how wide that stave needed to be at the top, how much the stave tapered, and what angle it needed to be cut at.

Bottom of the bucket angle

I then drew in the bottom so I could determine what angle the dado needed to be cut at in the stave for the bottom to sit flat.

Drawing the rope handle

At this point, I had enough drawn in to go into the shop and build a Stave Wooden Bucket. But I didn’t want to leave the video hanging, so I finished it off by drawing in a rope handle. If you want to see how that was done, give the video a watch.

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.