Da Bucket Man

Every bucket we did turned out excellent, not because I’m a bucket-making genius, but because they are quite simple to make.

Two simple taper jigs – one for the first cut, another for the second – and roll.  There are 2 angles that work best – 11 1/4 degrees and 5 5/8 degrees.

Now, don’t let either give you pause for concern on how to measure them, it’s not hard, and requires no fancy measuring devices or math.  Cause if it did, I wouldn’t be doing it.

The thing is to get the taper right on the stave.  Light tapers work the best, on the pine one it’s 2 3/4 at the top and 2 1/4 at the bottom, done on 11 1/4 degree angle sides, 16 staves.  The cherry and maple ones (bigger) are 32 staves at 5 5/8 degrees.  The taper is 1 1/2 at the top and 1 3/8 at the bottom, a slight taper.  The poplar one that looks like a planter (or an inverted lamp shade) is 2 3/4 at the top and 1 3/4 at the bottom.  The pine and poplar are 14″ across at the top, the cherry & maple are 16″ across.  The poplar and pine are 10 1/2″ tall, the maple is 9″ tall and the cherry is 8″ tall.  I like these for garden harvesting.


The taper jigs are self-explanatory and like my ProAm taper jig operate on a 0 clearance at the blade, makes for easy layout.

While 32 staves are alot, they make the “roundest” bucket.  11 1/4 more facets but the 32 sure makes a “sweet looking” round anything and I can saw a bucket out in about 20 minutes.  So it’s not hard, but do be careful with the smaller staves glue-up (if you choose) is easy.

Tape them all together, laying flat, outside up.  Then flip them over, put a little glue in the openings, stand it and close it up.  Just like a miter.  I like to glue them up in halves, leaving 2 seams loose so I can sand and clean up the inside easier than glue it all together.

I must say, I really had fun doing them.  The video will be about 45 minutes or so, maybe an hour.  I also did one using a “canoe bit”, a bit that cuts a concave and then a convex profile, which allows you to “hinge” the staves.  Bends in about as many shapes as you want.  You can also get 11 1/4 degree router bits.

Wood thickness ranged from 1/2″ on the pine to 5/8″.  1/2″ looks nicer.

So if ya run out of projects or just want to have some fun, make a bucket.  This is super woodworking fun, and besides I probably saved $20.

Ya know actually, hand made buckets sell pretty well as I hear it, and for pretty good prices, $50 to $75.  Can’t tell you there is a huge market, but who cares.

A good oil or some exterior finish wouldn’t hurt.  I’m going to put General Finish Water Base Exterior 450 on mine.  I plan to use them alot.

My garden is in for the most part.  Finished planting, and yesterday it started raining – perfect timing.  My garden is 68′ wide and about 128′ or so long, so the buckets will come in handy  Now if I can figure out how to get wheels on them.

Well, it’s time to load up and tomorrow we head up to Parkersburg, WV for the Woodcraft Benefit Auction.

Later ya’ll, Charles

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5 Responses to Da Bucket Man

  1. Ben Birdsill says:

    I suppose I could wait for the video, but I gotta know – how do you put the bottoms in?

  2. Me thinks that is a hot-water bent wooden bucket handle too?


  3. not a steam bent handle, radius is too steep, it would have to be green split wood ,steamed to bend that sharp of a radius…the cherry handle is 10 ply, to get 7/8, the maple is 7 ply to get 3/4, as to the bottoms, I cut a groove in the bottom all the way around , then cut a bottom, sort of like a drawer bottom, except round, not hard…just looks it…I am gluing them up as we speak, since im using them in the garden, glue will be fine, i know it isnt the “old way”, but hey I dont have time to band them all, and wanted them glued up before leaving for the weekend…

  4. Denis Rezendes says:

    those are very cool.

  5. David Harms says:

    these are cool, and will be a fun build, looking forward to watching the video Charles.

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