Hard to determine which stain you need in that bespattered collection of cans? An easy-to-make “stain index,” courtesy of reader Bob Jacek, solves the problem. Section off boards of your favorite woods into squares with masking tape, and apply the different stains across the width of each wood type (pine, oak, birch, etc.). When the stains are dry, brush on lengthwise your regular ﬁnishes—polyurethane, water-based polyurethane, oil, orange shellac, etc. You’ll be able to tell how each stain looks with each ﬁnish. Label each one. Use both sides of each board, and you’ll have a wooden encyclopedia of stain and ﬁnish combinations. Plus: How to stain wood evenly.
Another awesome thing about this coffee table is that it is also has a storage unit. So you can store drinks, and other stuff in the half barrel of your table and then close or open it whenever you need. Pete has also constructed a video for this tutorial for which you can find the link below. It illustrates the same process in a video guide that shows you the exact process to be followed while building this whiskey barrel coffee table.