Uses for. A beer or oil cask, after one end has been removed, is useful as a water-butt, or for storing grain and other chicken food in. Cut in half, it serves as two magnified flowerpots for flowers or shrubs; or the halves may be sunk in the ground to grow water lilies in. Other uses could easily be thought of.
As casks for holding liquids are usually made of oak, they have a very long life if well looked after, and not allowed to fall to pieces through the rusting of the hoops.
To remove the top of a cask, remove the end hoop and the one next it. To get a hoop loose, knock it up with a square-ended punch, working all round, so that it moves evenly. It is replaced in the same way.
If the cask is to be used as a bin, the end should be preserved as lid, and have two crossbars nailed or screwed to the under side, so shaped that they centre it on the cask; and be provided with a handle.
An oil cask is cleaned by lighting a little straw or shavings inside it, and rolling it about until it is charred all over inside; by which time most of the oil will have been burned out of it. To put the flames out, stand the cask on its open end. The loose charcoal is scraped off and the cask given a good scrubbing with soda and water followed by plain hot water.
To cut a cask in half, mark it all round from one end, taking the centre of the bung-hole as distance. Then follow the line with a saw until it has made a continuous groove, and keep on cutting and turning until the saw goes through.
A cask or tub should not be put into use out of doors until it has been painted thoroughly outside. The hoops require special attention, they should be removed in rotation, and given two or three coats of paint (allowed to dry hard) inside before being replaced, and the cask should be painted under where they lie. When they are in position give two good coats all over. The hoops will then last a long time.
To provide for their eventual rusting through, the cask may be wrapped near the hoops with galvanized iron wire, pulled a3 tight as possible and stapled to the staves.
As it is undesirable that a water-butt should overflow down the sides, provide it near the top with an overflow pipe, at least an inch in diameter, and projecting six inches or more.