CRAFT: Barrel Speakers

Updated: Mar 17, 2020

At the end of the day, these barrel speakers look so good that it almost doesn't matter if they pump out music. Fear not, we believe in you; you'll be enjoying your favorite tunes in no time. —INGRAIN, Summer 2018

STORY / Zac Connelly

Think beyond the planter box. Spent wine or spirits barrels don't have to be relegated to a quiet resting place.


We’ve all had the “why didn’t I think of that” moment. Mine was when I first laid eyes on the Gentleman’s Boombox. Somewhere, somehow, someone had married two of my favorite things: vintage suitcases and old-school speakers. The man behind the sound was Floyd A. Davis IV, who hails from the 312. He’s not all suitcase boomboxes, either; he’s a carpenter, artist, musician, and overall badass. Definitely look him up.


Trust me, you can do this. Think about this project as a simple transfer—moving the audio guts from existing speaker boxes to new speaker boxes; the new ones just happen to be old barrels. There will be some basic carpentry and wiring along the way. There will undoubtedly be some frustrations, maybe even outright failure. But in the end you will have

Frankenstein-ed a sound machine that really rocks.


Arguably the most important part of your build. Peruse your local thrift haunts, pawnshops, and Craigslist ads with purpose. Keep two things in mind: form and function. I prefer vintage floor speakers that can handle at least 50 watts each, as you will be dropping these old angels into rather sizable “speaker boxes.” Aesthetic-wise, try to find something that matches the feel of those beautiful barrels, or go in a totally different direction for a jaunty juxtaposition.


Remember, the step-by-step outline that follows is just a guide. Freestyling is encouraged. There is not a right or wrong way to build these barrel speakers as long as they ultimately pump out sound. Grab the tools, supplies, and speakers—and get to it. My only suggestion: Once the build is finished, celebrate with a proper beer.