How to make a wooden pail
First decide the size of pail you need, how much it will hold determines the size.
There are 7.48 gallons per cubic foot. A 5 gallon bucket only needs to hold 1155 cubic inches.
So lets use a 10 in diameter bottom, which gives us a 78.5 square inch surface. with that we need sides 14.7 inches tall.
If we allow for splash room and round up a bit, our sides are 16 inches.
We're gonna make the top 11 inches in diameter for a lil taper to hold the rings and give us a lil more splash room.
For an 11 inch diameter top we use Pi times diameter which gives us 34.54 inches of circumference, for the bottom we do 10 times Pi for 31.4 inches.
The Staves.
To do this you need well seasoned wood, prefferably that isn't rot prone. Cedar and ash work well, or cyprus, white oak also.
Next we decide how many staves we want in our bucket, 2.5 to 3.5 inch wide staves work nice, gives you a smoother rounder inside without as much labor.
So lets start with 3 inchers. 34.54 divided by 3 equals 11.51 staves. We want a whole number so lets go with 3.5 in staves. That gives us
9.8 staves. We can work with 10 and just shave them down a little
so we need eight boards 16in long, 3/4 in thick and 3.5 in wide, and two boards 18in long, 3/4 in thick and 3.5 in wide. These are our staves.
The bottom ends need to be trimmed to the right width for our taper, so we take 31.4in and divide it by 10 staves. 3.14 inches.
Pick an end to be the bottom, no knots or cracks, and find its center. From the center mark measure out both ways 1.57 inches and mark it. Starting from these marks draw a line to each top corner. (On the two extra long staves you mark at 16 in from the bottom and make your angle mark to that point).
Since we are using 10 staves we divide 360 degrees by 10 for our rotation angles. 36 degrees. now make a long line on some paper,
make an intersecting one at a 36 degree angle.
From the point of intersectiom measure out both lines 6 inches and mark it. Use a straight edge and draw a new line connecting your two first lines at the measured marks.
Now take a protractor and measure the angle where the new line meets the first line. this is your cutting angle for the sides of the staves.
Set your tablesaw to this angle and rip down the sides of each stave along the angled line from top to bottom, your taper should face all one way( /__\ ). The stave should be narrower on one end and one side. Cut every stave the same.
Now set your saw blade so it will only make a 1/4 in deep cut, then set your rip fence a 1/2 inch from the blade. Set the narrow end(bottom) of your stave against the rip fence, with the narrow face down( \__/ ), make one cut across the stave. Do the same on each stave. This is the groove for your pail bottom to fit into. If your saw curf is narrow, move the rip fence so a second cut will give you a 1/4in wide slot. Move the fence farther away, not closer.
Take the two long staves, measure down 1.5 in from the top along the center line and drill a 3/4 in hole all the way through.
The Bottom.
After the staves are cut we need to make the bottom. Tongue and groove will give you the best seal so you need a square of fitted wood 10.5 in x 10.5 in square, 3/4 in thick.
Measure and mark your center.
Take a good compass and mark a circle with a 5.25 in radius and another with a 5 inch radius, using the same center.
Carefully cut off everything outside the outer circle.. Use a file, drawknife, plane or whatever, and taper the outer edge of your wooden circle from the inner circle to the outer edge. Do this from both sides, top and bottom, so you leave just a 1/4 in edge on it all the wayaround the circumference.
Now its assembly time.
The easiest way i know to do this, is with a roll of masking tape.
Lay all your staves side by side on a table, marrow face down( \__/ ).
Set a board or something along the bottom ends so you can line them up. Set out 4 staves then set a long one. Place 4 more then set the other long one, all the bottom edges aligned and even. Top corners touching.
Peel off a 4ft length of masking tape, use at least 1" width, 2" is better, and lay it across your staves along the top edges. Press it down good.
Assemble your bottom part and tape it together, then set it on someshims so the tapered outer edge is 1/2 nch off the work surface.
Carefully stand your staves all up and roll into a circle of standing staves, around your bottom.
Get another strip of tape and slowly work the bottom stave ends in against the bottom plate and tape them together. Make sure the grooves line up with the tapered edge. When all are pushed into place wrap another piece of tape around the middle as toghtly as you can get it, go around a couple times.
Carefully pick up your pail and turn it over. Get a piece of good rope that wont stretch, tie it tightly around your bucket near the middle. now take a block of wood and a hammer and work the rop toward the top of your bucket, slowly and evenly going tound and round. If it pops off the top, make the loop smaller and start over.
When the top rope is in place securely measure a piece for around the bottom, you will want it very tight to start with. Once its tied, work it onto the bottom of your pail the same as you did the top rope. WHen both ropes are in place you can use a couple staples to keep them from sliding.
Get another short length of rope, tie a big knot in one end amd lace it through the holes drilled in the long staves. Leave enough extra for a good bail then tie another big knot.
Congratulations! You just made a wooden pail.