Pickle Barrel Restoration Diary

Work is progressing on the exterior restoration of the Pickle Barrel House in Grand Marais, Michigan. Check back often to see the latest photos. Bob Metivier of Skyway Construction in Sault Sainte Marie is our restoration carpenter. This page will load with the most recent photos at the top.

June 5, 2005: Work progressed steadily through the winter and spring. Bob has finished the new interior stairway and refinished the floor upstairs, and also installed new flooring throught the lower level. The new staves shrank slightly through the winter and now the hoops on the barrel are being tightened. The exterior will be touched up, the screens and new porches will be added, and the interior carpentry will soon be finished. We are getting close! Landscaping has started in the garden area, as well.

February 18, 2005: Bob has been hard at work on the metal hoods and new pantry door. As you can see, work is reallycoming along and the exterior of the building looks great, even in snow! The original design called for hoods on the kitchen windows and on the upper windows of the big barrel, and we will follow that design.

October 25, 2004: The exterior painting is just about finished, and the big barrel has a lovely new cedar-shake roof. The window hoods are ready for their final coat of paint. Next up: a new roof for the small barrel, reconstruction of the pantry between the barrels, and installation of the new windows and door.


October 1, 2004: The end is in sight! Bob decided it would be best to paint the barrel as the new staves were put in, so the exterior is taking on a new look as the work progresses. The small barrel has received new flooring supports and the small barrel staves now have a firm anchoring point. In the weeks to come, the windows will be replaced, the roof re-done, and new flooring installed throughout.

September 10, 2004: The windows have been removed and the new, long staves are being put in place. Bob has covered the front of the barrel with tarp to prevent damage while he's working on that area. As the new staves are spliced in, they are coated with Sikkens penetrating exterior stain to protect the edges. We've tested several Sikkens stains; the one you see here is not the final color, which will be a bit lighter, but we're using the gallon we have to edge-coat and test coat the new staves. We're on track to have the exterior completed by the end of October!


August 21, 2004: The old flooring has been removed inside the large barrel. You can see why the staves desperately need repair! The new staves are being bent under plastic using weights, which traps moisture and allows the wood to bend naturally. Splicing of new stave sections has begun.

August 6, 2004: The rotted staves are gradually being removed and the new staves are being bent. Bob and his crew have erected a shelter where they can work if the weather turns rainy, but so far we have been blessed with fair weather almost every day! Snow fencing has been placed around the site for safety.

July 31, 2004: Taking a closer look at the project


July 27, 2004: Scaffolding completed