Round the village water cooler


First build your antique water cooler


  • dowel of required length/width for main body/barrel
  • florist wire – for twisted handle (I used 2 pairs of pliers to hold and twist)
    • a bit of the wire to make the pin to hold in handle
    • a very small piece also for insert in spout if you wish to bend it
  • small section of electrical wire sheathing for spout
  • part of fancy bead for decoration at top of construction and give it a pleasant top edge
  • bit of braid – also for decoration though I used the back rather than the front face (mistake)
  • sections of kebab stick
  • string for binding the handle in place when slotted in split kebab stick at top
  • slice of wider finished wood shape to make base – (I used a piece of a previously made column
  • glues – various
  • black paint (or whatever colour you fancy)

Design and construction

I’m not too clear what the general hand water pump looked like at this date (1616).  The few images that have an indication of possible date that I’ve found seem to show a thin barrel and some decoration. So I gathered the bits and bobs that might ‘do’ and had a go.

Putting on top and bottom

The slice of both the bead and the column shape (one at each end) are held in place with individual pieces of kebab stick piercing each of them and the dowel as well as glue so you need a drill or bradawl for the job.

How I managed to get them to migrate off centre when they were OK when left to dry I just don’t know.  One of life’s little mysteries, or more likely, they weren’t as centred as I thought.

The handle and handle pin

  1. The piece of kebab stick at the top is about 1″ longer than the top of the bead when they are both set in place, and split down the centre.  Excess can be trimmed off later.
  2. This is to allow the twisted and bent florist wire to be inserted.
  3. Make sure that your wire handle has a loop at the end that is threaded through the kebab stick.
  4. Glue and tightly wrap the string around above the wire to hold in place and to make a neater top to the whole shebang. (Here you can trim off excess stick.)
  5. The small piece of wire to be used as a bent pin then goes through the handle loop (mentioned above in #3) and is bent a suitable shape so that it will stay put.

Barrel trimmings

These are a very small piece of the braid (whose texture doesn’t show up now that it’s painted!) wrapped around directly below the bead segment to give some width at that point, and strips of twisted writing paper giving ridging lower down.

When everything is painted it looks more or less like one whole item.


I bent the handle well out of the way of the barrel whilst painting and drying and will bend it back downwards more towards the barrel when everything is finished and dry.

Quick mumble

V cross with self for letting the supposedly centred shapes dry lopsided and may yet try to build another if I can find more dowel.

Time taken

Overall time once all wood items are cut (but excluding drying times) approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Most of which, believe it or not was used in aligning everything up correctly.  Sheesh!

Where is it going?

The whole plan is to park the arrangement of pump and trough next to the porch area and the general idea with the trough is to let excess flow down the slightly raised area it will be on and into the runnel outside the porch, hence the shaped dip in the lip of the trough to direct the water that-a-way.


Now going on a dowel hunt


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