Why Not Try: Mixing carpentry and whisky?

EVERY time I assemble a futon or flimsy-legged side table from Ikea, I miraculously end up with about eight surplus nuts and bolts and no idea where they belong. In fact, the handiest man-type thing I ever did was build a pot plant holder out of a coat hanger.

I'm still boasting about it a decade later.

With full knowledge of my inadequacy as a proven jack of no trades and a burning desire to do something about it, opportunity reared its head.

And this opportunity incorporated whisky.

In a peculiar but obviously effective marketing campaign, Jack Daniels issued a media call for journalists to attend a two-hour carpentry workshop, topped off with a few whisky cocktails for the road.

The company's The Bar That Jack Built road show travels to regional towns across New South Wales and Victoria and calls on everyday punters to construct a bar from scratch.

Pop-up bars then open in Sydney and Melbourne, before a massive bonfire presumably turns our dodgy bar stools to ashes and bent nails.

So off I went, full of bluster and soon to be full of spirits.

An expert carpenter on hand had kindly pre-cut tongue and groove planks for us to transform into trestle tables, bar tables and grog bottle shelves.

I was warned against using the pneumatic nail gun after a momentary glance at my feeble wrists. Yes, we sort of cheated by not making things from scratch. And yes, it was like a rough Ikea with splinters and no pre-drilled screw holes.

But it still showed me my next pot plant holder need not be made from a bent piece of wire.

I was drilling and sanding like a madman.

In the days that followed I scoured the streets for abandoned shipping pallets. I dreamed of knocking together a bed frame to lift my mattress off the floor so visitors would not think I lived in a crack den.

I could feel hair sprouting from my regularly-beaten chest, and I was grunting more. I had become either a manly man or a gorilla with hammer-swinging skills. Although, that was all after I slept off the post-carpentry whisky haze.

Now I'm just waiting for the bar to pop-up in Sydney so I can see my handiwork (I notched my name into the wood) and watch people's drinks topple from my lopsided table.

I hear Bunnings runs free workshops if you want to give it a go for yourself.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Why not try your hand at carpentry too? Share your photos at weekend@apn.com.au or Instagram: #weekendmagchallenge.


  • Saturday, September 12: Kooringal Hotel, Wagga Wagga
  • Sunday, September 13: Birallee Tavern, Wodonga
  • Monday, September 14: The Overland Hotel, Shepparton
  • Tuesday, September 15: Grovedale Hotel, Geelong

Also, The Bar That Jack Built Tour celebrations will take place in Federation Square in Melbourne from September 18-20, and Parramatta Park in Sydney from September 25-27.

The Bar the Jack Built on Facebook

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