Making your own barrel

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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Beerandsuds
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Making your own barrel

Post by Beerandsuds » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:44 am

I realize this isn't easy. I also realize it's easier to age in different ways.

All that said, I want to make a functioning whiskey barrel with my dad. Does anyone have any instructions on how to do so? Pointing me in the right direction would be much appreciated, thanks a bunch!

bellybuster
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by bellybuster » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:02 am

I've been thinking about this too. I've been looking at the hot tub sites. The straight sides would be so much easier and allow you to use standard wood working tools.

F6Hawk
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by F6Hawk » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:09 am

I believe cooperage is an apprencite-type trade. I haven't seen any plans online for making your own barrel, which would be complicated at best, since the staves aren't exactly the same width. Watching videos on youtube or other might help you appreciate better the difficulty in aking your own barrels. Such as a large overhead of wooden staves.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Gaztops » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:41 am

I've seen a documentry showing the process of distilling Jack Daniels which included the making of the barrels. The width of the staves on each end is smaller in width than the middle. This forms the barrel shape so when the steel bands is hydraulically pressed into position it pushes the staves together to form a seal.

Superb skill and craftsmanship.
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Beerbrewer
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Beerbrewer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:55 am

I would think it takes quite a bit of skill to do this by hand as the link below shows.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7819254.stm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by cazolman » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:57 pm

I would suggest reading "The Cooper and His Trade" by Kenneth Kilby. After reading this book, I believe making a watertight barrel is a very difficult task for even a skilled carpenter.

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Truckinbutch
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Truckinbutch » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:39 pm

Beerbrewer wrote:I would think it takes quite a bit of skill to do this by hand as the link below shows.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7819254.stm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
+1 on that . Speaking from experience ; you can make your own special hand tools and craft one . You aren't going to have a damned bit of fun doing it .
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wv_hillbilly
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by wv_hillbilly » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:43 pm

I had thought about trying this, then after long consideration, I figured my outcome to be: roughly 100 hours into it and 529,423 cuss words later I'd finally throw it away. Made my choice pretty easy.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Richard7 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:58 pm

This is a good look at barrel making on Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBHB1ek8Qjo" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow . Look like a lot of work to me but you and your dad might like it. If you make one or many I would love to see pictures of the process.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by frozenthunderbolt » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:52 pm

Look up 'Cooperage'
Traitionaly it's a 5-7 year apprenticship.
When you finaly make a perfectly watertight barrel without the use of reeds you are thrown into it by any masters and journeymen in the shop and rolled down hill in it.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by F6Hawk » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:45 pm

Awesome video series, Richard. And THAT is why you buy 'em...

oliver90owner
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by oliver90owner » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:08 pm

Not that difficult, what with modern machine tools, but you would benefit from some some basic woodworking and metalworking skills. The 'utube has some good pointers for a DIYer.

No need for hydraulic presses, 'manumatic' or 'handraulic' fitting of rings is possible. A challenge for most, but not impossible. Just not a cost effective occupation unless you have had that time-served experience and loads of practice.

I would be using a router and template for the staves. After that just a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and more accurate routing.
I would use bolt-up rings as an alternative for initial assembly, fitting welded rings later, I think.

I have enough kit (bench saw, planer, router, metal roller bender, welder, angle grinder, etc) to do the job easily enough, just not the incentive to give up the time and make the space needed to get it right.

RAB

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by watermelon » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:07 pm

what aout building straight sided barrels? beveling should be easy with a router.

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Truckinbutch
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Truckinbutch » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:39 pm

I think the op was planning that . You can do it , but I don't think you will pleased with the fruits of your labor . Buckets and butter churns with tapered sides are a snap to make with hand tools if you are crafty . Made a lot of them . A barrel that won't leak over time is a whole 'nother proposition .
I've been trying to not get nasty here , but why do you think that wooden barrels have been made the way they are instead of with straight sides for a couple thousand years ?
Give me an answer to that and I might see a new way of doing things .
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oliver90owner
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by oliver90owner » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:44 am

why do you think that wooden barrels have been made the way they are instead of with straight sides for a couple thousand years ?

So they are easy to handle, especially i the larger sizes.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by bellybuster » Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:23 pm

and the bulge in the middle allows change of direction with little effort while rolling. There are early examples of straight sided barrels. The "barrel" shape is no less likely to leak than a straight side, cedar hot tubs are a good example

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by watermelon » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:49 am

the shape of the barrel is obvious, but what if its not going to be rolled anywhere? i dont see a problem with straight sided barrels.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by bellybuster » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:25 am

me neither.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by watermelon » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:53 am

I was drinking at my 380 year old local pub last night (also the site of the burning alive of 5 protestants) and had a look at all their old barrels. sadly not used anymore, but they are used as decoration. i was surprised to see that every one of the staves was a different size. is that normal in barrel cooperage, or just how these ones were made?

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by bellybuster » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:48 am

from what I've seen the staves are all random and picked out of a pile, only the last few are selected for size and/or adjusted to fit.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Dnderhead » Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:02 pm

American oak is usually sawed more likely to be the same size,Finch oak is split then planed to size so all staves are/can be diferant.

rad14701
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by rad14701 » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:33 pm

The shape of the barrel is what gives it its exceptionally tight joints and overall structural integrity... Ease of rolling is merely an ancillary benefit...

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Saltbush Bill
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Saltbush Bill » Fri Apr 19, 2013 4:52 am

I doubt very much that a oak barrel really needs to be the traditional shape, I have always been lead to believe the shape evolved to what it is now to aid in moving them around, Many large Straight Sided oak vats are used in the wine and Rum Industries, I have seen the Rum aging vats at the Bundaberg Rum Distillery in Australia, they are straight sided and hold on average 69,000 liters each, some of these vats are almost 100 years old and are still in use to this day.
A couple of links below for those interested.
http://www.bundabergrumshowcase.com.au/vats2.html
http://www.bundabergrumshowcase.com.au/vats.html

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by cob » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:54 am

watermellon wrote the shape of the barrel is obvious, but what if its not going to be rolled anywhere? i dont see a problem with straight sided barrels.
bellybuster wrote:me neither.
shrinkage. tapered barrels and buckets allow tightning the hoops with a hoop driver.
i built straight walled white oak canteens and eventually had to wax seal every one.

edit replaced incorrect quote
Last edited by cob on Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Dnderhead » Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:44 am

straight sided barrel would need adjustable hoops.water vats etc. have these much like the old wood silos. possibly you could make "shrink fit" hoops.much like a wood wagon wheel tire.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by watermelon » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:01 am

i think a tapered sided barrel wold easier, as the rings could be a any size and slided down the taper til they fitted.

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Truckinbutch
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Truckinbutch » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:10 pm

(Head scratch) ? How many of you arguing that you got a better way to make a barrel ever made one or had to maintain traditional ones ?................................... ? I thought so .................. Got better than 50 years invested in this on the maintenance end myself .
I didn't come here to argue . I came here to learn . Go on ahead and make your barrel and show us the long term results . I am always willing to learn a new way of doing things that works . :)
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Dnderhead » Fri Apr 19, 2013 5:57 pm

"How many of you arguing that you got a better way to make a barrel ever made one or had to maintain traditional ones"
ill just say yes to both and leave it to that.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by watermelon » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:59 pm

who is arguing, this is a discusion!

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Saltbush Bill
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Saltbush Bill » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:13 am

http://www.bundabergrumshowcase.com.au/vats2.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
http://www.bundabergrumshowcase.com.au/vats.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
Its pretty obvious that it can be done if you care to look at the links above....Does anyone care to argue with a photo of a straight sided rum aging vat / barrel that is at least 65 years old and possibly older?????

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