Making your own barrel

Treatment and handling of your distillate.

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cob
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by cob » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:51 am

Saltbush Bill wrote:http://www.bundabergrumshowcase.com.au/vats2.html
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?????
using a rule if the man is 6' tall the bottom of the barrel is aprox. 14' diameter the top is aprox. 10.5' diameter giving that aprox. 14' tall barrel a taper of 3.5' .
the photographic perspective appears to be about head high (close to centered) so illusion would be minimal

nice vat btw.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Dnderhead » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:03 pm

the pitcher of the vats is straight sided (3d pic) if you look close to the vat on right (in 3d pic)you will see the turnbuckles that tighten the hoops.
just as I said with a straight sided vat some way is needed to tighten the hoops .
iv seen/used turnbuckles and "pinch bolts" witch is used depends on size of vat.
the third way mite be shrink fit though I have never tried it.
here is one with a "pinch bolt"
http://furniture.fordaqfurniture.com/fo ... nce=797322" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
another type,,http://www.mariettasilos.com/rehooping

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Truckinbutch
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Truckinbutch » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:45 pm

Dunder , these folks obviously know more about barrel building and maintenance than you and I do . I'm just gonna get back quiet and watch for their posted results .
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by bellybuster » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:30 pm

why are you so twisted about folks talking about barrels?? Don't like the conversation? Stay out of it. It really is that easy.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Richard7 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:21 pm

Don't make me take off my belt!...LOL.....Truckinbutch knows what I am talking about! Just a joke :wink:
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Truckinbutch » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:07 pm

Richard7 wrote:Don't make me take off my belt!...LOL.....Truckinbutch knows what I am talking about! Just a joke :wink:
You don't have to strap my legs , please ! I just got done saying that I was going to sit in the corner and behave :wave:
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Dnderhead » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:05 pm

Ill be at the top of stairs watching..
it just mite git entertaining...........

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by faust778 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:22 pm

ive been looking everywhere for plans on making wood barrels and everyone says the same thing it cant be dont you need 7 years training to make one and all i keep thinking is that i dont want a new job i just want to make a barrel so i started playing around and made one out of cardboard to see if my math works and i came up with this
10 staves .5" thick 3.5" wide in the center tapering to 3.14 on the ends 15" long with 10" top and bottom i started with 10" just to make the math easier with 10 " i will need to make the angle on the side of the staves 36 degrees i should be able to do it all on a table saw maybe a router.
like i said im not looking for a new job i just wanna have fun making it

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by watermelon » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:03 pm

give it a go, theres a lot of old guys around here who are stuck in their ways. useful information but they havnt got the energy to try anything new.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by bowhunt76 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:28 pm

Or....they realize theres no sense reinventing the wheel.


But i could see the fun in trying it... Carry on.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Dnderhead » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:29 am

:lol: :lol:

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MichiganCornhusker
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Fri Apr 03, 2015 5:55 pm

Now, y'all knew someone would come along someday and reopen this can of worms..... :D
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:32 am

I'm going to blame RandyMarshCT for putting getting this idea rattling around in my brain. And I'm going to thank him for the inspiration.
He posted that thread a while back about resurfacing/recharring a barrel, and I had a 5 gallon barrel that needed to be charred, so I followed his lead and I'm trying to make up 5 gallons of whiskey now to fill it.
While I was doing all that, I kept wondering if it would be possible to make my own barrel. Just as an exercise. It won't be better than any other barrel, and if I count my time at $1/hr prolly not any cheaper either. But still...
Now right up front, I am going to say that I intend to cheat. I will not be coopering. I'm not gonna go cut down a tree. I was going to start with some air dried oak, and steam bend the staves, but then I thought, hey, why not just use wood from a used whiskey barrel? Already curved and cupped, already old weathered white oak. A jump on the whole process.

I asked around and got a full size whiskey barrel from a local brewery that uses them for barrel aging their beer. It's had two batches of bourbon and two batches of beer through it. Cost me $20. If nothing else, it's a lot of white oak for making sticks.
barrel 001.jpg
barrel 002.jpg
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:40 am

I took the barrel apart last night. The hoops were not nailed on, so it was easy to knock them off with a screwdriver and a mallet.
barrel 003.jpg
barrel 005.jpg
I would suggest starting with the hoops closest to the middle of the barrel. If you do the ends first, the barrel starts to splay open and you have to fight the middle hoops all the way off.
Once I knocked off one of the end hoops I got a look inside the barrel and it was pretty nasty. Lots of beer dregs and mold.
barrel 006.jpg
barrel 010.jpg
I flipped the barrel over, knocked off the last hoop, and the whole thing fill to the ground.
barrel 011.jpg
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MichiganCornhusker
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 5:46 am

The staves were filthy, so I went at them with a wire brush and soapy water.
barrel 012.jpg
barrel 013.jpg
barrel 014.jpg
They look much better today, dried.
barrel 015.jpg
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:01 am

I'm hoping to get 3 barrels from this. I'm going to cut all the staves in half, first, and then figure out how large a barrel I can make from 1/3 of the pieces. If I can get barrels in the 3-4 gallon range, that's what I'm gonna do.
I think I have a pretty good plan for cutting the beveled sides of the new staves. I actually made up a test barrel from scratch with some scrap mahogany I had laying around.
m barrel 01.jpg
m barrel 02.jpg
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MichiganCornhusker
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:07 am

One of the challenges I can see right off is that the staves from the barrel are not a uniform width. They vary all over the place from as narrow as 1" to the widest ones being 4". So, if I am going to try to maximize my yield from this thing, I will need to either cut special angles on each stave, or sort them into groups, and cut the groups into uniform widths, each width getting its own unique angle for the sides.

Another thing I haven't figured out yet is how to make the ends of the barrel fit the groove for a tight seal. I'm planning to copy as much as I can from the existing barrel.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by aquavita » Sat Apr 04, 2015 6:41 am

:shock:

:clap:

:crazy:

MCH - Ya kill me. I see you are not one to shy from pushing a pea up-hill!

As our brothers and sisters from down under might say - "Good on ya mate"

Damn - looking forward to the progression. Heck I was impressed just by how much the staves cleaned up. From over here on the other side of the lake they looked mostly full of fungus & mold.

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Jimbo » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:21 am

MC, why dont you leave it whole and just make up a 53 gallon batch of that Yam juice you brought over :lol: :lol: :lol:

Ok, that profound bit of wisdom has now subscribed me to this thread, will be following along intently, as I do with all your crazy ass projects MC. Great stuff!

(brethren..... in case ya get a hankerin to start cuttin staves and following MC's lead, maybe you should know he's a woodworker by trade.... jus sayin)
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Halfbaked » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:23 am

MCH I gotta say I am glad I approved you. This is inspiring. Did you use a belt sander to clean up? When you said something about making 2 barrels out of one I was thinking you were gonna cut it in half. After I see the pic of you holding it I assume you are gonna take 1/2 or 1/3 the staves out and make a slim barrel.. I like that. More oak touchin your likkker. More details and pics please

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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:41 am

Not too impressive yet. Taking things apart is easy, even the clean up so far wasn't so bad. When I first looked in the barrel it looked like only part of it was charred but that was because leftovers from stout beer covered the goodness. Cleaned up really nice just with soap, water, and a stiff wire brush. No sanding yet. But that will be one of my next chores, sanding the inside and out side of the staves. I like your idea of a tall skinny barrel, 1/2baked, but I'm going to try to make 3 shorties, roughly 14" high, maybe 10' - 12" dia.

One thing I'm wondering: the brewery is getting rid of them because they can't get much character from the charred/bourbon/oak anymore. Would that be because the layer of char and toasting is spent? If I re-char this thing, would I get back to a good charred barrel, or has something more been leached out of the oak?

Pea-up-a-hill is about what this is, just trying to see if I can pull it off. Here, hold my beer...
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Jimbo » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:47 am

MichiganCornhusker wrote:
One thing I'm wondering: the brewery is getting rid of them because they can't get much character from the charred/bourbon/oak anymore. Would that be because the layer of char and toasting is spent? If I re-char this thing, would I get back to a good charred barrel, or has something more been leached out of the oak?

Here, hold my beer...
Im no cooper, or purport to have any knowledge of genus Quercus steeped in various ethanol containing concoctions,..... but my experience with a used JD barrel is that there is LOTS of all the oak goodness you want locked up inside them 1" thick staves.

Carry on, Im holding your beer..... whadya mean the glass wasnt empty when you handed it me!
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Braz » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:19 am

If all else fails, just stretch a skin over it and call it a conga drum.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:37 am

Cut up the staves. Now they are all about 18" long, varying widths. I arranged them in 3 groups, the small ends all together are about 44" wide in each group.
I think that means 3 barrels with the small end at 44" outside circumference, roughly 14" dia. Not sure yet how much of that I will lose when I start cutting the bevels on the sides though.
So, if I can end up with 10" average ID, and inside height of about 12", that would put me in the 4 gallon range. (At this point I will plead for any math checking, or any other suggestions or input, I really haven't thought this all the way through yet.)

So there ya go, bigger barrels hold more! The material I'm getting from a 53 gallon barrel will make 3 smaller barrels @ only 4-5 gallons each, only 15 gallons total.
half staves.jpg
Here is the end of a stave, freshly cut in half. I can see how far the liquids/toast have seeped into the inside face of the stave, and also how far through the space between staves that the liquid seeped. If you look close you can see that brownish tide line way out near the outside surface of the stave, only the last 1/4 or less of the stave sealing tight to not leak.
cut stave.jpg
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:45 am

Braz wrote:If all else fails, just stretch a skin over it and call it a conga drum.
Missed opportunity!
drum set.jpg
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Jimbo » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:53 am

Now thats tits!
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:14 am

Many of the staves are too wide for a smaller diameter barrel.
I traced a radius of 12" on a piece of paper and compared the staves.
Here is one of the wide ones:
wide tape.jpg
wide fit.jpg
And one of the more narrow ones:
narrow tape.jpg
narrow fit.jpg
The wide ones will make a barrel that is too faceted, too many flat spots compared to the shape.
I had to go with a balance between not wanting really wide flat staves, and not wanting a million narrow ones. So I settled on about 2-1/2" wide and ripped everything wider in half on a table saw.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by Jimbo » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:15 am

Shinny barrel, skinny staves, cut them bitches in half long wise. Sheeeesh :roll: You too close to the trees to see the barrel? :lol:
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:24 am

Now, I'm just presenting this as a show & tell, not as a how-to. Table saws are nasty dangerous machines, and cutting curved and cupped white oak barrel staves in half takes that up a notch.
Don't do this unless you really know what you're doing, and then I strongly suggest some type of jig to hold firmly hold the pieces.
There are two problems. First, because the edges are curved, they won't lay flat against the fence:
stave rip fence.jpg
stave rip blade.jpg
However, the stave has a fairly long flatish spot near the middle of the barrel, and I held that edge against the fence as I ran it through.
The second problem is that because the inside surface of the stave is cupped, or barrel shaped, the two halves of the stave want to collapse in toward the saw blade when you finish the cut:
stave rip end.jpg
wide stave.jpg
As Jimbo mentioned, I've been working with this saw a long long time, don't try this at home!
I wound up splitting about half the staves in two, lots more opportunities for leaks, but a much rounder barrel.
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Re: Making your own barrel

Post by MichiganCornhusker » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:29 am

This was a little surprising to me. Here is a photo showing the freshly cut edges of the staves. It's kinda hard to see, but the liquid in the barrel has discolored all the way out about 1/3 of the thickness of the wood. I didn't think that it would penetrate that far. Recharring these, and baking that juice in there will almost certainly have some impact on the whiskey.
stave edges.jpg
Here is a shot of the end groove of the stave where the barrel head fits into it. Starting to put together a plan for re-making that for the smaller barrels.
head groove.jpg
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