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From Barrel To Art: Crafting an Oak Barrel

The barrel furniture from Barrel-Art is fabricated from reclaimed wine and whiskey barrels that have been used for years in the aging and storing of various spirits. The creations our customers delight in are handmade -- just like the wine barrels of old.

We take care to build on the sturdiness and durability of these barrels when we reclaim them for our own use. Looking into the construction of a barrel will show you the care that is taken when producing these containers. It is not a short process by any means, and a number of steps are taken to ensure the strength and quality of these barrels:

  • Oak trees, at least 100 years old, are cut and analyzed for the proper grain pattern. Only two or three barrels can be made from any one tree. These are cut into fairly long lengths called staves.

  • The freshly cut stave pieces are trimmed to approximately the correct lengths and allowed to cure for 24 to 36 months. This removes odors, impurities, and harsh tannins that ruin the wine. The stave pieces are then steamed and bent into the proper barrel shape.

  • A cooper (a barrel maker) will then take the stave collection, and -- after picking the best -- place them in a metal hoop, which acts as a jig. This is called mise en rose, or raising the barrel.

  • These staves will have to form a perfectly sealed container without the use of any glue. This is one of the things that make the wine barrel furniture we produce sturdy.

  • The cooper then forces three metal bands down around the wood staves to make the distinctive look a barrel has.

  • At this point it is placed over a small, controlled fire. This 'toasts' it gently and adds a particular flavor to the spirits when aging.

  • The top of the stave pieces are cut to allow the installation of the head.

Our barrel furniture, barware, wall art and home decor, are direct products of this custom craftsmanship. Shop our catalog or contact us at Barrel-Art to find out more about what furnishings can be made from reclaimed wine and whiskey barrels.

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