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dad81
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-13-2011
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Wooden barrel making

[ Edited ]

Do's anyone know how to make a wooden barrel? I'm looking for plans for something like a whiskey or wine barrel.  I'm wanting to make a small one, about One to Five gal. Size.  But any size will do.

Esteemed Advisor
Warped and Twisted
Posts: 1,753
Registered: ‎10-22-2009
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Re: Wooden barrel making

I can't help  you with personal experience but there's a ton on information and videos on the internet about "barrel making/coopering. Try a Google search.

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wadriscoll1
Posts: 416
Registered: ‎10-21-2009
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Re: Wooden barrel making

[ Edited ]

Have a look at THESE VIDEOS they might give you some help - Willy

Honored Advisor
JL North GA
Posts: 1,622
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Wooden barrel making

How about a class in coopering?

White Coopering: https://www.folkschool.org/index.php?section=class_detail&class_id=4690

 

Apprentice Member
Still Learning @80
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎12-11-2009
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Re: Wooden barrel making

Dad 81

 

With your interest in making barrels, I would suggest that if you are ever anywhere near Williamsburg, Virginia be sure to visit and see the coopers there make barrels the way they did in colonial times.  I am sure it is something you would enjoy.

 

 

Still learning @ 81
Senior Contributor
Allen O.
Posts: 227
Registered: ‎10-25-2009

Re: Wooden barrel making

Having worked as a volunteer cooper for several years at a historic site, I can tell you this is not a craft that one picks up casually.  One of the best historical references out there is a book called "The Cooper and His Trade".  It is mainly coopering from an English perspective but gives you insight to the meaning of really obscure terms like tun, hogshead, pony, croze, bung, chime  and firken.  You'll learn why coopers always did their sharpening on Mondays (usually had to do with drinking too much over the weekends and they were in no shape to do fine craftsmanship first thing on a Monday)

 

Even the term "barrel" does not have a precise meaning and it's size would be influenced not only by country of origin, but by what it was holding (sour mash, nails or apples).  The three main branches of coopering are dry, tight and white.  Tight coopering made barrels that would be liquid tight, or in the case of beer, would also have to be gas tight.  Dry coopering would be making barrels to hold (you guessed it) dry materials, like flour, nails or apples.  White coopering is usually what most people start with.  This is usually meant to refer to straight sided vessels like buckets or tankards.  This is a good starting point.  Once you master the straight sided vessels whose staves taper in only one direction, you can then move onto barrels whose staves taper in both directions.

 

Good luck on your attempts.  It's a fun craft to practice and learn about.

 

Allen O.
"Today's mighty oak is nothing more than yesterday's little nut that held it's ground."
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Jon439
Posts: 1,209
Registered: ‎10-23-2009
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Re: Wooden barrel making

[ Edited ]

Amazing how one persons comment leads to other thoughts. When you explained white coopering, I am reminded of the old Bongo and Conga drums of years past, some round, others 6 or 8-sided. Some of the joints were mitered and tapered, others were tapered with birds mouth joints.

 

I then remembered an article in WOOD magazine about a young lady building variations on traditional African drums using white coopering methods (without metal bands).

I just searched to find the artical on the drums, but can't find it.

Jon-439
Apprentice Contributor
dta1750671
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎02-14-2010
0

Re: Wooden barrel making

If you have access to back issues of Wood, #96, April, 1997 has an article on a cooper and how he does it.  Not really a set of plans but may give you some ideas.  PM me if you can't find back issue.

 

Good luck

 

Dave

Veteran Advisor
Sawdustr
Posts: 7,815
Registered: ‎10-21-2009
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Re: Wooden barrel making

Hello Dad,

Here is a link you might find interesting;

http://www.barrelsonline.com/default.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

 

Remember to keep your hands no closer to a spinning blade or bit than 6" for safety sake.

Respectfully,

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http://www.ralphjoneswoodworking.com
Apprentice Visitor
5by5swissdreamin
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-19-2012
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Re: Wooden barrel making

To keep this short: I am looking for the equipment for making barrels that I saw in Switzerland when I lived there for 9 1/2 years. It was steel hoop - like a lariette (a cowboys rope). The steel was a thick braid of twisted strands which was ratched. The staves were all made and the steel bands were lying there ready. As you ratcheted the steel rope it drew the staves more upright and together. I saw this in the fall when the area vintners open their cellars for people to tour all the local cellars. I could kick myself for not checking this out while I still lived there. If you send me an email I think I can draw a good example of the equipment I saw and the vintners were more than willing to demonstrate. There were barrels there as small as approx. 5 gallons, some about 4 foot tall and many were (laying on their sides on chocks) were 8 foot tall or larger.

 

 

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