All Replies on Alcohol PROOF finish

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Alcohol PROOF finish

by PaintByLumbers
posted 11-06-2013 05:30 AM

28 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1797 posts in 2312 days

#1 posted 11-06-2013 05:34 AM

I’m not confident that any finish will hold up indefinitely while under constant contact with alcohol. Instead, I’d be inclined to experiment with using white oak and leaving the inside unfinished. If I recall correctly, white oak barrels were used extensively in the past for beer and/or wine. If you research that topic, you may find your answers.

-- See my work at and

View ColonelTravis's profile


1768 posts in 1889 days

#2 posted 11-06-2013 06:14 AM

I love scotch and your idea in theory sounds great. But (I’m just throwing this out there, not saying don’t do this) I would be scared to death to put scotch in a wooden bottle, especially the nuanced fancy pants whiskies, whether its coated on the inside or not. Wood is the principle flavor-maker for whisky long-term, I don’t know what it, or a coating, would do to the drink’s character over the course of a few weeks or months. Maybe nothing, but I’m paranoid enough about keeping the oxygen and light out. I’ve never seen a decanter for spirits made of anything but glass or ceramic. Maybe your brother isn’t a goofball about this stuff like me.

An idea – build something around a glass decanter sort of like this. Actually, it doesn’t have to be a barrel but that would be cool. That would definitely solve any potential leeching problems, but unlike the linked example, I’d close up the front so no light can get in.

I’m going to watch this to see if others have better ideas because I’m very interested. It’s a thoughtful gift and I hope you can pull it off.

View bobasaurus's profile


3444 posts in 3179 days

#3 posted 11-06-2013 06:20 AM

Epoxy is impossible to mix in perfect ratios, so there will always be some unhardened resin or hardener remaining that can leech into liquids. I would try waterlox for liquid resistance and food safety, though I have no idea about alcohol resistance. Spar urethane would probably work… it’s toxic in finish form but should be fairly inert when fully cured.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29222 posts in 2333 days

#4 posted 11-06-2013 09:15 AM

Jack Daniels uses white oak barrels unfinished inside. I mix a lot of epoxy and and would be comfortable using it for drinking out of, but I don’t think I would trust alcohol storage in it.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2109 days

#5 posted 11-06-2013 12:42 PM

I don’t know of any “food-grade” finish that is alcohol proof. Whiskey barrels are either unfinished or charred to the end users specs to add flavor. Maybe find a liner for the decanter.

View johnstoneb's profile


2914 posts in 2168 days

#6 posted 11-06-2013 12:43 PM

I use denatured and isopropyl alcohol as a solvent when cleaning up uncured epoxy. I don’t know what would happen with long term contact with cured epoxy.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4984 posts in 2489 days

#7 posted 11-06-2013 12:59 PM

I think you need to reevaluate your plan. If you could get some kind of plastic bottle liner (you’d have to glue the wooden flask around it I guess), maybe it would work but you won’t find a finish that does what you want (successfully) methinks. Even if the epoxy is alcohol proof, it will crack over time.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bondogaposis's profile


4723 posts in 2347 days

#8 posted 11-06-2013 02:00 PM

Sorry, but I think that this is a hair-brained idea. Use glass.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 3782 days

#9 posted 11-06-2013 02:13 PM

I have some experience in this. Line it with glass.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3956 days

#10 posted 11-06-2013 03:59 PM

The JD barrels are charred inside before the raw distillate is added.
BTW, if you are ever in the area, a visit to the JD distillery is very interesting, and is located in a “dry” county.
Even the WO barrels will leak a bit.
I would not attempt your project.


View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 2173 days

#11 posted 11-06-2013 04:25 PM

I would go with de-waxed shellac. ;P
Seriously, I got nothin for ya. I don’t know if anything but the glass would be alcohol proof. Good luck and lets see a pic when you are all done!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

View Woodknack's profile


11608 posts in 2375 days

#12 posted 11-06-2013 05:07 PM

Sven, here is the crux of the issue… anything other than glass will color the whiskey flavor, a big no-no. Go with glass.

-- Rick M,

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#13 posted 11-06-2013 05:14 PM

I agree with using glass and definitely not shellac or anything where alcohol is used as it’s solvent.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3239 days

#14 posted 11-06-2013 05:20 PM

I say, drink it all so you don’t need a decanter

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View bobasaurus's profile


3444 posts in 3179 days

#15 posted 11-06-2013 06:05 PM

Raw wood is an interesting idea. You could leave the whole decanter unfinished, or just finish the outside, and see how it works. Might add some flavor to the wood… just don’t use a toxic wood like rosewood/cocobolo.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View PaintByLumbers's profile


29 posts in 1711 days

#16 posted 11-06-2013 07:05 PM

I was reading up on plexiglass finish dissolved in acetone. Letting it all flash off before use of course. Also I hear some people say that epoxy can not be mixed in proper ratios but denatured alcohol can clean this up. What if I did epoxy but soak it in denatured after to dissolve any uncured parts and pour this off.

Here is a picture thus far. Left open until I find a sealing method. It has too much end grain to leave un sealed

-- Sven Gasser

View PaintByLumbers's profile


29 posts in 1711 days

#17 posted 11-06-2013 07:15 PM

Oops here is the photo

-- Sven Gasser

View Odiferous's profile


105 posts in 2186 days

#18 posted 11-06-2013 07:24 PM

If you have enough time for testing, try out the finishes you’re considering. Apply your finish to the bottom of an old jar, pour in some alcohol, and let it sit. You probably can’t do a chemical analysis on the result, but you might be able to easily rule out a finish that discolors, softens, or disintegrates.

View Woodknack's profile


11608 posts in 2375 days

#19 posted 11-07-2013 02:04 AM

For this to work the container must be airtight and sealed with something that absolutely will not leach into the alcohol over time. That excludes plexiglass. Epoxy might work if you use one of the alcohol resistant types but serious bourbon and scotch drinkers aren’t going to decant into anything except glass. Really good whiskeys are carefully selected by master distillers, the very last thing anyone wants to do is put them in a container that might influence the flavor. Whiskey’s worst enemy is air which allows the alcohol to evaporate and oxidizes the drink and your container doesn’t appear to be airtight. Also being made from end grain it can’t be used with bare wood either. Your intentions are good but is a terrible idea.

-- Rick M,

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3159 posts in 3104 days

#20 posted 11-07-2013 02:52 AM

It isn’t just wood that can be a problem. Expensive cut crystal decanters may contain enough lead (makes it easier to cut, just like leaded brass) that the fine spirits contained will dissolve the lead, only to leach into the spirits. Think ancient Romans with lead containers for their wine. This may no longer be true in this day and age. Then again, we see yet another manufacturer all the time in the news getting their chops busted for having lead in their product. My recommendation is to make a two-piece box that can be disassembled (if you really want to go that far) in order to put a real glass bottle inside. Or just make a nice wood box to hold his beverage container of choice.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View oldnovice's profile


6845 posts in 3363 days

#21 posted 11-07-2013 05:28 AM

I am going to two hairbraned ideas out just for my 2ยข worth:

  1. A welded stainless steel liner …. not cheap but can add character if it is highly polished!
  2. Rust Oleum has a new product called NeverWet which is a very hydrophobic coating but that is all I know about that!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Woodknack's profile


11608 posts in 2375 days

#22 posted 11-07-2013 05:42 AM

Hans, you really want someone to use NeverWet on something aren’t you?

The stainless steel isn’t a bad idea.

-- Rick M,

View ColonelTravis's profile


1768 posts in 1889 days

#23 posted 11-07-2013 06:50 AM

There are different grades of stainless steel, different impurities, etc. Don’t know if it’s guaranteed to kill your liquor but it is definitely possible. Short term with a flask is fine, like at a football game. SS turned my scotch black once after several days. If you don’t get that you can (key word) get that metal taste. All I know for sure is I’m never gonna use that stuff again.

View Loco's profile


210 posts in 1745 days

#24 posted 11-07-2013 07:49 AM

Engrave this.

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View woodenwarrior's profile


227 posts in 2190 days

#25 posted 11-07-2013 11:19 AM

I read somewhere that the reason white oak was is utilized for oak barrels and the skins of ships in the 17-19th centuries is because of its leak proof properties not just because of the flavor it imparts on alcohol. It has something to do with the resinous parts that binds the white oak grain together….I’m neither a botanist nor a chemist so I’ll take their word on it. I will say, I don’t believe that white oak itself would change the flavor of any whiskey you put into it since whiskey is made with charred barrels and not unfinished wood. Do a test run on a smaller piece and see what happens…

Ahhhhh…I didn’t see the photo of the decanter. That’s a lot of end grain. Yeah my ideas may not work on that piece…. or..its a rectangular container..make a plexiglass liner, then seal it. Not sure how the taste would be affected though.

-- Do or do not...there is no try - Master Yoda

View Woodknack's profile


11608 posts in 2375 days

#26 posted 11-07-2013 02:10 PM

Plexi and alcohol do not get along over time; and the tannins in oak would definitely impart flavor to the alcohol.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


6845 posts in 3363 days

#27 posted 11-07-2013 05:43 PM

Rick I secretly work for Rust Oleum as an undercover sales person!

Seriously, I have use a lot of the Rust Oleum products and have always been extremely happy with the results but I have not tried Never Wet as I don’t have any applicable projects.

A quick search on Google did not mention any bad results with stainless steel and straight alcohol but did mention not to use mixed alcohol products. There were a lot of good words for Silver … I don’t know about silver plate!

All things considered, it looks like the best choice is glass!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View PaintByLumbers's profile


29 posts in 1711 days

#28 posted 11-08-2013 12:02 AM

I got this far so I am going to keep looking haha. I am looking into waxes now. I feel like people must have done this in the olden times somehow.

-- Sven Gasser

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