Whiskey Barrel Top/Bottom Glue Recommendations

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Forum topic by Ivan posted 08-06-2011 10:14 PM 2506 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ivan 's profile


185 posts in 2797 days

08-06-2011 10:14 PM

Hey all,

I have a good friend who was asking me about making him some whiskey barrels from White Oak.

I was going to do a test run just making cylinders, but am concerned about what type of glue would be acceptable for making the circular top/bottoms. I want to avoid a glue that alcohol will dissolve or extract any type of flavors.

What is typically used for gluing up boards to make the top/bottom??


-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

7 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3547 days

#1 posted 08-06-2011 10:25 PM

No glue is used in making white oak whiskey barrel heads. We use only pegs and sometimes a little reed caulking. Once wet, the pieces will swell together.

About 800,000 barrels are made annually here in Kentucky.

-- 温故知新

View chrisstef's profile


15459 posts in 2426 days

#2 posted 08-06-2011 10:25 PM

If they are intending to use them for alcohol glue would probably be out of the question, i would guess. There is a particular process using steam which allows the boards to shrink and swell creating a mostly water tight cylinder .. i have no idea how to make one but i just saw a jim beam factory tour on TV and thats how they made the barrells.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Ivan 's profile


185 posts in 2797 days

#3 posted 08-06-2011 11:46 PM

Would kiln dried oak be ok?

Simple pegs with no glue will hold them together enough until they get wet??

-- "Do it right the first time, you'll just kick yourself later..."

View adaughhetee's profile


104 posts in 2103 days

#4 posted 08-07-2011 03:02 AM

What I saw on t.v. was they took the staves that were different widths and matched them up into a circle. They then took cherry red steel rings and drove them down tight. When they cooled they tighten up even more. I believe that was the version I saw on “how it’s made”. Here is a link for Jim Bean barrels which also talks about the steaming.

View Richard's profile


1871 posts in 2110 days

#5 posted 08-07-2011 07:45 PM

I would think you could just buy them cheaper and a lot less work. do a google search for them.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3547 days

#6 posted 08-07-2011 08:46 PM

Kentucky Barrels

-- 温故知新

View tbone's profile


273 posts in 3104 days

#7 posted 08-10-2011 05:58 PM

I’m not sure if anyone has answered your question yet. I think you’re asking about ONLY the heads that will be used at each end of the barrel, where you will likely have to edge-fit a few boards to get the width you need.

I think that the are just cut to fit tightly together, and dowels hold them in place. No glue.

-- Kinky Friedman: "The first thing I'll do if I'm elected is demand a recount."

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