Alcohol PROOF finish

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Forum topic by PaintByLumbers posted 11-06-2013 05:30 AM 3659 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 1915 days

11-06-2013 05:30 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finish epoxy oak

My brother is getting married and I am making him a whiskey decanter for a wedding present. I am looking to seal it on the inside so that it is alcohol proof (not just resistant) I am thinking epoxy. But I think this will be messy and hard to apply to the interior. The decanter is oak so i am looking to seal the large pores that it has. I have some marine epoxy would this be bad for food related application?

Thanks for the help!

-- Sven Gasser

28 replies so far

View JAAune's profile


1853 posts in 2516 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


1932 posts in 2093 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.

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3544 posts in 3383 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)

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Monte Pittman

30052 posts in 2537 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 2312 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


3054 posts in 2372 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

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Fred Hargis

5174 posts in 2693 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


5088 posts in 2551 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 3986 days

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

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

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Bill White

5124 posts in 4160 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.


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1768 posts in 2377 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


12430 posts in 2579 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


117328 posts in 3776 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 3443 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 (online now)


3544 posts in 3383 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)

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