Alcohol PROOF finish

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Forum topic by PaintByLumbers posted 265 days ago 914 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 318 days

265 days ago

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


756 posts in 919 days

#1 posted 265 days ago

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


564 posts in 496 days

#2 posted 265 days ago

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


1179 posts in 1787 days

#3 posted 265 days ago

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

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13337 posts in 941 days

#4 posted 265 days ago

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.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View rrww's profile


253 posts in 716 days

#5 posted 265 days ago

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


622 posts in 775 days

#6 posted 265 days ago

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

1651 posts in 1096 days

#7 posted 265 days ago

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.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

View bondogaposis's profile


2446 posts in 954 days

#8 posted 265 days ago

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

-- Bondo Gaposis

View ratchet's profile


1283 posts in 2389 days

#9 posted 265 days ago

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3350 posts in 2563 days

#10 posted 265 days ago

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


866 posts in 781 days

#11 posted 265 days ago

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 Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3785 posts in 983 days

#12 posted 265 days ago

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

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View a1Jim's profile


112001 posts in 2180 days

#13 posted 265 days ago

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

-- Custom furniture

View WhoMe's profile


1081 posts in 1846 days

#14 posted 265 days ago

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 and the wall gets in the way.. - Mike -

View bobasaurus's profile


1179 posts in 1787 days

#15 posted 265 days ago

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

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