Straightening of reclaimed oak barrel staves

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Forum topic by Ian Balt posted 05-18-2009 08:10 PM 21993 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ian Balt

1 post in 3454 days

05-18-2009 08:10 PM

I desperately require assistance – cannot find a specific topic on the internet how to straighten reclaimed oak red wine barrel staves. I have a dream of a spectacular wine barrel hardwood floor for our dining room. Your valued advice would be appreciated.

Fraternaly yours,

Ian Balt
West Coast – South Africa

18 replies so far

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3553 days

#1 posted 05-18-2009 08:12 PM

I am could be wrong here but I don’t think you can get them flat enough for a floor.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Julian's profile


880 posts in 3552 days

#2 posted 05-18-2009 08:54 PM

They were steam bent to get that shape. Maybe you could steam bend them straight again?

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4154 days

#3 posted 05-18-2009 09:12 PM

Hi Ian:

I live in Kentucky, USA where we make about 800,000 barrels a year, mostly from white oak.

I use reclaimed barrel wood in my rustic arts studio. Within some limitations, you can steam bend the staves to straigthen them. Then they can be resawn and planed for use. Our bourbon barrel staves are about one inch thick and are charred on the inside. After processing, they will be about 5/8 Inch thick or less.

I steam them for about 90 minutes. Even after straightening, they can be a little wavy. The planing can help with the flattening. The barrel heads are made of flatter wood and might work better for your purposes.

Bourbon barrel staves are about 36” long, so the curve may be more pronounced then on a larger wine barrel where the staves will be longer.

It can be a lot of work.

Good luck.

-- 温故知新

View Elaine's profile


113 posts in 3650 days

#4 posted 05-18-2009 09:26 PM

Steam bending back in shape. Google furniture companies that use barrel staves, you should find the answer there.

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#5 posted 05-18-2009 09:27 PM

Interesting I didn’t think they could be straightened enough to be usable

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View rhett's profile


742 posts in 3694 days

#6 posted 05-18-2009 10:35 PM

Even if they can be somewhat straightened, by the time the wood fibers have been stretched/compressed to make the stave, and then restretched/compressed in the opposite direction for flatness, I would not trust the wood to stay flat on a floor over time. Too much messing with the actual structure of the wood. JMHO

-- Doubt kills more dreams than failure.

View Gary's profile


9333 posts in 3459 days

#7 posted 05-19-2009 12:04 AM

You might just have to bite the dust and settle for some of that old native wood like Padauk or Babinga…. By the way, do you know of anyone in your part of the world that has done what you are wanting to do?

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View samcobb's profile


1 post in 3293 days

#8 posted 06-16-2009 05:08 PM
They cannot be straightened. They must be resawn then pressed to a backing material, otherwise, when they gain moisture, they will curl again and lift from the floor.

View winecountrywhimsy's profile


99 posts in 3375 days

#9 posted 11-07-2009 02:50 AM

There is also an issue with the taper of the staves. Even if you get them flat, you can’t just lay them side by side because the sides are not straight. You would have to cut every stave.

Provenance Winery near Rutherford, CA in the Napa Valley has a floor made from wine barrels but I think they used the barrel heads. I have seen other wineries with wood ceilings and floors made from large wine casks that have straight sides instead of the tapered staves.

Here is a link to a company that has figured it out.

Good Luck


-- Todd @ winecountrywhimsy Sonoma County, CA

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3585 days

#10 posted 11-07-2009 04:38 AM

We loved Provenance, especially the Morris chairs made out of wine staves. We’re members at Rosenblum in Alameda, part of the corporate family. I’m currently wrestling with wine staves with my barrel stave wine rack project.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View winewood's profile


2 posts in 2971 days

#11 posted 05-04-2010 04:35 PM

Here is a better link to a company that flattens them with out having to resaw them they maintain the shape of the stave. The manufacturing process is patented so this is the place to get it
I put this in my wine seller and I love it

View CaptainSkully's profile


1600 posts in 3585 days

#12 posted 05-05-2010 04:38 PM

Don’t forget that staves are tapered on the ends, so you’ll lose a lot of meat by either sticking in the thick middle, or having to go thinner to reach the ends.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

377 posts in 3109 days

#13 posted 05-05-2010 05:57 PM

You can cut them into long skinny hexagons and lay them like bricks. This avoids having to cut out most the thick middle.

If you flipped every other row over, you could avoid cutting the taper on the sides. This would have a different look as one row would be from the outside of the barrel and the next row is from the charred inside. I guess the look depends on how much thickness you want to plane through.

-- Steve

View sams28's profile


1 post in 2690 days

#14 posted 02-09-2011 05:47 AM

here is a company that is already using reclaimed barrels to build floors, so this proves it acn be done

View winewood's profile


2 posts in 2971 days

#15 posted 02-09-2011 08:15 AM

They can be flattened and still maintain the tapper. They do not have to be cut straight. Your flooring will look just like a flattened wine barrel. Also makes great counter and table tops

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