Barrel with your own hands

July 31, 2014
Useful crafts

How to make a kegMaking barrels is called a cooperage. Cooperage is a whole art that originated in ancient Greece. People needed vessels of large volume, and making barrels turned out to be the most affordable way to make a large vessel with their own hands.


Initially, barrels were used to transport and store water, wine, and vegetable oil. Since those ancient times, the appearance of the barrel has not changed much. This uncomplicated design was so simple and convenient that it benefits and is very popular to this day. Despite the abundance of new materials and the emergence of new technologies, for some branches of human activity there was nothing better than the usual wooden barrel.

How did wooden kegs appear?

The history of the barrel began with the fact that the ancient people themselves hollowed out niches in the trunks of large trees. To simplify their task, they initially chose trees with hollows.Most likely, the observant person took note of how the animals used natural hollow volumes - our smaller brothers built houses for themselves and kept stocks of food there.

Among other things, people at that time were collecting honey from wild bees, that is, were engaged in beekeeping. Wild bees, in turn, inhabited all the same hollows of large trees. However, in order to get the desired honey, it was often necessary to go deep into the forest, and there lurked various dangers, and it was just inconvenient. In addition, there were sometimes a lot of candidates to pick up delicious honey from a concrete hollow.

HollowTo make the honey of wild bees more accessible, people went to the trick and began to cut out the parts of the tree trunk in which the hollow with the honey harvest was located. A part of the trunk was placed closer to the house, and then significant changes took place with this section of the tree. The modest hollow-hive transformed into an apiary of impressive size. With time, the caring apiary owners even made a roof of a bee house with their own hands. It was made from bark or a trimmed sheaf of straw.

After a young bee family appeared, it was moved to a new hollow.However, it was not always easy to find a new hollow of a suitable size, so the apiary owner had to gouge it with his own hands in a thick deck.

However, the life of the hive is far from eternal - with time the hollow begins to crack. To save the valuable part of the tree trunk from complete destruction, people went to new tricks - they began to use a metal hoop. The invention of such a hoop is a huge step forward, a new design that combines wood and metal in itself can already be called cooper's dishes. In order to pull off a section of the trunk with a hollow or niche hollowed out with their own hands, they also used ropes, strands, wire or wooden hoop.

The diameter of the very first barrels directly depended on the thickness of the tree trunk. It was not possible to make the container wider than the trunk of the tree. However, when people learned to tighten a keg with metal and wooden hoops, ropes, tows and wires, it became possible to make vessels of wood of absolutely any diameter.

Later this useful invention, like a barrel, turned out to be indispensable in some industries.For example, huge tanks were simply necessary in leather workshops.

Why choose oak for making a keg?

Keg makingWhen there is a need to purchase or make a barrel by your own hands, the question arises: what type of wood should you prefer? For the manufacture of barrels use such varieties of wood as Kedo, juniper, linden, pine, aspen, spruce, and, of course, oak.

In this article we will tell you about how you can make a barrel of oak with your own hands. But first, let's talk about the features of the use of oak in the cooperage art.

It should be noted that such a tree as oak is used much more often than any other deciduous trees in the manufacture of barrels. And this is quite natural - the consumer qualities of this type of wood are much better than those of other trees. Here are some features of working with such a tree as oak:

  • Oak tree is problematic enough, but to prick such a type of wood is a pleasure;
  • You will probably have a question about how you can make a barrel out of such a strong tree, but to the aid of the masters of the cooperative business there is such an important property of oak that, after steaming, it becomes incredibly elastic;
  • but after drying, the oak, on the contrary, changes its forms only minimally, practically no waves and cracks form, and this fact is another advantage of the oak;
  • However, the most important property of such a type of wood as oak is the presence of a special preservative component in it, this component prevents the wood from rotting, having an antiseptic effect;
  • The oak is not at all afraid of moisture; under its influence, on the contrary, it becomes only more durable.

Oak wood has unique qualities, which fell into the river and was in the water for a long period of time. Indeed, in water, wood is saturated with iron salts. Such wood that has lain in a pond is called “bog oak”. Bog oak is particularly durable.

Oak woodThanks to all the qualities listed above, it is precisely such a type of wood as oak that has long been recognized as the best raw material for producing cooperage dishes. That oak barrel will serve you faithfully for more than a dozen years.

It is worth noting another interesting fact concerning the oak barrels. In the composition of such wood there are some specific components,thanks to these components, as a result of oxidative processes, a unique pleasant aroma is formed inside the tree itself - the aroma of vanillin. It is thanks to this property of oak wood, it is used for the manufacture of barrels for brandy. Cognac from oak barrels adopts this pleasant aroma. Among other things, this kind of wood, like oak, contributes to a faster fermenting dough.

Even if you put a barrel made of oak in a damp basement, bury it in the soil or leave it in a shower - all these negative environmental factors will in no way affect the amazing positive qualities of oak wood barrels - these are the unique properties tree.

Making a barrel of oak with his own hands

Now, having learned all about the benefits of oak barrels, we will finally understand how to make such a container with our own hands. We present to your attention a master class on making a barrel on the basis of oak wood with a volume of 25 liters.

The process of making oak barrel begins with the preparation of material. Suitable wood should be brought from the forest in the spring, cut into suitable pieces, and then carried to the basement and covered with sawdust.In the basement in this condition, your wood should dry out throughout the summer months.

As soon as the wood is dry - proceed directly to the harvesting of parts for our future keg. We take a block, reaching about half a meter in diameter and 42 centimeters in height, and splitting it into four pieces as accurately as possible.

Master ClassAfter this, we also break up the quarters: by gently tapping on the butt with the help of the beater, as in the figure with the number 1, we make 14 blanks. The blanks are made for riveting, the thickness of each billet should be approximately three centimeters. Pay special attention to the production of blanks with your own hands on the fact that you have to be split radially, otherwise cracks will form in the wood in the future.

After the blanks are ready, they should be processed on each side with chips. This is necessary so that they turn out a little concave. This process can be seen in the photo with the number 2.

Next, we use the planer to make the parts smoother and narrower at the bottom and top, as in the picture number 3.

For the manufacture of oak barrels, we need two mounting hoop. The diameter of the average should be slightly larger. The most important thing in the design is the so-called hoop-shutter, it is he who is responsible for the quality of the future keg. Handle the hoop should be handled as carefully as possible, in any case not to knock on it with a sledgehammer.

Using bracelets based on a hoop iron, we fasten three rivets on the shutter, as in the picture with figure 4. After that, we fill the entire perimeter of our barrel with previously made blanks, and then immediately put on the middle hoop - at this stage we should have the same the same as in the picture number 5. In order for this stage to go like clockwork, it is necessary from the very beginning to accurately calculate the width of all the blanks, based on the knowledge of the diameter of our future barrel.

After the two hoops will be pulled, you will need to pull the remaining piece of the barrel. Professional coopers have a special tool for this purpose called the yoke. However, many craftsmen go to trick, inventing and making his own tools for tightening the barrel.

Master ClassAfter the keg is tight, it is necessary to lower the top hoop as low as possible. In the figure with figure 8 for this purpose a special chisel with a groove is used.

Next, the barrel must be dried. To speed up the process, you can put a barrel near the stove, if any. However, this stove should be heated for two hours every day, but not more.

PAfter two weeks of drying, the work on the keg can be continued. Using a direct plow, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the entire outer part of the barrel.

After that, it is necessary to make permanent replacement hoops assembly. In our case, these are four hoops of painted steel of two different sizes.

Replacement hoops is as follows:

  • first remove the middle hoop;
  • after that place a permanent hoop at a height of ten centimeters from the bottom of the barrel;
  • then you should grind with the help of an electric jigsaw both sides of our keg, as is done in the photo at number 9;
  • then install two more hoops on top.

Having done all this, we align the inner side of the barrel with the help of shaped plows, as in the picture at number 10. After this, it is necessary to make a groove inside the barrel.The depth of this groove is about 5-6 millimeters.

Master ClassThe bottom of the keg can be made from pre-prepared boards. The connection is made with the help of nails without caps, which must be stainless and galvanized. To our keg did not leak, the ends should be laid out with stripes of cattail - that's such a little trick.

The difficulty that anyone who wants to make a barrel of oak can face is the question of how to calculate the size of the bottom. You can do it like this:

  • fix a point near the groove;
  • approximately estimate the radius of your keg in this place;
  • after that, using a compass, set aside 6 such radii along the groove;
  • in order for the beginning and end of the path to be precisely at a fixed point, the radius will have to pick up trial and error methods;
  • the resulting size is designated with the help of compasses on the shield, which we lay out of pre-prepared boards for the bottom of the keg, as in figure number 13.

After that, the boards should be cut along the circumscribed circle using a circular saw. Further we clamp our bottom and with the help of the plow we make a jump along the entire perimeter of our keg.

By the way, it is useful to put a white loaf soaked in water in the groove, it is also a little trick that will prevent the leakage of your keg.

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