Recooping a barrel

Discussion in 'Barrels & Oaking' started by mainshipfred, Dec 1, 2019.

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  1. Dec 1, 2019 #1

    mainshipfred

    mainshipfred

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    @Boatboy24 was kind enough to give me one of his old barrels to try my luck at recooping. It took a surprising little time, about 2 1/2 hours to disassemble, sand and put it back together and ready for toasting. The barrel could have had an ever so slight hint of VA although after sanding I can't detect it. I'm going to mix about a gallon of K-meta citric solution and put it in the bottom of a sealed fermenter and let it sit raised for a few days just to be safe prior to toasting. For toasting I'm going to get a metal paint can and put a bunch of holes in it to hold the burning oak. I'm a little unsure how long to keep the burning fire inside
    the barrel for the proper toast level.
    Step 2.jpg Step 3.jpg Step 4.jpg Step 5.jpg Step 6.jpg Step 7.jpg Step 8.jpg Step 9.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 2, 2019
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  2. Dec 1, 2019 #2

    stickman

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    I have no experience, but Barrel Builders Inc. in Napa suggests at least 20 minutes toasting time with oak fire.

    Untitled2.png
     
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  3. Dec 1, 2019 #3

    sour_grapes

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    Wow, you da man!
     
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  4. Dec 1, 2019 #4

    Ajmassa

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    YES! I am so happy you’re doing this.
     
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  5. Dec 1, 2019 #5

    mainshipfred

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    Thanks, I had to look up what the croze was and that was the trickiest part. Since it was the end of the stave it didn't take much to sand off too much wood. Plus the croze and stave thickness as far as that goes are much thinner with the smaller barrel. The croze was only about 3/8" to begin with and I think on average I sanded off 1/8"-3/16" off the staves. It also appears they must remove the heads and sand the inside of the barrel which is otherwise intact. As you can see I sanded the staves individually. My only concern is the stave edges are tapered and when you sand the inside you could potentially change the diameter of the barrel which is no problem except at the heads. I'm afraid, if I don't reduce the diameter of the head slightly, the staves may leak where they meet the heads. It will be just a guess but if I take too much off the heads it could leak around the heads themselves.
     
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  6. Dec 1, 2019 #6

    Ajmassa

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    Eh don’t overthink it. Get the heads close. But better to remove a little less than too much. Then beat the hell out of those rings!
    I’m betting a nice long soak will swell it up to nice seal eventually.

    *worst case scenario- you gotta pop heads off one at a time to slightly reduce. Better than hitting all the staves again to match the heads if you were to overshoot them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
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  7. Dec 1, 2019 #7

    stickman

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    I understand what you're saying, but I don't believe it is recommended to remove anything off of the sealing surfaces. Once a barrel is used, the heads and the croze take a "set", and anything done to these areas is likely to cause leaks unless both surfaces are prepared perfectly. It's the reason that most procedures describe careful marking of the head position so that it can be replaced in exactly the same orientation.
     
  8. Dec 1, 2019 #8

    mainshipfred

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    I am going to just leave it be and I did mark the heads. If it does leak I know how to take that sucker apart. LOL! I'm also going to put some bees wax around the croze.
     
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  9. Dec 1, 2019 #9

    stickman

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  10. Dec 1, 2019 #10

    mainshipfred

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  11. Dec 1, 2019 #11

    stickman

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    @mainshipfred Really appreciate seeing the photos you posted, the staves look very thick to me, rather meaty for a small barrel. I noticed one of the comments in the manual indicating that some wineries request the heads be flipped and toasted to provide some new wood exposure, probably easy for them to do, though they don't indicate if there are any special considerations.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your toasting operation!
     
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  12. Dec 1, 2019 #12

    Johnd

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    Good job Fred!!
     
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  13. Dec 2, 2019 #13

    Boatboy24

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    I just can't believe that @mainshipfred doesn't have one of those barrel sanders. Total amateur. :rolleyes: :p
     
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  14. Dec 2, 2019 #14

    ibglowin

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    Wow...

    Excellent work!
     
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  15. Dec 2, 2019 #15

    sour_grapes

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    Doesn't have one... yet. :D
     
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  16. Dec 2, 2019 #16

    Iansberg

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    Inspiring I would say.
     
  17. Dec 8, 2019 at 5:17 PM #17

    mainshipfred

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    Toasted the barrel today for 40 minutes. I think I got a nice medium to medium+ toast. When I went to put on the first head my hunch was correct and the diameter changes slightly not allowing the staves at the head to close. It wasn't much maybe a strong 16th but too much to feel comfortable with. Got to figure out how to evenly shave the head and how much.
     

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  18. Dec 8, 2019 at 5:21 PM #18

    mainshipfred

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    During toasting the temperature of the wood inside the barrel got to around 360 degrees.
     
  19. Dec 8, 2019 at 6:07 PM #19

    stickman

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    Are you sure it's not just the wood drying out? I guess what you are saying is that the barrel diameter was limited by just the inside edge of the stave, which shouldn't be the case if the staves were tight when you started. It's not uncommon for the staves to dry from the outside first which leaves the inside edge the only contacting edge, which might explain what you are experiencing. I've seen gaps between staves even when the barrel was full with wine, and I always figured it was because the barrel wasn't stored in the proper humidity, which would allow the outside portion of the stave to dry and shrink. I'm just thinking out loud, I trust you'll figure it out.
     
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  20. Dec 8, 2019 at 6:18 PM #20

    Boatboy24

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    I don't know if I'm more impressed with the whole process, or simply the fact that you did the toast inside. :eek:
     
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