Tag Archives: staves

Wine Barrel Stave Ideas

Along with being ideal for wine-making, some of the many attributes of white oak is it’s strong, dense and durable. It’s also, rot-resistant while being beautiful and relatively easy to get a hold of. Because of its versatility, a new trend has been pushing us at Paso Wine Barrels and it’s no wonder folks have incessantly asked us if we sold just the barrel staves. We do now and thought we could offer some ideas for what can be done with the easy-to-work with hardwood.

Candle holder - click on pick for a closer look and a link to make your own.

Candle holder – click on picture for a closer look and a link to make your own.

The structure and quality of these unique pieces of oak are remarkable. The used wine barrel stave is distinctive for their curves and tapered ends. This allows making almost anything with them, ever-so inimitable and different. Staves made into furniture is becoming all the rage, but one of the most popular and simple ideas is as a candle holder. You can find these products already made, but they may set you back at least $50 or more online and in specialty stores, they can run up to $100. I’ll not go into the how-to’s here, however, click on the picture to find out how to make your own candle holder.

Simple, fun idea

Wine_Barrel_SignsAnother idea is a stave as a sign. The ideas for a sign are too numerous to consider, but regardless, the exclusivity involved in using a barrel stave as a sign, offer any quote, name or whatever you’d like as an example of matchless signage that will always be the talk of friends, family or colleagues.

To get a bit more involved but staying simple for the most part, coat racks are something that can be useful as well as distinguishing. While it may be a bit eclectic – not a bad thing – coat racks are surprisingly easy to put together yourself. And for your viewing pleasure, because I know some of you relate to videos more than written instructions, here’s a video on how to make a simple coat rack from a wooden barrel stave.

Cool-looking chairs

Still one more way of many that has gained popularity is using barrel staves for creating a chair. Whether it’s a stool, a rocking chair, possibly a Adirondack patio lounge or even a bar table, the look is extraordinary. The natural curves of the staves allow for an almost innate design that is comfortable and stylish at the same time. The burgundy tone on the insides of the staves offer a one-of-a-kind look that can’t be imitated. Even white wine staves offer a golden hue not easily duplicated. Here are some examples of stave chairs, if you’re not into making it yourself.


If you want to go to the extreme of buying your own used barrel and take it apart for use in multiple arts and crafts, although the information is a few years old, this site gives you the inside scoop for disassembly.

White oak’s wear-resistance is exceptional, so these products can be used inside or out. If you’re going to sand and stain them (which probably includes a sealer), they will last that much longer and indoors, that could mean indefinite.

Whether it’s staves for furniture or the many other ideas including such items like foot stools, end tables and wine racks to mention a few more, you can’t go wrong with this hottest trend. I’ve only touched on suggestions for what barrel staves can be used for or made into, but I hope this helps. Now get your used wine barrels staves!

And hey, do you have an idea for used wine barrel staves? Let’s hear it.


Daryle W. Hier




American Oak Like French?

For those who pay attention to the nuances of wine barrels, it can be almost daunting as to the who, what, where and hows, let alone which kind of barrel to use. Winemakers are always trying to get that advantage over the other to make the next great wine. The type of oak barrel can be that differentiation that vintners are looking for.

Wine barrel staves

Wine barrel staves

I talked to a winemaker a couple months back and he said his mind spins when considering the array of different oak barrels that are available. There is of course wood from the forests of France, but also barrels are produce from oaks of Eastern Europe. Then there is American oak, which can be generated from the Midwest, Appalachia and the Pacific Northwest. Missouri is probably the leading state for production of white oak.

To make things more complex, cooperages, in conjuncture with winemakers are combining the dissimilar white oaks from different states to produce yet even more differentiation. Now you can see why the aforementioned winemaker’s brain is spinning like a top.

Vintners generally think the difference between European and American oak is the tighter grain that oak such as French have over American, allowing the French oak to offer a more subtle degree to wine while American barrels impaired a more oak-based spicy and vanilla texture to wine. That may not be exactly correct.


Now, an interesting article just came out (source: Coeur d’ Alene Press), suggesting that winemakers may be able to produce French-like results using American oak. Without going into the nuances of making wine barrels, certain cooperages are leaving the staves out to dry over at least a couple years time. This outdoor drying after toasting gives off less of an oak taste to wine – in affect doing the same thing to wine as the tighter French oak does.  For more specifics, go to the sourced story linked at the beginning of this paragraph.

Stacks of staves drying in a kiln

Usually staves for a wine barrel are dried in a kiln.

If indeed coopers can make an American wine barrel process wine the same way French barrels do, may this change the purchase habits of wineries?  French barrels are more expensive than American so this could have been a huge issue if it weren’t for the fact that this new procedure is more time consuming and therefore loses the cost effectiveness of buying American oak barrels.

As we learn along the way, it becomes apparent that making wine is an ever-evolving process with every part of crafting a wine refined, changed and just plain blown up as ingenious winemakers continue to alter the methods of winemaking.


Daryle W. Hier

PS: Check out our May Special – Get the world’s best with an incredible value if ever there was one.




Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel – Finished

Sneak peak on a special order – Part 5

As you may recall, the product that we started with was almost unrepairable.  One end of the old wine barrel had been sitting in dirt for a time and that included mud at some junctures, which in-turn started rotting the wood on the end of the staves.  The owner was willing to go along with whatever was needed so we went to work.

We decided early on that the one bad head or cap would have to be the bottom of the barrel and we would add an extra layer of wood to beef up the barrel.  We struggled a bit getting the old stain off because it’s a bit sticky and gooey when being sanded.  Another issue with the sanding was the uneven surface caused in part by the staves being rotten, which didn’t allow each stave to have equal strength or hold together very well.

By the way, when we say ‘we’ we’re mostly talking about Ron who did a vast majority of the work on this project barrel.

We overcame the extra work and now the staining and sealing we’re next.  Of course prepping is in order first and as we stated, one of the more tedious jobs to do.  The owner of the barrel asked for a darker look which we’ve done before and call leather.  Then it was onto the hoops, which would be painted burgundy.  Everything went well until we decided there was too much pitting and redid one band.

That led us to now, where we cleaned up the barrel by giving the bands a quick buffing.  We looked over the barrel and touched up anything we thought wasn’t right but the owner thought it looked great so we were done.  We should add, the weather was cold and wet at the end of this project making conditions, well, let’s just say a bit of a pain.

Two barrels

BLOG STORY SPECIAL – Ask for these two barrels and receive $100 off the sale. (see below for more info)

Although this was someone else’s cask that we worked on along with being a barrel we wouldn’t normally recraft – hopefully this little five part story offers some insight into what we do to each product we work on and the lengths we will go to make it right.

In the future, Paso Wine Barrels will offer other stories of our work and business as we move along.  If you ever have any questions about wine barrels whether they’re ours or not, ask us and we will try to tender an answer.

As they say in wine country, ‘Saluti’ – or as we say Salootie Patootie!

Ron and Daryle Hier




BLOG STORY SPECIAL – Ask for the two barrels shown in the story above and receive $100 off the sale.  Click here to email for details.


Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel – Stain And Prep

Sneak peak on a special order – Part 3

Taking a dilapidated old wine barrel and making it look better than new is a challenge when it has an end of it that is rotten – as we stated when we started this project.  Plus the wine barrel had previously been stained and painted which made the work all that more tedious.


There are at least two bands left on a barrel at all times while staining and sealing.

Now we take the barrel and remove some of the hoops off so we can stain and seal using a darker stain than we normally apply.  We call this color leather because it gives the wine barrel the look that it is encased in leather.  As we go along, we move some of the hoops (or bands) off and replace them with others to keep the barrel together, waiting between times to let the stain and sealer on the barrel dry.

And we should note ever so importantly that we can’t take all the bands off or the barrel would come apart and that isn’t a pretty thing to have happen – think of the funniest comedy scene you’ve ever saw.  Yes, we’ve been there and don’t want to do it again.

Now that we have the barrel stained, we will need to prep the barrel with the hoop bands on it and ready the bands for paint.  Again, we will use burgundy on this one which makes it meld into the barrel for a more subtle look.  The owner of the barrel wanted that particular kind of appearance.  By the way, go to our poll and give your opinion of what color you think would look the best.


The bands are in place and prepped with paper and tape used to keep the band paint off the wood.

Having had a classic restoration business, we know all too well how much time and effort goes into prepping, which is one of the most unrewarding jobs to do.  We use the county rag (San Luis Obispo Tribune) for cover – it has to be good for something.

We will paint next and then let dry before buffing and shining it up a bit.  You can see how that goes with what should be our last installment of ‘Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel’.

Salootie Patootie!

Ron and Daryle Hier





Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel – Stripping Stain

Sneak peak on a special order – Part 2

When we started this project (go here), one end (or head as it’s called) of the wine barrel was rotten in places due to sitting in mud on and off through the years.  It wasn’t repairable beyond placing another piece of wood over it while sanding and grinding most of chime off – the chime is the end of a stave beyond the head.


Ron points to the uneven surface that made sanding more difficult. And note the rotten area at top filled in with new wood.

Sometimes you receive a barrel that has already been worked on and might have paint or some other stain on them.  Such was the case with this barrel.  It had paint on the hoops (bands) and the wood had been stained.

Subsequently, the next process was to strip the paint and stain off the barrel so we can have a decent surface to sand, restain in this case, seal and paint on both the hoops and the wood.

More work than usual

The hoops took quite a bit of sanding on to strip off all the old paint.  Note that the stain clogs up our sandpaper more than usual, bogging down the process; plus, sealer isn’t easy to sand off – it’s sticky.  Additionally, the wood was harder than normal to sand because it was uneven because the deteriorated ends of the staves made it difficult to bring back to a flush surface.

We prevailed for the most part but if the barrel wasn’t perfectly even, that was okay since it added character – common with any of these unique pieces – which the owner of the barrel was more than fine with.


Barrel sanded

Next up after the sanding, will be prepping – a tedious chore – and then application of the stain and sealer.  We will stain the wood surface with a darker than normal color, add sealer and then paint the hoop bands burgundy.

Stay with us as we show you additional progress on this special order dealing with a very old and decrepit wine barrel.

Salootie Patootie!

Ron and Daryle Hier





Recrafting An Old Wine Barrel – Bad Bottom

Sneak peak on a special order – Part 1

Old rotten barrel end

Looks bad? It is and some of the ends of the staves are all but gone.

Not all old wine barrels are created the same.  Certainly that can be the case when barrels are left to rot.  Such was the case with this wine barrel that the owner wanted renewed as one of our recrafted and renovated Decorative Wine Barrels.

Still, not all old wine barrels are recraftable – did I just make up a word?  This barrel was in the dirt for many years.  A cap or head on one end of this barrel is rotten (from sitting in mud when it was wet) with almost nothing left of the ends of the staves to keep the head in the barrel.  This barrel will have to have a top and bottom with this being the bottom. We will put an extra piece of wood to cover the cap. This is a special order we’re doing because the owner wanted this barrel.

We will sand, seal, stain the one cap on this barrel with extra sealer so that it might last many more years sitting in the owner backyard.  Also, this particular barrel will be coated with a special tint that we call leather, which gives off a much deeper and darker look to the barrel.


You can see much of the beveled edge, which is called the chime, is essentially gone.

Click on the pictures to get a blowup of what we’re talking about.  Stay with us as we show you additional progress on this special assignment.

Salootie Patootie!

Ron and Daryle Hier