What is a Stave?

Stave mills create the slats or narrow strips of wood that make up the sides of the barrel, called staves.  Pieces of those slats not used for the staves, are used in the production of the barrel head.  In addition, chips and dust are sold to local paper mills for the manufacture of paper and biomass energy; and to furniture manufacturers for the fabrication of composite furniture. 

There are several steps in the process of creating a stave.  Log buyers purchase the logs, we also purchase logs from local loggers who bring logs to our yard.  Only the finest white oak is used in the production of our barrels.

Once the tree is ready to be milled, the bark is removed.  The log is cut in half, and then in quarters.  We make sure the growth rings are in the right direction, as this provides greater stability for the barrel and insures that it is leak proof.

Once the tree has been quartered, the boards are cut into short and long pieces.  The long pieces become staves, the short pieces become the barrel heads. The staves are then planed, and milled.  The top and bottom of the stave is narrower at the ends than the middle; one single stave (the final stave) is shaped more like a trapezoid and is the center or widest part of the barrel.

Throughout the process the staves are air dried, because dry wood contains less tannin which can create bitterness in the product. There are several steps in the drying process.  From first cut to shipment to the cooperage takes 1-6 months.

We manufacture all of our own staves for the barrels we produce.