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New woodworking projects made from old wine barrel wood

comments (0) September 26th, 2011 in blogs

CustomMade CustomMade Staff, contributor
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Flooring made from wine barrel wood. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Flooring made from wine barrel wood.

Would you like some wine with your dinner?  How about some wine with your dining table?

This custom dining table by Larry Golden was made from fermenting wine casks from the Adelaida Vineyard.

Custom Dining Table made from Wine Casks by Larry Golden at
Custom Dining Table made from Wine Casks by Larry Golden at

Wine connoisseurs, eco-conscious consumers, and anyone looking for an unusual custom furniture piece with an interesting backstory should take note of wine wood.  In its previous life, this reclaimed wood, usually in the form of cask and barrel staves, was used to flavor wine.  After an average of five to seven years, writes furniture maker Whit McLeod, the wood “has little or no beneficial flavor components left to impart to the wine, and the barrel becomes essentially a neutral container.”  Rather than letting this valuable resource go to waste, these artisans have given new life to this material with a unique history and an attractive, naturally colored appearance.

Cliff and Leigh Spencer of Cliff Spencer Furniture Maker work with sustainably harvested and reclaimed wood to create beautiful pieces like these wine oak modular cubes.

Wine Oak Modular Cubes by Cliff Spencer Furniture Maker, available at
Wine Oak Modular Cubes by Cliff Spencer Furniture Maker, available at

Watch this video where Cliff and Leigh discuss sustainability and furniture making.  What is “wine oak?” The artisans 'fess up:

Okay, we made up the name. It isn't a tree you've never heard of.  You can see throughout the site, that Cliff likes to discover and use reclaimed wood. He couldn’t resist when he heard about a Napa winery discarding wine-stained oak. He now regularly reclaims oak staves from California wineries and transforms them into one-of-a-kind pieces for residential and commercial use.  White Oak is used during the fermentation process to impart flavor to wine. This is more mass production, where oak “staves” are put into stainless steel vats, rather than wine being aged in traditional oak barrels. The ½” thick staves are stained through and through by the grapes. The Pinot Noir makes for the darkest stain while the Pinot Grigio leaves the lightest. There is no “stain” used here, besides the wine.  It arrives coated with sugars and wine solids. Yes, the shop smells like a winery during the processing, but all but a slight pleasant remnant goes away by the time it’s finished.

This strong and comfortable wine barrel chair by Whit McLeod Furniture is made of discarded barrel staves and “folds as flat as a comma.”

Folding Wine Barrel Chair by Whit McLeod Furniture at
Folding Wine Barrel Chair by Whit McLeod Furniture at

Barrel staves aren’t the only wine wood materials that Whit utilizes.  Look at this striking reclaimed hex wine barrel end flooring.  Whit writes: “In a patent pending process, I've developed a novel way to manufacture hex parquet flooring from round wine and whiskey barrel ends.  Edges are tongue and grooved to National Oak Flooring Manufacturers standards.  I retain the brands and logos on the flooring.”

Reclaimed Hex Wine Barrel End Flooring by Whit McLeod Furniture at
Reclaimed Hex Wine Barrel End Flooring by Whit McLeod Furniture at

Provenance is part of the appeal and character of reclaimed wood, not to mention a part of our history, and Whit strives to preserve and promote this information on his website.  You can read about the history of the wine woods he’s rescued, the process of making barrels and casks, and the techniques used to work with these recycled resources.

Custom barnwood.  Logs recovered from rivers.  Trees felled by lightning.  You can add wine wood to the ever-expanding list of reclaimed wood “species” that you can use in your next custom furniture project.  Wine wood will certainly give new meaning to “vintage furniture.”

This article is by, the internet's largest marketplace for custom made goods. 

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