SO, HOW DOES ONE BUILD THE WORLD’S LARGEST CHERRY WOOD WINE BARREL?
This question immediately came to mind when friend and client Bob Fanch asked me to design and build a wine tasting room in the form of a true wine barrel. It was to be approximately 16′ long by 12′ wide with an adjoining wine cellar approximately 26′ long by 15′ wide.
The wine cellar was easy enough because I know Bob likes ‘old-style woodwork’ and I know the facility I was designing for (Devil’s Thumb Ranch of Tabernash, Colorado) is based on a ‘Settler Style’ and is intended to conform with and compliment the architecture of the valley it is situated in. With that information, I designed a cradle type cellar of timber and hand crafted wood work. I will get back to that later, but for now, let’s discuss the evolution of the wine barrel.
Because I wanted the barrel to be an authentic representation of an actual one, I started out by researching the dimensions and proportions of wine barrels being produced throughout the county. Eventually I was able to receive a spec sheet from a manufacturer showing all the information I needed.
Armed with this data I drew the plans for the barrel on AutoCAD and that is where the real fun began! I had to figure out how to shape and bend barrel ‘staves’ that were about six time larger than a standard sized one. Additionally, the staves normal thickness was just under an inch, which times six made mine around six inches thick. Knowing I could not practically use six inch stock for many reasons, I decided to faux the authentic look by making the tapered ends of each stave hollow, which also served to hold the internal hardware that was required to hold the barrel together, since the barrel ‘hoops’ were going to be decorative only.