This morning I received a phone call from a person interested in creating a hardwood floor for their wine cellar. They wanted something they considered unusual and asked could a wood floor be made from the wine barrels they had access to from a local winery’s excess old barrels. I said I suppose it could be done, however, once the barrel staves (slats) are separated it could be determined how to cut and achieve the maximum board yield for the flooring. I also wanted them to know that once that information was ascertained we could determine how many barrels would be needed. Her next question was did I think it was a worth while project and what did I think it would cost. Although I believe in customization of any wood flooring project, the cost has to be adequate based on the degree of difficulty and the intrinsic beauty that You the owner will get own. In this case, most barrels are made from rift and quarter sawn White Oak which is extremely beautiful! The aging and the wine barrel’s patina is as unique as the type of wine the barrel is used for. Also many winery’s use the grapes skin to rub on the outer barrels which creates a unique staining that also enhances the aging process and patina color.
I decided to make some calls and do some research on this idea. I was a bit surprised to find that this idea was not something new, like many ideas, it was thought of before. Several company’s I called and asked if they could give some information on their procedure for taking on this concept. Both company’s said they only tried it a few times and it wasn’t worth the effort to try and make a go at it for long term, basically because there wasn’t that many people who had wine cellars to began with. I totally understood this. But that wasn’t going to be an answer to give the customer that called. Several more calls were needed to get more technical info and currently I’m still waiting for those experts as I’m writing this six hours later. Now I’m more curious about this idea and I’ve found myself somewhat obsessed with what could some genuine thought about creativity be accomplished using old wine barrels.
Next step, I googled photographs of wine barrels for inspiration and then googled photos of wine barrel floors. There were plenty of photos to get the idea of what these floors appearance; age; color; etc. would look like and I will have to agree it’s an extremely beautiful character look and most fitting for a wine cellar or basement rustic style appearance.
As a floor craftsman and designer, I made my home office floors from three different wood species of old solid kitchen cabinets that I saved from the dump. The cabinet shop owner I met at a jobsite offered them to me during a customizing wood conversation we had several years ago. After looking at so many photos of barrels it occurred to me that perhaps I could get creative and I could really achieve something here. I started to focus on the barrel tops and bottoms! Of course they are round and I could easily square them off to make parquets or keep them round and place them side by side and fill in the voids with an unusual uniqueness. I will come up with some drawings for this customer and if she decides to hire me to create her wine cellar floor, I will post the project here. However, I think I’ll pursue this option purely from an opportunity to see what I can accomplish with these new found ideas!
Viola~ Look at this image I found which is a very beautiful Rhomb pattern made from wine barrel lids!