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Leaky Barrel


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#1 SunDevil

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 09:10 PM

My wine club bought a reconditioned wine barrel from MoreWine last year. I remember we had problems getting it to stop leaking when we first used it. Unfortunately the club decided they didn't want the barrel anymore and I bought it for my own use. The former keeper of the barrel had it ozone treated then brought it home where it sat for 1 full day before I could get to it. I brought it home and filled it with sulfite solution and citric acid. I've been adding water to it the last several weeks but I can't seem to get it to stabalize. Since this is my first attempt to use one I have a few questions:

1. How do you repair a leaking barrel? Is it even possible?
2. How long should I keep adding water and sulfite before I call it quits and make planters out of the thing?
3. I just filled about 6 oz of solution into the barrel and its already down about a 1/4" to 1/2" below the oak. What is normal for a reconditioned barrel?

Any help or advice would be appreciated!

Thank you,
Sun Devil

#2 mokadir

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 09:50 PM

Do you see the leak? or are you just noticing the water absorbing into the wood?
Bob
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#3 SunDevil

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:24 AM

QUOTE (mokadir @ Oct 22 2009, 11:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Do you see the leak? or are you just noticing the water absorbing into the wood?



I don't really see a leak, the barrel is on a stand and its hard to see under it, I'm going to try to raise it in a few days so I can see the under side. One face of the barrel shows signs of leakage from the past (its red like wine) but doesn't appear to be wet or moist today. How long do you think it could take to seal up?
Sun Devil

#4 SunDevil

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 09:31 AM

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Sun Devil

#5 RSG

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    what if I just tweek it once more...

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 06:31 PM

Sundevil, you are inserting the bung after filling I assume? Leaving it open while trying to deal with a leak is a loosing battle.

How fast is it leaking and can you see any wet spots. My advice would be to first fill the barrel with water and some sulfite/citric acid (Just enough to stop bacteria). Then Bung it and let it sit for a day. Look at the barrel all around and see if you can find the leak. Most likey all that's needed is the head and quarter hoops re-seated but you'll need a hoop driver for that. Now that your a barrel owner you should have one anyway. If for some reasoon the leak is not just from loose fitting hoops you may need to go one step farther. Such as making some spiles and wedges from white oak. If it's an end grain leak you can cut a spile, chisle out a small crotch and hammer it into the end grain. If it's in a stave you will need to make a wedge. Chisel the hole and pound in the wedge. Cut it flush the shave with a plain. If you are not comfortable doing this I'd try to find a cooper close to you that can. There is no reason to throw out a leaky barrel.

Of course that's on the extreme end but judging by your pics it doesn't apear to be to that.

Oh, and one more thing, try filling with a gallon or so of hot water then set the barrel upright in more hot water in a tub for an hour on each end before filling. That works wonders.
Ron Gardiner

#6 bzac

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 10:16 AM

I would fill it with hot water and kmeta in the tub .(bung in
then add a bit of kmeta powder to the tub and fill the tub with hot water ,
let the barrel sit over night occasional rotating so the dry side gets wet.

this will swell the inside and out side of the seems. this has worked on 95% of my leakers.

the next day drain tub, let the barrel dry (still full) and look for leaks.
if this won't stop it , it needs some coopering.
depending on where the leak is, seating the head or driving the hoops tighter might be needed.

Z


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#7 SunDevil

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Posted 24 October 2009 - 08:29 PM

Thank you both for the advice...

I rolled the barrel last night and noticed some leakage on the under side. I'm going to empty the barrel (citric acid/kmeta solution) tomorrow and try to drive the hoops a bit see if that helps. I'm going to reuse the kmeta/acid solution and just fortify it with a bit more sulfite and water. Wish me luck!
Sun Devil

#8 RSG

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    what if I just tweek it once more...

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Posted 25 October 2009 - 11:54 AM

QUOTE (SunDevil @ Oct 24 2009, 10:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thank you both for the advice...

I rolled the barrel last night and noticed some leakage on the under side. I'm going to empty the barrel (citric acid/kmeta solution) tomorrow and try to drive the hoops a bit see if that helps. I'm going to reuse the kmeta/acid solution and just fortify it with a bit more sulfite and water. Wish me luck!

Sounds like a good plan SunDevil. A good alternative to a hoop driver is a piece of cold rolled steel bar approx. 2" x 1/2" about 8" long. Use a heavy hammer and start with one end of the barrel first. Start with the bildge hoop first and work your way around it and don't be shy with the hammer. Do the quarter hoop next then the head hoop.
Good luck wink.gif
Ron Gardiner

#9 SunDevil

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 02:45 PM

RSG,

Thank you for the advice, it was a adventure to say the least!

My dad has worked on barrels in the past so he was here to help. The first two nails I tried to pull I broke off the heads, my dad told me to use a pair of snip pliers to pull the nail not a claw. It work much better and we pulled the rest of the nails no problem. I then marked each hoops existing position and then began driving them down. It was much harder than I thought it would be. The steel I was using to pound the hoop down was soft so I had to grind it down to a flat surface after four or five whacks. I would highly recommend buying a hoop driver for anyone who plans on being a barrel owner. Also, buy a few spare hoop nails just in case. After driving the hoops down and renailing them I pumped back the water I had emptied out of the barrel and low and behold I lost about 1L of capacity! Very fun experience, lets hope it solved my problem.

Thanks

Here are a few pics to share just incase anyone is going through the same issues...

Attached Files


Sun Devil

#10 SunDevil

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 02:52 PM

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Sun Devil

#11 RSG

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    what if I just tweek it once more...

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 03:22 PM

Good for you SunDevil.

It's amazing how much the wood moves eh. It can shrink or expand depending on ambient moisture quite substantially. If you plan on keeping the barrel full you won't need the hoop nails.

Glad it worked out for you wink.gif
Ron Gardiner

#12 SunDevil

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 07:36 PM

wallbash.gif

Ok, thought I had the problem solved BUT...

It appears that I'm still loosing about 6 to 8 oz of sulfite/citric water a week. That is much less than my original amount but still unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. The barrel is stored in my basement which reads 65F and 50% humidity. I keep it in the coolest part of the basement, away from the furnace so I don't think it is evaporating 6oz a week, correct me if I'm wrong. Also, after soaking it well from the outside and leaving it alone for over a week I noticed that one of the heads appears to be leaking close to the bottom (refer to the top picture of my post from October 23rd). Any suggestions on plugging the leak? The guys from my wine making club told me that once I filled it up with wine it would stop leaking but I just find that hard to believe. Why would one liquid "plug" it but water and citric acid won't? Any suggestions on how to stop a head leak???

smileyhelp.gif
Sun Devil

#13 grapenuts

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 08:04 PM

QUOTE (SunDevil @ Nov 9 2009, 09:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
wallbash.gif

Ok, thought I had the problem solved BUT...

It appears that I'm still loosing about 6 to 8 oz of sulfite/citric water a week. That is much less than my original amount but still unacceptable as far as I'm concerned. The barrel is stored in my basement which reads 65F and 50% humidity. I keep it in the coolest part of the basement, away from the furnace so I don't think it is evaporating 6oz a week, correct me if I'm wrong. Also, after soaking it well from the outside and leaving it alone for over a week I noticed that one of the heads appears to be leaking close to the bottom (refer to the top picture of my post from October 23rd). Any suggestions on plugging the leak? The guys from my wine making club told me that once I filled it up with wine it would stop leaking but I just find that hard to believe. Why would one liquid "plug" it but water and citric acid won't? Any suggestions on how to stop a head leak???

smileyhelp.gif


I usually fill the barrel while the leaking head is face down. then flip it over so the head is face up and fill the top of the head with water. If all else fails, by the water proof epoxy.

#14 gregorio

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 10:06 PM

Hi SunDevil,
That is a lot of hoop movement! Unfortunately, the recooping process is not always perfect and some barrels will leak a lot. Can you find the source of the leak to plug it? Is it coming between the staves, at the chime, or through the wood in general? You might be able to drive a sharpened piece of hardwood in the leak or heat the wood and rub a paraffin block over the leaking spot.

Good luck,
Greg
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#15 Hammered

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 10:14 PM

I know it is a really inexact science, but sometimes just smacking the joint that leaks with a mallet will seat the joint and stop a leak. A really fine groove in line with another can cause a leak and adjusting them a bit could cure it. Just a thought.

Steve, Garagiste

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www.Catalyst-Manufacturing.com

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