Of course, 100-200 years ago, wooden barrels had a wider application than now. Nowadays, they are used mainly for storing wines and other alcoholic beverages (for example, whiskey or cognac) and for various salts (for example, for pickling cabbage, pickling tomatoes and cucumbers, soaking meat before drying, etc.). One of the latest trends is the use of classic wooden barrels for interior decoration. Previously, such barrels were used for swimming. Now they are being ordered as a bath or shower cabin with some modifications for country houses, bathhouses, hunting lodges, etc.
The range of such specific products, oddly enough, is very wide, but the most common are oak barrels used in wine cellars, and barrels of various capacities for salting products. To open their own production of cooper's products, it is enough to have a suitable area for the workshop, as well as the necessary raw materials. Most likely, there will be no difficulties with either one.
The main thing is that you know all the intricacies of the production process and yourself have quite a lot of experience in the manufacture of wooden barrels. Coopers learn, as a rule, from masters who, for a fee, agree to take their students. There are also a few enterprises where such products are manufactured and where new employees are trained. Experts believe that it is possible to take up the manufacture of barrels for sale only after several dozen independently assembled products under the supervision of an experienced craftsman. Having gained some experience and knowledge, you can open your own workshop. Of the necessary materials you will need wood, metal hoops, special machines. Most likely, finding experienced coopers to work in your workshop will not be easy, and you will have to hire newcomers and independently train them in the wisdom of this craft.
Oak barrels are made from boards that are purchased from enterprises engaged in logging. The process of production of the barrel begins with planing the boards, giving them the necessary appearance and shape, as a result of which the so-called rivets are obtained. Rivets are called small boards of a rectangular shape with a pronounced texture. They are harvested from a specific wood species (which one depends on the purpose of the future product). It is from the staves in the literal sense of the word that a wooden barrel, tub or any other wooden product of a similar type is assembled. These wooden planks fit tightly together with metal hoops. For the highest quality barrels that have the longest service life, rivets are thoroughly dried for several months under a canopy in an open space. The whole process of manufacturing cooper products is carried out, like several centuries ago, completely by hand.
The dried rivets are sent to a special steam room, where with the help of steam they warm up and moisturize, as a result of which the wood becomes more flexible and can be given various shapes without risk of breaking. As mentioned above, a wooden barrel is created by fastening the rivets with hoops, and at first the hoops are attached only on one side, pulling the product together a little. Such a blank, fastened on one side, is called a "rose." The boards are carefully joined together, the product is given the desired shape (there are several dozen different types of shapes). The bottom is inserted and, if necessary, a cover.
After completion of the preparatory work, oak barrels are burned on an open fire for 30-50 minutes. For this, special bonfires are made in the cooper, on which the barrel body without top and bottom is put on. This stage is of great importance for the quality of the finished product. Specialists know that the degree of roasting a barrel for, for example, cognac or wine greatly affects the taste of the drink.
A good wooden barrel should be perfectly sealed. To give the seams of the oak barrel tightness at the junction with the bottom, as several centuries ago, modern masters use ... ordinary dough. Flour and water are bred in a certain proportion, which ensures complete tightness of the finished product. To seal the holes in the bottom use dry leaves of reeds. After processing the seams, oak barrels go through the final stage of production. On a special machine, the inner surface of the barrel is turned. Cooper removes temporary hoops, fixes permanent ones and sets covers. The finished wooden barrel is polished, polished and processed with special compounds, and then undergoes the mandatory tightness test procedure. To do this, pour liquid into the barrel. Then the product is tested on a special apparatus that shakes it with all its might. If after the test the wooden barrel did not let leak, then it is ready for sale.
Some manufacturers offer additional services for branding their products using a special laser, which applies labels and images (for example, logos) to wood.
Of course, if you care about your reputation and count on a large number of customers, then all products must be made according to state standards from high-quality wood species. Before going to production, the material undergoes careful selection and control.
The main buyers of such products are manufacturers of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in our country and abroad, manufacturers of canned foods, pickles and pickled vegetables, etc., as well as individuals.
To organize a business for the production of barrels and other cooperage products, about 50 thousand rubles will be required (if there is a suitable room for a workshop). Payback periods, due to the presence of demand for such products and little competition in this segment, are estimated at 2-3 months.
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