On this pallet the two lower stretchers were made out of oak. The top of the pallet was some other type of hardwood that I haven't been able to identify yet.
Not surprisingly, I disassembled the pallet to save the wood.
The problem with the oak is that the nails had penetrated rather deeply into the wood.
There was something like 8" between the nail holes, so I tried to think of a small thing that could be made out of short pieces of oak.
There are of course many things that would fit in this category, but I decided that a small barrel similar to those depicted around the neck of a saint Bernard dog would be interesting to make.
Bertha will end up having the same size as a saint Bernard, so I see no reason why she shouldn't be able to have a small barrel of brandy fixed to her collar for taking a photo.
I have never tried my hands out on coopering, so this will be a journey into the unknown in that respect.
The diameter of the barrel will be such that I can make the ends from the oak as well, I am able to make a circular piece of 2.75"" in diameter. The barrel will be 7.25" in length and probably end up having a diameter on the middle of 3.75" That is if everything goes as planned.
I have read somewhere that if you split the wood for the staves, you can reduce the risk of the barrel starting to leak. This makes sense if you use some sort of ring porous wood. I think that oak is ring porous, so I am going to try to follow that advice.
After sawing my piece of oak into the lengths between the nail holes, I split the pieces using an axe.
After splitting I used my plane to flatten the individual staves a bit on the outside.
My first idea was to make them exactly the same thickness from the start, but I changed the approach and only flattened the outside and then I marked out the shape and used a hack saw to make the curved shape.
Once all the staves are done I'll try to plane them all to the same thickness.
So far I have experienced that splitting stock is not a guarantee for a flat piece of wood.
It might have something to do with the fact that the grain isn't the straightest on the wood that I have at hand.
Some of the staves that I had split also had cracks running the entire length down the middle, so far from all my staves could be used.
I am also beginning to suspect that there might be a reason for coopers to use special tools for their job, cause a regular smoothing plane with a scrub iron doesn't seem to be the most efficient tool so far for this project. (Not that such a thing has ever held me back)
Split staves before sorting.
Flattish and shaped staves.
The selection of stock.