From log to stave

AGEING   


Only 20% of the tree can be used to make barrels

De la grume au merrainOnly 20% of the tree can be used to make barrels.

The requisite criteria are :

● sufficient diameter,

● absence of knots,

● straight grain.

The parts of the logs that meet these requirements are said to be of “qualité merrain” (merrain quality: the word “merrain” in French designates wood split by hand for use as staves).

“Merrains” are split from the heartwood

Les merrains sont prélevés dans le bois de coeurThe “merrains” are split from the heartwood. The heartwood is composed of dead cells; it supports the tree, but no longer has any physiological purpose.

The “merrains” must follow the grain of the wood to achieve a watertight cask, so they are split rather than sawn.