From log to staveAGEING
Only 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
The “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.