Barrel Kamado AD02 certificate
To start we have drilled each stave for the screws with a 2.5mm drill through the galvanised steel hoop and through the 30mm of French white oak.
Then we drill the steel hoop (again) with a 5mm hole to allow the screw to pass through the steel.
Next we countersink each hole to remove any burr.
We are now ready to insert the stainless steel screws.
Because the staves are subjected to a wide range of conditions, unlike cellar environments, we need to ensure the integrity of the barrel. Every stave is screwed at least four timea and sometimes as much as eight. Each stave is unique so the spacing of the screws follow the staves – this is not for show.
Oak is a timber species cherrished in many cultures.
Along with history, tradition, longevity, steadfastness, durability, toughness, and strength; across centuries we’ve anthropomorphised the ‘great Oak’ tree and it’s timber believing it represents us and that our lives are inextricably linked.
In timber form, Oak is of course a hardwood. It is known for it’s golden yellowy-brown colouring but this has variations depending on origin and grade. The sap and heartwood are contrasting colours. The sap’s easy to see but is also a nice creamy colour and can be incorporated into projects if appropriate. The annual growth is strongly marked and the quarter sawn boards show a glistening flame pattern through the grain called Medullary Ray. Oak grain actually has an enormous range although technically documented as medium coarse. It is possible to find tight, narrow, straight, fairly smooth grain but also broad coarse and wild grain. Origin, age, soil properties, weather conditions… all these things contribute to the visual and mechanical properties of Oak.
Essentially Oak will stand the test of time..
Super Prime Oak
The term Prime has always been used to indicate the top grade of timber. Barrels chosen for a Barrel Kamado are made with Super Prime Oak.
Its criteria are used to verify the mechanical properties of a stave by visual means and seek to differentiate Prime graded oak as wood that is fit for a specific purpose, namely high-quality furniture making. Bordeaux Barrels go a step further and use Super Prime Oak.
In this way, the grading of Prime timber is about what is allowed within a stave outside of straight grain, even colouring and good quality wood husbandry.
In Prime Oak, it is allowed to have one inter-grown knot* up to 20mm diameter or several small knots up to a 20mm combined diameter. One small bark pocket is allowed. Small sap bands are allowed – the French convention of ‘one in, one out’, the underlying principle is to provide a ‘fair measure’.
Prime Oak colouring is relatively even but for particular consistency of colour, the best method of selection is to choose boards absolutely from the same origin, and ideally from the same boule.
It is with pride that we have to admit, Super Prime French White Oak has superior qualities that cannot be replicated by other grades or timber species. For this, we are grateful as it is a pleasure to work with, a pleasure to select handmade barrels, and a thrill to see them in the finished Barrel Kamado.
First look inside.
Cutting open a barrel is both a shame and joy at the same time. The shame is we are cutting into a barrel, that to me at least, is like picking a flower or breaking a beautiful pot.
The joy is when a rush of wine and oak aromas take over the whole room. Heaven, I so wish I could bottle this and send it to you. No one has seen the inside of this used wine barrel until now.
Unlike a broken pot this goes on to be a thing that is an object of desire – and unlike the picked flower goes on to live another day bringing pleasure to you, the pit-master and your friends and family.
Internal forms complete the base.
A few stages on, we see the dense refractory (rated at 1600°c) at well over 100mm thick. In addition, there is surrounding the firepit, several layers of insulation. Designed to withstand the heat of a charcoal fire. The fluting at the top pf the firepit support the heat deflectors whilst allowing the fire to breath.
Here are the final stages of the build.
We thought you might like a few of the early pictures taken during your BK construction. It is very unlikely that anyone will ever again see the inside of the barrel before we make it into a Kamado. I like the idea of knowing when and where it was made. Because there are several different skills and processes involved there is not a single craftsman more of a team effort. The team at the time of build is also included at the end of this section.