The term Prime has always been used to indicate the top grade of timber. Barrels chosen for a Barrel Kamado are made with the very best 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.