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Old 02-02-2008, 12:54 PM   #1
mickeypower
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Default Oak barrel - persistent leak

I've got a oak barrel that I've been soaking for months. It has a small persistent leak that just won't go. It seems to be a fissure within a slat, rather than between two slats.

I'm thinking there might be some kind of food-grade oil or something that I might apply externally... but I dunno. Any ideas what I could do to fix this?

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Old 02-02-2008, 01:45 PM   #2
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I had an old whiskey barrel that also leaked after soaking. I used a ball-peen hammer, and tapped/hammered on the leaking area. If tapping slows the leak, wait a day and tap some more. It should eventually stop leaking. It is one of those "art" things. If you tap too hard, it might leak somewhere else.

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Old 02-02-2008, 03:24 PM   #3
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What about brewer's pitch?
http://www.jastown.com/bulk/bp-293.htm

I've used it in oak water barrels to fix the same problem.

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Old 02-02-2008, 04:40 PM   #4
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I'll try the hammering trick, but I'd imagine to works for leaks between slats: mine is due to a fractured slat I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikegeek
What about brewer's pitch?
As I understand, brewer's pitch is used to line the whole inside of the barrel. I could do that... but am keen to keep the oak raw, for flavor etc. Unless I can apply it locally to the area that's leaking. Don't know if that is possible though..?
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeypower
Unless I can apply it locally to the area that's leaking. Don't know if that is possible though..?
I don't see why that wouldn't work...
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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OK I'll give pitch a try. I assume I heat it, pour through the bung hole, and swill around..?

P.S. I'm based in the UK - just found an interesting site here that sells it and a load of very interesting "traditional materials". See http://traditionalmaterials.co.uk/

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Old 05-08-2012, 06:48 PM   #7
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Found this thread cause I'm encountering a problem with my small barrel. The story goes like this:

I got a free 3 gallon oak barrel. Un-charred and really clean, never had anything in it. The only hoops it had were the ends, the two in the middle were missing and I suspected this would be an issue. I didn't worry too much about it and filled it with water to seal it up and just a few days later it was almost completely sealed except a tiny leak at the bottom where one of the staves was popping out pretty good.

I went to the store and picked up some galvanized hanging bands and bolts to make my own adjustable hoops. This worked too well as I squeezed the barrel too tight and one of the end bands popped off entirely! I have now frankensteined this thing back together and the only leak is the head where the band came off. I am still unable to get that end band on all the way and I suspect it will have to stay like that. I will have to post pictures later.

Anyway, I'm just trying to open up this thread again to see what anyone might recommend other than barrel pitch. I think I'm going to order some but how well is it at sealing bigger leaks? Can I apply it to the outside as well? I feel like if I just used the pitch both inside and out on the one end I will be good to go.

PS, I don't care how this thing looks, I got it for free and plan on putting in the basement for a while with beer in it so I have very little interest in buying another barrel at the moment. Eventually I want some 10 gallon barrels.

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