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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > wooden conical fermenter
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Old 10-07-2010, 09:44 PM   #21
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I was thinking that you were gonna make a conical like the way coopers build barrels, soak the wood, bend the wood, and hammer on some rings to hold it together. (I'm not a cooper, so I don't really know how they do it.)

It would look just like a barrel, but with the bottom coming to a point.

Just my thoughts...
Somewhat true, but they don't soak the wood though. The wood is cut in the shallow crescent shape and the wood-on-wood sides of the crescent pieces are planed perfectly smooth with a slight angle. Then, a building ring is placed on the bottom and they start building the sides of the barrel. Once through, they add the ends of the barrel and slide on perfectly fitting "red hot" barrels rings. They douse the rings with water once on to shrink them closing the barrel up tight. Then they drill the bung in the side and sell them. If a toast is needed inside the barrel, they do this over a smaller fire but inside the barrel before they add the ends, but while the barrel is in its barrel shape.

The problem with making a conical shape too skinny into the barrel design, would be no strength. The barrel was a superior transporting vessel due to how it was perfectly balanced in its construction. It basically fights against itself but isn't allowed to go anywhere due to the rings. Hard to believe they invented it so far back isn't it? Ahh, those Celts.... Not saying a conical couldn't be built, it just wouldn't be as tough as a barrel. My design would have a thicker wood bottom and allow for the barrel shape on the outside more-so than just using the same thickness, at least on the outside. The inside would be lathed perfectly to allow a bulkhead fitting to hold any valve you wanted to attach.
Ok, I took a guess how they did it, but you got the idea.

But would it need to be as tough as a barrel. I mean, it's pretty much gonna be filled and left to ferment most of the time. The only time it'll be moved around is when it's empty and being rinsed.
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:41 AM   #22
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I think homebeerbrewer has the right idea.
My first idea was to make it like some congas (= hand drums) are made, only longer and ending in almost a point.
Wine barrel construction:http://www.crafty-owl.com/cooperage.htm
Conga construction: http://www.instrumentpro.com/blog/archives/2005/04/22/latin-percussion-conga-construction-process/
You could reuse the staves of an existing barrel and adapt them to the size you want.

Some very little known facts:
Beer barrels where usually coated with a special resin on the inside. I have 2 recipes for the mix in an old brewing book written by Verlinden. I replicated the stuff many years ago, it imparts a really nice flavour to the beer and it should make the barrel easier to clean.
Beer barrels usually came with staves in 3 different wall thicknesses, depending on what they were going to be used for. I can't remember the details, but I have more info on that in the above mentioned book.

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Old 10-08-2010, 06:53 AM   #23
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See also:
http://www.drummercafe.com/forum/index.php?topic=5817.0

http://pdgood.us/handdrum/conga.html

Hoops could be used instead of glue of course.

With a conga shape you could get closer to an egg shape (amphoras where shape very closely to an egg shape as well), which is a very natural and beneficial shape for any natural process:
The egg shape represents natural harmony, life, birth, creation and potential. The egg shape preserves the energetic integrity of whatever objects or fluids are contained within it. Archaeological discoveries from Greece and Egypt have unearthed egg shaped containers used to store grain and seed. The 2,000-year-old grains from the Egyptian excavations have shown to still be viable! Greek amphorae are notoriously clumsy and difficult to transport, yet the ancients used this vessel shape (with a containment space structured like an elongated egg) to store olive oil, wine and other goods because the quality of contents could be maintained. This natural shape allows a consistent flow of energy to occur in fluids unhampered by the sharp angles of corners.
Conventional methods of water storage including rectangular plastics, cube shapes, giant cylindrical towers and standard cylinder bottles all contain sharp right angles which hinder the free flow of water’s energy. According to Austrian Water Wizard Viktor Schauberger, this stagnation is conducive to the formation of pathogenic bacteria and to water’s degeneration and loss of information. Schauberger observed this and discovered the best storage vessels were egg shaped.
Besides its shape, the material used in the construction of the egg is equally important. It has been determined that clay terracotta is the best material for water storage. Clay allows water to breathe and evaporate. This slight evaporation cools the water which then sinks down the walls of the egg and as it sinks, it forces water to rise up through the center and move out towards the walls. This process produces constant circulation and cooling, thus vitalizing the water.
Clay allows water to breathe and evaporate. This slight evaporation cools the water which then sinks down the walls of the egg and as it sinks, it forces water to rise up through the center and move out towards the walls. This process produces constant circulation and cooling, thus vitalizing the water.

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Old 06-27-2014, 04:41 PM   #24
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I've been thinking about this again, after enrolling in precision machining school and working metal on the lathe. Got me thinking that I would love to do this and have a souring barrel only upright. Hope to gain more discussion on the subject so my brain can work out the kinks. What say you forum? Any new ideas out there for me? Would solid wood work if I carved it out green? Would charring it green do me any good/bad? I'm open for any ideas.

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