Sunday, August 12, 2012

How times have changed.

Wow,  it has been a while since I last blogged.  The wine barrel home decor business has been steadily growing and my hobby has now become a two persons business for my wife and me.  We love working together and feeding off each others creative minds, which has lead us to  more, and better product offerings for our customers.  It is amazing what we have learned and how we have grown in the past couple of years. Stay tuned...there will be more to come and it won't take us two years to blog again :). Have a great week and God Bless.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cooler Weather!

It was a very hot August for us here in North Texas. With 18 straight days of temperatures reaching over 100 degrees it was hard to work out in the garage. Now that the temps have cooled off a little I've been able to start clearing out my work space and preparing for the busy holiday season. While cleaning out I've started looking at the barrel staves and thinking about some new items to create and add to my listings.

The first was a simple clock. A 2" clock was inserted into the end of a barrel stave. I believe it will look great on desks and shelves. It is about 6" tall and shows the end of the stave. Some future versions may include the strapping.

Another new item is a two hook rack that has the cork hole in the wood and custom strapping added. This was originally requested over the summer as a custom order and I decided to add it to my collection.

One of my largest selling items is the key rack. Buyers seam to love the rugged look of the cast iron pegs and strapping. I expanded on this and combined a coat rack with the key rack. I also added a little hidden shelf the fills in the void left from the curve of the stave. This allows a space to put items like wallets, coins, cell phones, etc. Larger cast iron pegs are used to give plenty of support to hang a coat or purse. The smaller iron pegs are added above them to hang items like keys and still allow access to them if there are larger items hung on the larger pegs. Strapping was added to enhance the look of the barrel stave.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Using The Whole Barrel!

I finally have been able to use the entire barrel! I went back and forth on what to make of the barrel heads. Since I only get two of those per barrel I wanted to make sure I knew what I was going to make and how I was going to make it!

I was a little surprised when I took my first barrel apart and the barrel head came apart as well. I don't know why I expected it to be in one piece of be glued together.

I did a lot of research on the best way to to glue together the barrel head and watched a video on the proper techniques for clamping the wood together after it was glued. I'm glad I did because I would have never known that the biggest mistake people make is clamping the wood to tight! Who knew you could clamp it to tight? When you clamp it to tight you press all the glue out of the middle and don't leave enough to make a proper bond.

After much research I decided that Gorilla Wood Glue was the best. I went to Lowes to get the wood glue, clamp and lazy susan bracket. What a mess! I went straight to the glues but couldn't find the Gorilla Wood Glue. I asked the associate that worked in the area and he claimed the they didn't make "Gorilla Wood Glue" just "Gorilla Glue." I looked around some more and above the glues I saw a box that said "Gorilla Wood Glue" I took it down and opened it to find a new display of Gorilla Wood Glue. Now that I had my glue I was off to get a clamp and the lazy susan bracket.

The clamp was easy to find but he lazy susan bracket was another search. It took two associates and going back and forth between hardware and the kitchen area to finally find what I was looking for. It was in a box on the bottom of a shelf hidden behind a floor display! What was going to be a quick run into Lowes turned out to be about 30 minutes. At least now I know where everything is for future purposes.

Now I had to pick out what barrel head I was going to use first. Only one barrel head has the stamp of where it came from burned into it. I decided to use one without the stamp for my first lazy susan. I glued it together and let it dry for about an hour. I then removed the excess glue and sanded the top, bottom and sides smoothing out the rough edges. I applied a Red Oak stain to the barrel head and let it dry in the sun.

Lowes offered two different lazy susan brackets. I choose the large 12" circle over the 9" square. It has a lower profile and with the barrel head being 23" across I figured the lower profile and larger bracket would make a more stable lazy susan. I attached the bracket and put some felt pads on the bottom of the bracket to prevent scratching if placed on a table top. I must admit I've happy with the end product!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finally...the cross!!

Since I started working with wood I've been trying to figure out how to make a cross from the used wine barrel staves. After going back and forth and some much needed advice from my better half I finally made my first cross.

It's not hanging on our cross wall in our house and I'm ready to make some more!
I've seen other people creating furniture and candle holder out of used wine barrels but this is the first cross I've seen. I know..there may be some issues with making a cross out of wine barrels, but Jesus did make wine out of water!!
I've been so busy making inventory for upcoming craft shows that it really felt good to get back to creating something unique and new. Now to decide if this is something I should make some more of and take with me the craft shows.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On the net!

I'm honored to be featured on an Interior Designers blog!

This is the second interior designer to find one of my items and put them on their blog!

With both of them choosing the "Eco-friendly" benefit of my products it has inspired me to try a true eco-friendly version by using coffee for a stain and soy tea lights.

Spark of Inspiration!

One day while browsing through my normal internet sites I came across a candle holder fashioned from a stave us a used wine barrel. I thought that it looked simple enough to make and with our connections into the wine industry I'd try it out. I order my first batch of staves to see how hard it would be and as I thought it wasn't a problem at least so I thought.

The problem wasn't making the candle holder - it was all the ideas that came into my mind once I held the wood in my hands. I only ordered ten boards and before I could even think of making all the different styles I was out barrel staves. I had to order and additional 10, then 12, then 20...I finally started purchasing whole barrels from a local winery. That has allowed my creations to flow and provided me with a more consistent quality of wood.
Keeping with a unique look I've added barrel strapping to some of the staves, cut some down to offer different looks. It seems to be those finishing touches that is making my items stand out.

This candle holder was cut down to 28" from 35" and holds 5 votives. The strapping was hand cut and tacked back on to give it that original barrel look.

I'm also finding that providing the completed package with tea lights and votives a HUGE help in my sales.
Now...if only I could walk through a store without thinking "I could us that!"