Whiskey Dog

Debra got a bunch of whiskey barrels for the garden a few years back.  They smelled strongly of alcohol when I set them out.  But wood rots over time, especially when it’s sitting out in the open and filled with dirt, keeping it moist so the bugs and fungus can do what they do.

I pulled all 10 whiskey barrels out of the garden back in September.  Most of them were so badly rotted that I just threw the wood in the shredder and then used the resulting chips for mulch.  But the staves from three of the barrels, and parts of several others were sufficiently intact that I saved them to be used for carving wood.  Here’s the stash:


The staves are approximately 16 inches long, one inch thick, and vary from one to five inches in width.  The outer layers (about 1/16 inch) are a bit crumbly (especially on the inside of the barrel).  The wood inside of that varies:  some of it is very soft and other parts are very hard, as you would expect oak to be.  I carved a few hair sticks from one piece over the weekend, and was happy enough with the result that I thought I’d try something else.

Stubby (named because he lost his tail in a freak coping saw accident) is about two inches tall, two inches wide, and an inch thick.  I cut the pattern out with the coping saw (I need to replace the blade on my bandsaw), and spent a couple of hours carving.  I’m pretty happy with the result:


I did most of the rough shaping with a utility knife, and the final detail with my detail knife.  There are a few things I’ll do differently the next time, but I’m very happy with the way this one turned out.

More pics in the gallery.

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