Frequently Asked Questions - Used Barrels

Should I choose a whiskey or wine barrel?


The choice is entirely personal preference! Many customers really love the rustic nature and appearance of the used whiskey barrels (or just love their whiskey!). Other customer prefer the newer and cleaner look of the wine barrels. Or just love their wine!


In either case, you will be getting barrels that meet the requirements defined below, and your satisfaction is guaranteed!


What does Mystic Barrels look for when sourcing whiskey and wine barrels?


Used barrels are available in all sorts of different conditions. We have established strict criteria for the barrels we source and make available to you. The barrels must meet the following criteria:


  1. Flat Heads - Many customers use the barrels as décor, tables, to put drinks or flower pots on, or to use in their own DIY project. Having flat heads is important for all of these cases. Therefore, we search far and wide to find barrels that have flat heads, and conduct additional sorting to ensure the barrels you receive are well suited for your application.


  1. No major cracks or defects - As you can imagine, barrels are put through a lot of rough handling, storage conditions, and transportation scenarios over the course of their life. Any of these stages can damage a barrel. We ensure the barrels you get are free from any major cracks or defects that would interrupt the barrel's usefulness for your home, business, event, or project!


  1. Freshly dumped barrels - A barrel seals itself by using the moisture of the product inside to expand the wood against the barrel hoops, and tighten the staves and head of the barrel against each other. Once the product is removed, the wood of the barrel can dissipate some of that moisture content.


When this happens the barrel the metal bands may loosen or fall, and the barrel may become structurally unstable. This is unacceptable for barrels we source! All of our barrels are freshly dumped, to ensure the barrel is structurally sound and ready for your application!


Read on to understand how to ensure structural stability of your barrel for years to come!


Is there anything I need to do to the barrel once I receive it? 


As described above, over time the wood of the barrel may dry out if placed in an area with low humidity, causing the hoops to loosen. To maintain the structural integrity of the barrel, we would recommend adding 3 or 4 screws through each of the metal hoops/bands around the barrel and into the wood of the staves.


Two options:


  1. Use self-tapping sheet-metal screws to drill through the hoops and into the barrel.

  2. Use a drill bit to drill a hole through the hoops. Use a nail or wood screw to secure the hoop to the barrel.


Prefer to receive your barrel with the hoops already fastened? No problem! Just contact us, and for a small fee, we will take care of it!



Can I leave the barrel outside? 


Like any wood or wood furniture, rain, snow, and other moisture can decay wood if left unprotected. If leaving the barrel outside, we would recommend keeping it under cover.


To add further product, consider coating the barrel in an exterior-grade polyurethane every year or two.



How do you clean or refinish a barrel? 


Some customers prefer to keep the barrels just the way they are, embracing their naturally rustic or refined appearance. Others prefer to clean up and stain their barrels. These barrels are perfect for either application!


Depending on the look you are going for, you can give the barrel a basic clean with a hose or pressure washer. Some deck-cleaner works well to remove some surface stains. To really get down to fresh wood, using a belt sander is really the way to go. After sanding, choose your favorite stain and sealer and you'll be good to go!



Any other questions, please feel free to contact us! 


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