Independent Stave Company - A Field of Staves at Kentucky Cooperage, Lebanon, Kentucky

Expertly crafting American White Oak (Quercus alba) from log to finished barrel is an age old craft. The road from the forest to finished barrel is quite an exacting journey. In our last story Independent Stave Takes Us on the Journey from the Log Yard to Barrel we talked about how logs are harvested in the forest and delivered to the stave mill. This latest story takes those logs and converts them into staves before moving on to the cooperage.

Employees at any one of Independent Staves six company-owned stave mills take the high-quality white oak logs and processes them into rough staves utilizing 100% of the log. Material that cannot be used for staves is converted into a variety of natural products such as chips, mulch, and sawdust. Nothing is wasted.

The finished product – a rough stave – is cut with exact specifications to give our cooperage’s the opportunity to make world-class oak barrels without unnecessary wood loss during the process.

Making a Rough Stave

The journey from log to rough stave begins at the log deck. Logs are processed into bolts, quarter bolts, and finally rough staves.

Each stave and heading piece is individually inspected and stacked according to its intended use. Finally, quality control technicians inspect the material ensuring each piece meets quality standards before it is sent to our Missouri Cooperage or Kentucky Cooperage for drying and conversion into barrels.

Independent Stave Company - Stave Mill Manager Mike Knudson
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Independent Stave Company Stave Mill Manager Mike Knudson.

Q: What role does technology play in the stave mill?

A: “All ISC stave mills – like Morehead Wood Products – focus on continual improvement. We consistently implement improved technologies and processes. Our proprietary technology is built by in-house engineers specifically for crafting quality bourbon staves which translates into quality bourbon barrels. This industry is all about integrating the latest technology with traditional craftsmanship – at the end of the day, our staves are still crafted by people.”

~ Stave Mill Manager, Mike Knudson, Morehead Wood Products

Related Stories
Independent Stave Takes Us on the Journey from the Log Yard to Barrel 

The Journey from Forest Harvesting to Barrel

Independent Stave Company offers wooden barrels of different sizes and species for all your distilled spirits needs. Visit the ISC Barrels website here to fulfill your barrel quest.

Barrels for the World’s Finest Spirits
Find the Perfect Match Here.

Independent Stave Company – A Barrel to Fit Your Spirit. We’ll help customize your barrels with our wide range of options.

  1. Classic Whiskey Barrel
  2. Cooper’s Select Barrel
  3. Cooper’s Reserve Barrel
  4. Small Batch Barrels
  5. Finishing Products

Ready to Get Started on your Barrel Journey? Let’s Talk

Contact: Chad Spalding, ISC Account Manager
Phone: 270-692-4674

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