Sunday, February 01, 2015

Bucket of bungs.

New French oak barrels come with rough hewn oak bungs, held securely in the bung hole with a disc of cotton or hessian, which are generally discarded (in favour of silicone bungs for barrel aging).  I salvaged a bucketful of these bungs that were being thrown away at TWWIAGE.  Why, you might ask?  Because they make great kindling, that's why.  There is no better wood to start a fire with, on a cold winter's night, than wood from 200 - 300 year old trees that has been air-dried for up to 48 months.  It's my own version of toasting oak.
Most of the trees that are felled for the production of French oak barrels (predominantly Quercus sessiliflora and Quercus petraea) come from a handful of forests (e.g., Allier, Limousin and Tronçais) that were planted during Napoleonic times for shipbuilding.  Call me old fashioned, but I always feel warm and toasty when I think that some of the wood intended for the French navy meets its Waterloo in my hearth.  Ouch!
And happy St. Trifon's Day everyone!


Thomas said...

Great use of the bung stoppers.

When I took out six acres of vines, I cut the locust posts into small pieces. It gave me firewood for a few years--fantastic hardwood burner.

The only problem was how quickly the wood wore down my chain saw blades.

Dennis Tsiorbas said...

Thomas; worn-out saws happens here when old barns built from American Chestnut are reused and fitted.
VG: Again a great photo of simplicity and texture; reminds me of the descriptors of wine.

Thud said...

Hating the French....kept us warm for hundreds of years.

Vinogirl said...

Tomasso: Locust is very hard, right? Recycling at its best!

NHW: Thank you. Yes, I can almost taste French oak simply by looking at the photograph.

Thud: And we do it so well :)

Thomas said...


Locust is very hard, yes. Impervious.

Thud: the French made it easy for you, no?

Thud said...