The Original Whiskey Barrel Wedding Ring / by Steven Wyatt

Like most woodworkers, I have an appreciation for the whiskeys of the world.  Cooperage, that is the making of barrels, is an ancient woodworking tradition that is a critical part of creating a fine whiskey.  Naturally, all woodworkers seek to combine these passions in some way. The idea to use a spent whiskey barrel stave for small woodturnings is not mine.  Used Jack Daniels wood in particular has been available for small projects for quite a while.  However, the practice of using the material for rings is my creation.  

After some research, I was able to get my hands on some of the uncut, un-dimensioned Jack Daniel’s cask staves made of American White Oak, and from there the original whiskey barrel wedding ring was born. The bourbon and scotch themed ring quickly became the #1 favorite in my shop amongst customers, and this style has since been featured on many websites such as gizmodo.com , gq-magazine.co.ukringtoperfection.com , buzzfeed.com , and uncrate.com .

Distillery Options  

Once I secured a steady supply of the Jack Daniel’s barrel staves, I and my customers became obsessed with getting my hands on staves from other brands of whiskeys. Currently, I have over a dozen different distillery options to choose from to customize a whiskey barrel wedding ring:

 

Jack Daniel’s

Woodford Reserve

Four Roses

Stranahan’s

Pappy van Winkle

Old Rip van Winkle

Buffalo Trace

Angel’s Envy

Knob Creek

Jim Beam

Maker’s Mark

The Macallan

The Balvenie

Yamasaki

Hibiki

Hakushu

(March 18, 2017 Update):

Blanton's

High West

 

When ordering a whiskey barrel wedding ring, the default barrel stave is Jack Daniel’s. This is what will be used if a specific distillery is not specified in the “wood choice” section at checkout. Be aware that all of these barrel staves, regardless of source, will look very similar in color and pattern, as they are all charred American White Oak (I believe this is law, to be called bourbon (or in the case of The Macallan, scotch, which is aged in USED barrels, versus new barrels for bourbon) and only vary slightly in color from a light blonde to a dark caramel (the darker the stock, the closer that piece was to the charred part of the cask). Even scotch barrel rings specifically, which in the case of The Macallan or The Balvenie may be French oak or sherry cask, the appearance is essentially the same.  If you would prefer a darker or lighter piece of the cask, simply place your request in the “notes” section at checkout. I will do my best to accommodate this in your whiskey barrel wedding ring.

Each whiskey barrel ring will have something that is called ray fleck, which runs vertically to the grain of the wood. This is completely normal, and not a flaw in the wood, although to some it may look like the wood is somehow scratched. This is an unavoidable part of using oak! It will appear in your whiskey barrel wedding ring. 

Seen here, rather artistically I think, following the lines of the steel from the bottom right toward middle left.  See the light lines in the oak?  Ray fleck.

Seen here, rather artistically I think, following the lines of the steel from the bottom right toward middle left.  See the light lines in the oak?  Ray fleck.

 

There is one exception to the similar coloring and look of the staves in the whiskey barrel wedding rings: Angel’s Envy. This brand is unique in that after the whiskey is aged in the American White Oak casks, it is then finished in port wine casks. This will give the wood a brown/purple hue, which adds a more unique look to the standard whiskey barrel wedding ring. Because I am dedicated to preserving the wine stain in the ring, the wood must be cut a certain way that limits the size of rings using this stave to size 11.5, maximum.

A pair of Angel's Envy Bourbon (sherry cask finished) barrel oak wedding bands

A pair of Angel's Envy Bourbon (sherry cask finished) barrel oak wedding bands

 

NOTE: Your whiskey barrel wedding ring will NOT come with a certificate of authenticity.  Customers have been sourcing their own staves directly from the distillery of their choice for years now.  With the exception of scotch brands, who tend to be more stingy, no one has had any trouble getting their own wood.  You are welcome, even encouraged, to source your own wood from your own whiskey oak ring! 

 

Style Options

Any of the styles seen in my shop can be made with the whiskey wood. Here are examples of some of the more popular whiskey barrel wedding rings:

Beveled Cobalt Wooden Ring Lined with Bourbon Barrel oak

Beveled Cobalt and Whiskey Barrel White Oak Wood Ring

Beveled Cobalt and Whiskey Barrel White Oak Wood Ring

 

 

Cobalt Mokume-Gane Whiskey Barrel Oak Wood Ring

White gold mokume-gane flanked by cobalt, used whiskey barrel white oak interior.

White gold mokume-gane flanked by cobalt, used whiskey barrel white oak interior.

 

 

Black Ceramic Ring with Whiskey Barrel White Oak

Whiskey barrel oak flanked by practically unscratchable and non-conductive black ceramic.

Whiskey barrel oak flanked by practically unscratchable and non-conductive black ceramic.

 

If you’re not sure about which metal to choose to go with your whiskey barrel, check out this blog post I wrote about the comparison of metals I offer here. If you need help with other portions of the process to order your whiskey barrel wedding ring, I have a step-by-step guide here.

 

Don’t see your favorite distillery?

Even though I have a large selection of barrel staves to choose from, there are some I have not yet been able to acquire. If you don’t see a specific brand you want for your whiskey barrel wedding ring, I have had customers in the past have great luck with acquiring their own staves. If you would like to contact your favorite distillery, and have the stave sent to me, I would be more than happy to work with it! If you are able to get ahold of the distillery (via email or phone), I will provide a shipping address for them to ship it directly to me. Please note that it may take some time to receive an answer from a distillery, so make sure you contact them with plenty of time before you need your whiskey barrel wedding ring! Once I receive a stave and your order is placed, it will take about 4-6 weeks for me to complete, and ship your ring.