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Apologies if this has been nailed down before. 

The sizes of barrels and butts etc are established, and for that I am grateful. However, my trivial point is this: what width were the staves?

In other words, how many staves would a barrel/butt of a given size have in the 18th - 19th century? I cannot imagine it was not subject to rules then as it is now, but were the rules the same?

A modern whiskey barrel of 200 litres/55 gallons has between 31 and 33 staves. Wiki searches give a lot of good info on the dimensions of casks etc but (unless I am overlooking something) the staves are not covered. Considering the number of different woods used and the world wide nature of the industry it would not surprise me to find there were several standards, so to summarise, does anybody know where to start?


Below is a copy and paste of an MSW post 

... that seems to be the final word on dimensions and helps with identification of the different sizes of containers.


" The height of a 'barrel', for example is the cube root of (54 raised to the third power times 150/36). This gives a height for the barrel of 34 inches and a diameter of 22 inches. Here are the values for the others:


Leager         150 gallons   54" high x 36" diameter

Tun              220 gallons   61" high x 41" diameter

Butt              110 gallons   49" high x 32" diameter

Hogshead      54 gallons   38" high x 25" diameter

Barrel            36 gallons   34" high x 22" diameter

Rundlet          16 gallons   25" high x 17" diameter


These are rounded of and not very accurate, but since there were no real 'standards' they are good enough for me. You might want to compare this with the picture Ron showed for various containers. Now I can make my own 'barrels'."


Any thoughts?






A model shipwright and an amateur historian are heads & tails of the same coin

current builds:

HMS Berwick 1775, 1/192 scratchbuild; a Slade 74 in the Navy Board style

Mediator sloop, 1/48 - an 18th century transport scratchbuild 

French longboat - CAF - 1/48, on hold

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Well, taking the dimensions for a leager above: the width of a stave at the widest point is 3.65" for a 31 stave cask and 3.48" for a 33 stave cask.

The difference of 0.17 inches is not great. I would think that any cooper would try to economize by using as few staves as possible.





Laissez le bon temps rouler ! 



Current Build:  Le Soleil Royal

Completed Build Amerigo Vespucci

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