photo of inside of Forest Products Lab in Madison, WI
Inside the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wis., Engineer John Hunt, left, and Jubilee Flooring's Joe Triglia inspect old wine barrel staves straightened using microwave-drying technology. (Photo courtesy of USDA's Forest Products Lab)


photo of installed wine barrel flooring
The installed product.

Reclaimed wood flooring comes from all matter of sources: old barns, equine fences, railroad ties, pier pillars-the list goes on. All these materials are (relatively) flat, but what do you do when you want to reclaim a curved piece of wood like, say, a wine barrel stave? A few years ago, with a stock of used wine barrels in tow, Joe Triglia of Long Island, N.Y.-based Jubilee Flooring (www.JubileeFlooring.com) took on that very problem. After first trying a hot-press system-"… an old, antiquated process," Triglia says-he next visited the Madison, Wis.-based Forest Products Lab (FPL), part of the U.S. Forest Service, to experiment with a microwave drying process for straightening lumber. He spent about a week there and, to his satisfaction, discovered the process worked. He liked it so much that, over the next few years, he worked to patent the process, and he recently launched the ¾-inch solid Tannin Collection. "The cooper makes a barrel and scrapes the inside to release tannins, giving the wine an oaky taste," Triglia explains. "I straighten the staves and make the inside of the barrel the flooring face, exposing the cooper's original hand-scraping." While Triglia was initially thrown for a curve in his mission to straighten wood, with the backing of cutting-edge science, it now appears he's ahead of it.

Doug Dalsing is a former associate editor at Hardwood Floors.