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I think one of the final stages in making wooden barrels is to soak the oak wood in water for a while and bend it to shape using the iron strap rings to hold it in place until dry. Probably tightening the strap (pounded toward center) several times per day until dry. The most critical dimensions would be the width of the wood around the top and bottom. This is so it ends up making a seal with the end piece yet be will be tight between the side boards. It could be that by initially making it so the end pieces are a little loose until it dries, then planing one of the boards down to just tighten the lid and bottom, is the way to go.

I have found the ratio of the max. width to min width for any given board to vary with board width. The thin boards of 1" width typically have about a range of from about 1.25" width at the thickest point in the center to 1" at the bottom or top (1.25 to 1 ratio). The 6" wide boards in the center are about 5.4" at the ends (1.11 to 1 ratio). I don't know why this is.

Offered by Mike.