A local couple turns bourbon barrels into stunning creations

A local couple turns bourbon barrels into stunning creations

ZEALAND — Ed and Tara Schrotenboer wished some extra cash to purchase instruments to fill their household’s new barn.

Now they personal a rising enterprise.

It began with Adirondack chairs. Then, on a whim, Tara purchased three barrels of whiskey at a storage sale and introduced her husband with an thought for a half-barrel wine rack she had seen on Etsy.

What began in January 2020 with three barrels has blossomed right into a household enterprise referred to as Leisure Time Designs which has used over 300 barrels for distinctive handmade items – together with half and full barrel wine racks, residence decor objects, serving items, clocks and extra.

“Our first yr of operation was in the midst of COVID – however in a means it was a blessing in disguise as a result of we had nothing to match to,” Tara mentioned. “We’re nonetheless shocked at the place this has gotten us…we get to go to completely different locations and see what Michigan has to supply.”

Up to now, the couple have visited artwork gala’s and festivals throughout the state, showcasing their objects. They’ve additionally created an Etsy web page and web site to assist unfold the phrase.

“Folks all the time say how distinctive our objects are and that they’ve by no means seen something like this earlier than,” Ed mentioned. “It is enjoyable for us. We’re definitely not the one ones making issues out of whiskey casks, however we’re the one ones in West Michigan.

Tara comes up with the ideas and Ed – who has all the time been a jack of all trades – builds them. Because the enterprise has continued to develop, each Tara and Ed say there was a studying curve.

“I reduce into the primary barrel not realizing that the humidity is what holds the whiskey barrel collectively so the wooden is damp and it expands,” Ed mentioned. “Whenever you reduce the primary group, it stuns you with the quantity of stress that is in these barrels. There was fairly a studying curve with these early ones, however we figured it out from there.

Constructing objects from whiskey barrels isn’t so easy. The couple purchase barrels – every weighing greater than 200 kilos – in massive portions and haul them by trailer to their barn.

Then the couple empty the remaining contents of the barrels and allow them to dry for a couple of weeks to some months, relying on the time of yr.

As soon as dried, Ed does many of the assembling and Tara dyes and varnishes the completed merchandise.

“We get many of the barrels from native breweries,” Ed mentioned. “At first we’d go on Craigslist or the market and folks would promote a couple of right here and there. Finally we developed a relationship with Odd Facet Ales in Grand Haven. They’ve a distillation place about 10 minutes from us.

“Final week, really, I went three spherical journeys and picked up one other 66 barrels.”

They don’t surrender their day by day work but. Ed plans to proceed working at an area automation firm, whereas Tara continues to work as a nurse in Grand Rapids.

“Retail is one thing very overseas to us,” Ed mentioned. “Studying to market our merchandise and promote them has been certainly one of our greatest studying curves.”

The couple consider they’ve sufficient barrels to final till subsequent yr. Tara has extra tasks up her sleeve.

“I like it,” Tara mentioned. “I’ve all the time been an arts and crafts particular person and design has all the time been a enjoyable factor for me to do…I’ve all the time liked adorning and designing various things, in order that’s a extremely enjoyable of those tasks.”

Be taught extra about mileisuretimedesigns.com.

— Austin Metz is a former Holland Sentinel reporter.

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