Born and raised in the wine country of Napa Valley, California, Brian Booth started his love for metal and wood creation early. By trade, his father and brother are machinists and cabinet builders. However, the majority of Brian’s career was spent as an accomplished welder for a large manufacture. But because of a plant closure late in his career, he found himself wondering, “If my father and brother have a knack for wood and metal, maybe I do as well, so I just took off with it.”
After travelling to and from Napa Valley to visit family, Brian and his wife Tammy realized that the french white oak barrels from Napa Valley have a lot of character and could be used to create custom furniture. Brian said, “A light bulb went off when I realized that Park City, Ogden Valley, and other big ski resorts have people who are attracted to handmade barrel products. But there are not many companies making custom products like we do.”
Besides the comfy curvature and design of their Adirondack wine barrel chair, everything at B&T Barrel is custom designed and is never duplicated. Brian says, “I don’t have any design plans in my shop; I don’t keep plans for anything. Most the time, I sketch it out on a piece of wood that later gets sanded off and re-purposed.” Since their opening, Tammy has helped customers visualize their needs. “Everything we have made has been one of kind, and that’s what our customer’s want.”
A few times a year Brian and Tammy make the trip back up to Napa Valley and hand select their re-purposed wine and whiskey barrels. During the wine-making process, the barrels become stained over time with their unique color of purple. When a barrel comes into the shop, it is sanded and rubbed with Tung Oil. This helps the product’s durability and makes maintenance extremely easy. The products on their showroom floor also use a combination of bolts and welding, which guarantees sturdiness and long life.
Our natural resources are important to Brian and Tammy. Through clever resourcefulness, they collect interesting items most people would just throw in the trash. Brian is worried about the the general public’s habit of buying cheaply made products that don’t last. “Everyone has gotten used to the box-store merchandise; those people end up buying the same thing over and over again in their lifetime. Furniture by the millions are thrown into the landfill every year. We hope to build a product they can buy one time and pass it on to their children. Our products are built to last,” Brian said.
Not every project is created with barrel wood or scrap metal. Brian and Tammy often visit local antique shops and lumber mills around Utah. They specifically purchase local trees that have been cut or blown down in wind storms. Tammy loves finding old items and breathing life back into them. “If you can flip it and make something useful, it doesn’t go in the landfill,” she said.
Brian and Tammy love the feeling when they surprise a client or create an unexpected design for a customer. “The smiles that we put on peoples faces make it worth it. The new creations and ideas people come up with, and then we build, always creates a good feeling.”
B&T Barrel products are sold at their Ogden storefront, 2070 Wall Ave suite D, Ogden, and New World Distillery, 4795 E 2600 N, Eden.
To see more of Bryan Butterfield’s photography visit his website.
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