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Product Spotlight: Wooden Bungs

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Product Spotlight: Wooden Barrel Bungs

Jan 22, 2024
Product Spotlight: Wooden Barrel Bungs

This month we are featuring one of our cooperage and distilling items known as a barrel bung!  

In this article, we will explore what a wood barrel bung is, the types of bungs, and the wood species you can choose from! In addition, we will explain the range of diameters and additional capabilities of bungs for your usage.  

To learn more about the other cooperage and distilling items we have available, click here!  


What is a wood barrel bung?


barrel bung
Pictured is a bung in a barrel.

A wood bung is a small, cylindrical piece of wood primarily used to plug holes in wooden barrels. They are commonly made from poplar, but also various other wood species including white oak and walnut. 

The purpose of a wood bung is to ensure a tight seal and prevent leaks from the container. This is particularly important for aging and storing liquids such as wine, beer, or spirits, where even a small leak could affect the volume and potentially quality of the product. 

Wood bungs are often used in conjunction with a mallet or hammer to securely tap them into place, creating a snug watertight seal. They can also be removed, when necessary, by drilling them out or using a bung extractor tool. 

Different wood species may be chosen for bungs based on their durability, moisture resistance, and aesthetic qualities.  

Wooden Bung Species 

As mentioned above, wood bungs are stoppers used to seal the opening of a barrel. They are used to prevent the contents from leaking or spilling out. Different wood species are used to make bungs, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. 

Below you can view the types of species that we offer:  

White Oak: This barrel bung is made from white oak wood and is growing in popularity. It is known for its aesthetic appeal and being used for all barrel components including, barrels, spiles, bungs, and wedges.  

Poplar: These kinds of bungs are made from poplar wood and are the most cost-effective. In addition, poplar bungs are soft enough to not damage the barrel and can expand to create a tighter seal.  

Walnut: This type of bung is made from walnut wood, which is prized for its rich, dark color and attractive grain patterns. Walnut bungs are often used for sealing high-end spirits and add a touch of elegance to the storage. 

Types of Bungs:  

Standard Tapered Bung:

A type of stopper is used to seal the openings of barrels.  

The sides are cut with a knife and designed with a five-degree taper to match the taper to the bung hole to ensure a snug fit, effectively sealing it and preventing leaks or spills. This is by far the most popular type of bung. 

A Serrated Bung:  

serrated bung
Pictured is a serrated bung.

A serrate bung is like a tapered bung, but it features small serrations along the taper to provide a more secure and airtight seal. It has ridges on the side that provide a better grip. 

This is a premium bung that is growing in popularity. This type of bung is believed to produce a better yield because of the ridges. 

Straight Side with a Chamfer Bung
Pictured is a 2-1/4” poplar straight side with a chamfered bung 

A Straight Side with a Chamfer Bung: 

A plug with a straight, cylindrical side and a heavy chamfered edge on the bottom. Typically, they are 2-¼" in diameter primarily for head filled barrels, where the bung hole in in the center of the barrel head.   

This chamfer design allows you to easily insert the bung in the container's opening while still providing a secure seal.  

A straight side gives full contact to the staves since head-filled barrels have a straight sided hold versus the traditional taper hole found in side-filled barrels.

It is often used in applications where barrels are palletized and stored upright. This is typical in concrete warehouses instead of traditional rickhouses.  


Compressed Bung:  

A plug made from compressed poplar. It is used to seal the openings of containers where an even tighter seal is required.  When they come on contact with liquid, the compressed sides expand. 

Compressed bungs are historically used for beer because carbonation inside the barrel is pushing on bung, and without a super tight seal, the bung will pop out.  That being said, recently this type of bung is growing in popularity for whiskey and spirit barrels as well.  


The Range of Diameters and Additional Capabilities of Bungs 

Why is the size of bungs important?  

There are many different barrels in many different countries. Some might be metric sizes, and some might be standard unit sizes. Also, over time when the barrels are being reused, the hole might be reamed, which will change its diameter. Given that barrels can be reused, and some even reach 100 years old, being able to accommodate a wide range of sizes is critical.  

Below you can view our standard sizing for Bungs:   


Remember that the diameter of the bung should match the hole in your chosen barrel, and always measured by the top diameter.

Our diameter tolerance is specs. +0.020" / -0.000"

We can produce bungs ranging from 1” to 10” in diameter with the most popular diameter being 2.” 



The thickness of the bung should depend on the size of barrel you use.  

The ticker bungs typically allow you to use one bung for a 2”, 2-1/18”.

In addition, it provides for the bungs to sit higher to grip and remove. 

We can make the thickness of the bung anywhere between the standard of ¾" up to 1-7/16” with the most popular being 7/8.”  


The taper will depend on the type of hole in the barrel that you are sealing or the size of a barrel.  

Standard 5-degree taper matches taper on most barrels, but we can go as low as 0 (a straight edge) and up to 10 degrees. 

laser engraved barrel bung


We supply to countries all over the world.  

Being the manufacturer, we have the ability to produce metric sizes as well to ensure an exact fit. 

We have also recently added the option to laser engrave bungs with a company's logo. These are still the first quality bungs that can be used in production, but also allow the distillery to use them for promotional items as well. Customers have also been known to use them for giveaways on tours, tasting, and even business cards. 


Cincinnati Dowel Barrel Bungs Available for You  

We hope that you are as excited about using bungs as we are!  

If you are looking for the best quality for your wooden bungs, then Cincinnati Dowel is the supplier for you. We offer only the most dependable wooden bungs and other wood components that you use every day.  

For wooden bungs you can count on, browse Cincinnati Dowel’s cooperage and distilling items today!  

Happy with the difference Cincinnati Dowel has made for your operations? Leave us a five-star review on Google here!  

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