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Barrel Vise

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Barrel vise.jpg
Size 9x9
Where Compound


A Barrel Vise is used to manufacture Small Barrels. You need to know the Cooperage skill to operate this building.


This building becomes available after you have learned the Cooperage skill.



The barrel vise allows you to create small barrels in a fashion reminiscent of, but simpler than, charcoal production.

Barrel Cost

To make a Small Barrel:

  • 100 Boards
  • 2 Copper Straps
  • Wood to run the barrel vise. (The amount is variable, but 75 to 100 wood per barrel is a good rule of thumb.)


Operating a Barrel Vise is pretty simple -- there's only one control: add wood. You just have to be careful not to let the flame get too high, since there's no way to cool down the flame (as there is in a Charcoal Hearth), apart from letting it die down of its own accord.

There are four indicators:

  • Fuel/wood shows how much wood is currently in the vise. Fuel is consumed at a rate of one per tick. There is no numerical indicator, but you only need to discern whether there is 0, 1, or 2+ wood in the vise.
  • Flame shows the flame height. If the flame reaches 100% of the indicator, the barrel will incinerate, and you will lose your boards and copper straps.
  • Heat affects progress. Higher heat = faster progress. Heat will rise each tick if flame is currently higher than heat, or fall if flame is lower.
  • Progress, of course, shows how 'done' the barrel is. It only goes up, and only increases when heat is above 50%.


The idea is to keep the heat high, but not let flame reach 100%, which would incinerate the barrel. The higher the heat, the faster you make progress. You will only make progress when the 'heat' indicator is above 50%.

NOTE: the heat indicator turns red when it is above 50% and you will start to see "progress" rising after the color change. Dianess 9:34, 5 April 2009 (EST)

Once you have the vise going, you will add 0, 1, or 2 wood each tick. Each tick, the flame will go up, down, or down a lot, depending on whether there is currently 2+, 1, or 0 wood in the vise's fuel chamber. The amount the flame goes up or down is random, but the downward shifts are far greater in magnitude than the upward shifts.

The important decision is when the fuel is at 1 wood. If you overshoot, the barrel incinerates, and you lose the boards, straps, and any wood in the vise. If you undershoot, you just end up using more wood to make the barrel. You will very quickly get a feel for how much the flame can rise during a tick.

Eventually, you will tweak the start-up, sometimes adding 1 wood when there's still 2 wood, just to get the flame higher, and also learn when you can stop adding wood, and let the vise coast to a finish.

The amount of wood you use will go down as you get better at knowing when to add more wood. When you first start out, you may use anywhere from 70-80 wood, but have at least 100 on hand, just in case.

Skill Increases

As you produce more barrels, your Cooperage skill level goes up (slowly), to a max of 7. You make more progress with each tick at higher skill level, meaning it takes less wood to complete a project.

A Conservative Procedure

  1. Click on vise, choose 'Make a barrel' (requires 2 copper straps and 100 boards)
  2. Add 6 wood to the vise. (the 'Stoke' button on the control widget)
  3. Wait until fuel is down to 1 wood.
  4. Manage flame:
    • If fuel = 2 wood, do not add wood
    • If fuel = 0 wood, stoke 2 wood (press 'Stoke' twice)
    • If fuel = 1 wood, then you have to make a decision: if the flame is too close to the top of the bar, don't add wood. Otherwise, stoke 1 wood.
  5. Repeat until barrel is complete.