Once shaped (cf. Step 1: transformation of the merrain into stave), the staves are ready for shaping the barrel.
Before starting the assembly, it is necessary to determine the chronological order of the staves to put in place to constitute the body of the barrel. At Tonnellerie Bernard, the craftsmen arrange the staves on a plan to measure the size of the barrel and ensure that the correct dimensions of each piece are respected. The plug stave, where the plug hole will be placed, is chosen to be wide enough.
Like a bouquet of flowers in a vase, the staves are then placed standing next to each other inside a mold circle and distributed alternately (a wide, a tight and so on). The fact of grouping all the wide staves on one side and the tight staves on the other would have the consequences of unbalancing the barrel under construction. Other mould circles are placed and tightened on the first draft by aligning all the heads of staves rigorously at the same height.