Coopers and Barrels

A big cylindrical container which is generally used to store liquids is known as a barrel and a craftsman who makes or repairs wooden barrels or tubs is generally known as cooper. Coopers are often called as barrel makers. Coopering requires skill, intelligence and strength. Coopers work on plantations to produce hogsheads needed to ship tobacco, turns staves and hoops into everything from butter churns to tubs. Coopers and barrels crafted casks are used as:
  • Shipping containers 
  • For storing liquids from wine to milk
  • Held flour, gunpowder, tobacco and other commodities.
Coopers and Barrels
Cooper's work:
  • The cooper selects the best staves and assemble them inside a metal hoop known as a jig. This process is known as raising the barrel.
  • Three metal hoops are forced into the place creating a solid hold on the staves.
  • The partially constructed barrel is placed over small wood fire due to which the inside of the barrel is charred.
  • By the heat and humidity with the help of a winch the staves can gradually bent and tighten to obtain the shape of a barrel.
  • To finish assembly the cooper sets up the barrel and fits the head of the barrel into the croze and completes by hooping with a large mallet.
  • The barrel is tested for its impermeability and if passed the cooper finishes the barrel with final planning and sand papering to enhance the quality of the oak. 
Types of barrels:
  • Wine barrels 
  • Gun and Shotgun barrels 
  • Rifle barrels 
  • Rain barrels
  • Oak barrels 
Benefits of rain barrels:
  • Rainwater is better for plants and soil. Inorganic irons and fluoride compounds contained in tap water accumulate in the soil over time and potentially harm plant roots. Use of barrels to store rainwater for the use of watering plants make them more drought tolerant, healthy and strong.
  • When it rains, runoff picks up soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides and other contaminants. Rainwater pushes these pollutants into other areas of landscape and increases algae growth in lakes, alter the habitat of fish and even can make lakes and oceans dangerous for recreational activities. Therefore, rainwater collecting in barrels can stop some of this damages.

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