History Byte – Coopering Tools Part 2

Assembling the Staves

In my last post on coopering, we left off with the shaping of the staves. We are now at the assembly stage. The staves are assembled into a cone shape inside an iron hoop.
They are placed over a cresset which is a rickety looking structure used to hold a small fire.


The fire warms up the wood to make it more pliable for bending.  Black Creek has a steam oven designed to steam large barrels with thick staves.  The staves would be moistened before being put over the oven.  Once warmed, the splayed staves are drawn together by driving on successively smaller hoops known as truss hoops.

Steam Oven

The hoops are driven on with a hammer driver and hoop driver.  Riveted iron hoops, usually six for beer casks, are driven on, and the barrel goes over the steam oven one more time to encourage the wood to retain the barrel shape.

Hammer Driver

  Next post – cutting the chime, chiv and croze!

Scotch Driver - These tools are grooved to prevent them from slipping off the hoop as they are struck with a hammer to drive the hoop over the staves.

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