History Byte – Coopering Tools Part 3


Diagram of the chime, chiv and croze

In this post we are going to look at cutting the chime.  The chime is the bevelled edge at the top and bottom of the barrel cut with a cooper’s Adze.  The top of the chime is leveled off with a special Plane known as a Cooper’s Sun Plane.  Next the chiv (also called a howel in some areas) is smoothed in preparation of cutting the groove known as the croze.

Cooper's Sun Plane

The croze will hold the heads of the cask.  It is cut with a Croze Plane.  The head is formed by straight pieces of wood held tightly together by dowels.  After assembly, the head is planed smooth and cut into a circle.  Using his Drawing Knife, the cooper rounds the edges of the head to fit tightly into the croze.  The inside of the barrel is then cleaned and the edges of the joints are levelled using a stoup plane.

Cooper's Stoup Plane, used to clean and smooth the inside of the cask

   The outside of the barrel is scraped clean and smooth.  The temporary iron rings at the top and bottom of the cask are removed and the heads are fitted tightly into the croze with split reeds in the croze to prevent leakage. Permanent iron hoops are placed at the top and bottom of the barrel to lock the head into place.  The temporary iron hoops on the body are also replaced with permanent iron hoops.  Once the hoops are in place, the bung and tap holes are drilled and the cask is complete!
While this is a more modern video, and he’s actually refurbishing a barrel, you can see some of the tools used to cut in the head.

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