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 Post subject: Cooperage
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Hey Folks,

Here's an easy one, more to stimulate some discussion than than to test your wits:
There are three types of cooperage, can you name them, and what they're used for?
Please don't post an internet search dump. If you know the answer, great, let fly. If not, why not wait and see who does? There should be plenty of discussion after the answer is given up.

Tom

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:31 am 
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The only one I know the name of, or at least what I've been told, is a "white" cooper. They make buckets, presumably for milk thus the term white cooper. What a barrel cooper is called don't know but they make ... duhhh ... barrels where the staves are bent to form the barrel.

Really curious as to what the third one will turn out to be.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:24 pm 
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DennisS wrote:
The only one I know the name of, or at least what I've been told, is a "white" cooper. They make buckets, presumably for milk thus the term white cooper. What a barrel cooper is called don't know but they make ... duhhh ... barrels where the staves are bent to form the barrel.

Really curious as to what the third one will turn out to be.


Mr. Cooper, the boss.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:54 pm 
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In keeping with Tom's suggestion that this puzzler generate some discussion ...

I've viewed several videos of the making of coopered pieces, surfed a number of cooperage sites, and in virtually every instance they show the coopers shaping the staves by hand and eye alone. Well, there is one instance where a pair of sticks is used to gauge the angle between the two edges, but other than that, noting all that sophisticated. My question is, and perhaps it should be answered in the infeed/outfeed forum, how do these folks make a barrel as liquid tight as all that without more accurate milling of the staves??

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:19 pm 
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Hey Dennis,

Without giving anything away, I can say that classic xxxx-coopers use a gauge, as you mentioned. It has the arc of the circle and the adjacent angle. Bear in mind that the angle is determined by the number of staves, and not their width.

So if one is coopering a cask with a swelled center ("barrel" shaped), The angle will be the same all the way up and down the stave. The increase, or decrease in the diameter of the cask will be determined by the width of the staves.

Tom

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:20 pm 
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I don't think that the coopers that made bbls for just shipping stuff around like nail kegs shipping bbls etc would need to have the joint so tight as to be waterproof. I do remember a vid, on PBS I think, that showed a barrel maker running staves over a very very long jointer plane resting one end against the floor and moving the stave against the plane. Also, not all staves are bent. Stave built boxes and buckets, churns and such I believe are made of straight pieces not bowed or curved.

Good subject TMS ! :thumbup:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:51 pm 
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Yeah, Tom ... I can now visualize how one could take an angle gauge, fixed so to speak, and lay out marks along the legs for different widths at the middle, end and and so forth. While the width of the stave is not determined by the subtended angle, just the number of staves, the size and thus the capacity of the barrel will be thus determined.

Ohhhhh!!! NewTooth!!!! I'm biting my lip trying to avoid pointing out how close you are to the other two types of cooperage. I can't say since I cheated and peeked.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:56 pm 
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Hey Newtooth,

You're correct, that not all cooperage needs to be watertight. That's one of the differences between the three types, and you're also correct that not all coopered pieces are swelled. I guess we can give Dennis his due partial credit and say that he correct that open top, straight sided pieces are called "white cooperage". I can't verify the story about the name being due to milk buckets, as I have also heard that's an old wives tale. So I'll let you all speculate upon that.

So, we're left with two remaining types of cooperage. Any takers?

Tom

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:33 pm 
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Turns out, Tom, there's yet again another fourth 'type' of cooperage.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Does "chicken" cooperage count? :wink: :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:51 pm 
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DennisS wrote:
Turns out, Tom, there's yet again another fourth 'type' of cooperage.


Hey Dennis,

... and thus the call for discussion. There is some disagreement on whether the "fourth" distinction is real or not.

Tom

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:43 pm 
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TMS & DENNIS S : After all that I'll take a stab at wet cooper and dry cooper and with a bow to GENE i'll guess that the small kegs and buckets are from a "mini cooper :roll: "

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:44 am 
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Hey Folks,

Well, you've had a week on this one, and I've received a few partial answers, but no one's stepped up and given a full one yet. If no one gets it by the end of the day today, I get to keep the points. :razz:

Tom

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:43 am 
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Newtooth got the two I couldn't think of. And yes, the forth is actually a type of barrel albeit from the outside in.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Hey Folks,

Okay, so the three types of cooperage, depends entirely upon whom you ask.

The most common answer, in this country, is "Tight", "Slack", and "White".
• Tight cooperage is the most commonly recognized. It is the trade craft of manufacturing watertight casks for various needs, usually breweries and wineries.
• Slack cooperage is the manufacture of casks for dry goods, such as nails, etc.
•White cooperage is tight cooperage of open topped vessels such as pails, tubs, churns, etc.

But wait, what about the controversial "fourth" cooperage?

Well, some authorities claim that there is a "Tight, Dry" cooperage, which would be for things like flour and gunpowder, etc. However, I guarantee that if you ever ask a tight cooper about it, you'll hear them say that, ...anything that's not tight, is slack.

Which brings up the perspective that white cooperage is a subset of tight cooperage and not a recognized form on its own, thus bringing the number back to three. This is the position taken by the cooper's guild in London, but casks* are made 'round the world, and the French, and Germans have their own distinctions as well.

*BTW "Barrel" most properly denotes a specific volume, not a product of cooperage. The volume of a barrel was usually dependent upon the contents. A barrel of beer was a different volume than a barrel of ale, or a barrel of wine, etc. Oil is pretty much the only commodity currently traded in barrel units, which again, are a unique volume.

Other archaic units associated with cooperage are the keg (usually a half barrel, but different volumes again in different countries), and the firkin, usually a quarter barrel. There's also "Tun", and "Puncheon", and a host of others. They all started as staved wooden vessels.

Partial credit given for white, but no one got the bull's-eye this time.

Tom

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:40 am 
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tms wrote:
... There's also "Tun", and


I gather this is the root for 'mash tun' where fermentation occurs during the process of making beer and/or whisky.

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