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Established Member
30 Jul 2014
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Went to see barrels being made yesterday,

They make large ones too,
There can't be many left. Most ports and almost anywhere that made liquid products had a Cooper or two. Where I grew up, N Devon, the town has a Cooper Street (and a Rope Walk) just off the Quay.

Decades ago a retired Cooper told me that after work on a Saturday - 6 day week back then - all of them, rival companies and all, would band together in the Pub for pints and a barrel of laughs. They would order pickled eggs to stave off hunger. He said it was Tuns of fun.
Fascinating. What's the application for the tulip-shaped large barrels?
Just alternative storage for larger quantities, they had one there that held 45,000 litres, you could almost live in it!
I grew up in a NE Scotland fishing port, and for a part-time job in my teens in the 1960s worked in a fish yard where I learned to fillet fish. The yard was run by a mannie who liked a wee drink down the pub. But he did employ a part-time cooper to make barrels for the small amount of herring that was still caught in the North Sea at that time. He made small barrels called firkins for the herring, and it was fascinating to see him make the barrels up from fettling the staves, and hoops and firing them when made. I understood this was to help seal them, but not at all sure how that worked. Once made I helped to pack the gutted herrings in salt, and put in the brine top-ups. The cooper covered the barrels and as the herrings settled more herrings were packed in until it was decided it was full, and the lid was hammered into place. The worst bit of course was if you got a cut in your fingers, as the salt stung like hell!

I loved the smell of the wood in the small cooperage.