Coopers build barrels and related products made of segments of wood, like wooden buckets. They shape the wood, fit hoops around them, and shape the barrel to hold the product, which contemporarily is usually premium alcoholic beverages.
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- Wood moisture content
The amount of water contained in wood materials. The effect of wood moisture on the size and physical characteristics of the wood. Suitable moisture contents for different uses.
- Manufacture of wooden barrels
The processes involved in the production of wooden barrels such as material selection, shaping, toasting, fitting, planing and sanding.
- Wood cuts
Different ways of cutting wood, across the grain or parallel with it, and radial or tangential to the core. The behaviour of cuts of wood under different circumstances and the optimal cut for a given purpose. Influence of special attributes of the wood, like knots or defects.
- Woodworking tools
The various tools used to process wood, such as planers, chisels and lathes.
- Assemble barrels
Select the shaped wooden planks, place them inside the working iron hoop and put a loose hoop at the top to hold the planks together.
- Make barrel heads
Use a machine to punch holes in the staves, insert dowel pins into the holes, place the staves on a guide and press them together. Place the assembled staves in the rounder to obtain a circular shape. Finally, coat the edges with liquid wax.
- Clean wood surface
Use a variety of techniques on a wood surface to ensure it is free of dust, sawdust, grease, stains, and other contaminants.
- Adjust properties of cut
Adjust cut sizes and depths of cutting tools. Adjust heights of worktables and machine-arms.
- Finish barrels
Pour water into the barrel to let it cool, replace working hoops with permanent iron hoops using manual techniques and machines, drill a hole on the side and plug it. Fix fittings such as taps and valves if required.
- Char barrels
Place the barrels in the gas burner where a flame is blasted inside each of them to scorch the interior.
- Sand wood
Use sanding machines or hand tools to remove paint or other substances from the surface of the wood, or to smoothen and finish the wood.
- Bend staves
Use various techniques to give the wooden planks the desired curve, such as softening the wood in steam tunnels and then replacing the working hoops with stronger hoops.
- Manipulate wood
Manipulate the properties, shape and size of wood.