Rare Trades

What is a cooper ?

Someone who makes a watertight vessel out of timber. It involves a lot of skill and practice.

How long have you been coopering ?

‘I’m a fifth-generation cooper. I made my first barrel when I was fifteen, and I came to the trade full-time when I was forty – thirty years ago now. I’m an old bastard.’

What sort of vessels do you make?

‘Mostly buckets and barrels, butter churns, hand-operated washing machine tubs. I’m retired now, and I make mostly for alternative lifestylers, barrels for dry goods, wine and whisky barrels; they’re made to last. I have buckets my grandfather made that are still as good as the day he made them, ninety years ago.’