Catalogue of the cooper’s tools
preparation of my book ' Eer het vat in duigen valt' I was confronted with the
problem of a general designation of a cooper's tools and actions.
As a lot of literature on coopery was not extensively available, the author could practically only rely on the regional vocabulary of his source and the person he was speaking to.
The only works of reference were the study of J. van Bakel, 'Het Kuipersvak' in 'Taal en Tongval' and the work of prof. J. Van Keymeulen et al., 'Het Ambacht van de Kuiper en de Hoepelmaker' in The Dictionary of Flemish Dialects.
The absence of uniformity in the usage is primarily due to the lack of literature and training. Manuals were issued in Germany and France. Moreover, these countries organised school training. In our country the craft passed from father to son and mostly remained in the family.
An additional problem was that quite a number of tools originated from the local cooper's resourcefulness and experience. He looked for better tools to make his job somewhat lighter, more efficient and safer. A considerable number of tools were home-made and consequently not widely known, and received their names accidentally.
The use of a certain tool went together with the nature of the product that a cooper had in mind.The making of a herring barrel e.g. required less technical skill than that of a wine cask, and the appropriate tools were consequently different ones. It speaks for itself that as a result a particular tool was known in France, but not in Flanders or The Netherlands.
More than a hundred specific cooper's tools have received their technical index cards, their designations in four languages and a bibliography in my book.
Surely, this must be a welcome guide for museum staff members and other amateurs of craft equipment.