Apolitical old-timeyness
February 23, 2017 9:38 AM   Subscribe

How to make a wooden bucket. 6th generation cooper George Smithwick charmingly discusses his craft as me makes a bucket.

Previous cooperage on MeFi

Bonus for those who enjoyed the rope-work
posted by OHenryPacey (19 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm enjoying listening to the way he talks. Thanks for posting!
posted by olopua at 10:09 AM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza....
posted by hippybear at 10:46 AM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


We'll need more craftspeople like him after we're all nuked back to the Stone Age.

(Nothing is apolitical.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:00 AM on February 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


We'll need more craftspeople like him after we're all nuked back to the Stone Age.

More people should know how to do things like this now. Very sad to hear and see Smithwick say "Let's hope it carries on somehow" because "somehow" is really the question. Videos like this one are terrific (thank you, OHenryPacey!), books are invaluable, but learning from a living master is irreplaceable. This is my personal hobbyhorse--skills must not be lost, because the work of the hand continues to matter.
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:13 AM on February 23, 2017 [6 favorites]


I would like to do this before I die. I should add it to some sort of list.

Videos like this one are terrific (thank you, OHenryPacey!), books are invaluable, but learning from a living master is irreplaceable.

I'm generally self-taught in a lot of things I know how to do and I'll go around saying "I'm self taught and I know how to do this thing!" but then on the rare occasion I actually take a class to learn how to do something I always come away from it knowing so much more.
posted by bondcliff at 11:16 AM on February 23, 2017 [4 favorites]


This was amazing and I was disappointed when he was done the bucket at the half hour mark. Thanks so much for posting this.

I had to laugh when the interviewer asked him, the cooper working in a living history museum, whether he thought it was important for kids to learn how things were done in the past.
posted by Naib at 11:23 AM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


That was excellent!
posted by mixedmetaphors at 11:38 AM on February 23, 2017


Had to.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:26 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


This is utterly fantastic.
posted by mochapickle at 2:48 PM on February 23, 2017


I love his accent and use of the language. I love his hands and the hand tools he uses expertly, his experienced eye, and his love of the work. I worked around a master carpenter for a while, they are special people, who work with such care. This was beautiful in every sense of the word.
posted by Oyéah at 2:56 PM on February 23, 2017 [1 favorite]


One of the joys of a physical trade with specific tools and techniques is discussing and arguing with peers the merits and flaws of said tools. You'll hear people get downright heated about things as simple as which knot is ideal for a given situation.
posted by Ferreous at 4:04 PM on February 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


Man, now I want to take a weekend in April and head over to the woodworking school for their coopering class.
posted by hades at 4:17 PM on February 23, 2017 [2 favorites]


This is exactly what I need today. Thank you for sharing.
posted by sixohsix at 3:17 AM on February 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


These sorts of videos are a real treasure. I can remember pre-internet days when the only readily available resources were magazines and Time-Life books that we're nearly all focused on machines, pocket screws, nail guns...then The Woodwright's Shop came along, followed by web forums, a whole bunch of blogs, new publishers focused on hand work. All these lost skills are being reconstituted, generally not through the teachings of "masters" but pieced together by the explorations and exertions of a vast number of curious and passionate people. Hand skills are finding their place again because there was always this yearning for a deeper understanding of design and execution that took into account material considerations. The exclusive use of plywood and MDF didn't lead very far in that direction. There are so many great people sharing their knowledge now ...also people selling catalogues of online video instruction for very reasonable fees.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:14 AM on February 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


If you liked this then the documentary series Hands by something not unlike PBS/BBC. Watch/find it. You will not regret the effort.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:43 AM on February 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


a deeper understanding of design and execution that took into account material considerations.

The idea that he has to consider the grain when he sizes the bottom of the bucket is fascinating to me.

The object-relational impedance mismatch of physical materials?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:56 AM on February 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


You can go see him each year at the Lost Trades Fair.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:31 PM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I found another awesome cooper video from the 1940s, including a cooper initiation ceremony. You really need to seee the ceremony.

Also, I wonder how coopers work in other parts of the world, do techniques differ?
posted by blahblahblah at 9:40 PM on February 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


If so, they could share their techniques and work together. You know, cooperate.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:49 PM on February 25, 2017 [3 favorites]


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