Replace staves, heads, and hoops.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$25,000 – $72,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Coopers do?

Replaces staves, heads, and hoops, using windlass and handtools to repair barrels: Loops cable of windlass around top of barrel and turns handle to compress staves and loosen hoops. Removes defective stave and inserts and aligns new stave, using wooden mallet. Shapes top edge of stave to conform with others, using saw to trim and spokeshave to bevel inside and outside edges. Cuts croze, using hand crozer. Replaces and tightens hoops. Removes head hoop, using cooper’s hammer, and pries out head, using prybar. Inserts edge of new head in croze of staves and forces head into place by hand or using mallet. Replaces head hoop. May rebuild entire barrel. May loosen hoops and force caulking between staves to repair leaking stave joints. May plug knotholes and wormholes with wooden plugs. May tend machine that compresses barrel shell to facilitate removal of forming rings and placement of temporary truss hoops. May build new barrels, buckets, casks, kegs, and tubs, using handtools, and be designated according to type built as Slack Cooper; Tight Cooper.

Should I be a Cooper?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • Also known as: Cooper Apprentice, Slack Cooper, Tight Cooper

    How to become a Cooper

    Coopers generally graduate from high school and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate’s degree to increase your chances of finding a good job. Check out these schools offering Cooper-related education!
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