Saturday, May 5, 2012

Visit to Black Swan Cooperage

A few evenings ago Far Guy and I had a date.  We like to see how things are done…I guess you could say we are a curious sort.

Flowers at Black Swan Cooperage

A cooper makes barrels. They are artisans. The photos and descriptions that follow are only the highlights of making a wooden barrel.White Oak Staves

A stack of White Oak staves…they get most of their wood from Pennsylvania.

Barrel making is no small process..I was impressed.

Barrels before the hot water bath

Barrels before they get soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes.

Cable on the barrel

Hot water barrel on the left.  Cable squeezing together the staves.

Fire in the barrels

I really enjoyed this fellow who was charring the barrels. Barrels can be charred or toasted depending on what will enhance the flavor of whatever is stored in the barrel.  It was quite obvious that this fellow enjoyed his job.  He worked outside in a special trailer with a ventilation system.

The guys make their own bread dough to help seal up the barrel head. They put the bread dough in the croze which is the groove in the barrel where the barrel head rests.  The bread dough helps to keep the barrel sealed until the wood has swelled properly to create its own seal.

Bread dough sealer

It was a great tour..Far Guy knew several of the workers.

This is a family run business.  I am not sure of the entire story..but this little gal and her faithful companion “Whiskey” talked the rest of the family into the cooperage business. I believe her father was a cooper at some time in his life.

Black Swans Dog Whiskey

In this day and age when many family run business are closing their doors it is refreshing to see a new business up and thriving.  You can visit Black Swan Cooperage web site for more technical information:)


  1. Thats cool never really seen how they are made . Thanks for the info ! Half barrels for flower planters can be pricey though . Have a good day !

  2. Wow! Bread dough? Who knew? Very informative post, I didn't know any of this.

  3. I've watched the barrel maker at Silver Dollar City before but this was so much more informative sweetie! Bread dough...well, ya learn somethin' new every day!

    I love the name of that very appropriate...'Whiskey' is, Heeehehehe!

    Have a blessed and beautiful weekend sweetie!!! :o)

  4. I love learning new things! Thanks for this teachable moment!

  5. That's very interesting, I never knew about the bread they eat it later? LOL

    Date night, think we are going to have to reinstate that is too short.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  6. I would love to go there. I buy the old oak ones from the distillery for flower tubs....I've had some full of dirt for over 30 years and they were at least that old when I got them.

  7. OMG! This was fascinating! Bread dough!? Wow!
    I am a fairly curious sort, too. Thanks. Loved the link, too. :)

  8. This really is interesting! A great story. Never imagined the new barrels to be so pristine when they start out.

  9. What a perfect place for a date. Fascinating with great pics.

  10. What a great post with fabulous photos!

  11. Right at first I thought I was going to see Black Swans...still a cool post!


  12. Unbelievable! Who knew? And the bread dough really got me! That is so strange and the charring pretty interesting too. I love learning also and that tour was just fascinating. Smart cookie that gal! I'm going to visit that website too. After all that work I bet those barrels aren't cheap! Thanks for sharing that "teachable" moment!

  13. I enjoy seeing things like this in person, too. As always, great pics!

  14. Pretty cool when barrels are made that close to your place. Rather interesting process.

  15. squeezing the barrels... hmmmm taking me back to that mammogram post ha h aha ha ha ha


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie