Tools for the Traditional Cooper
-Craftsperson, Hobbyist, Historic Interpretations-

HGSSC ventures into supplying coopering tools and materials for craftspersons, hobbyists, and historical interpreters.

About our new coopering tools and supplies:
The Historical and Genealogical Society is delving into a new venture of coopering tool supply. We continue an unbroken tradition of coopering as practiced in Somerset County Sugar camps since the 1800s and taught to a member of the Historical Society and staff member of the Somerset Historical Center in the early 1970s by actual coopers who were the last of their coopering descendants.

For more than 40 years we have offered historical coopering interpretations and coopering classes where more than 175 persons have learned the basics of coopering. Now we have the ability to meet the needs of coopers, especially those trying to learn the craft and might have difficulty finding quality tools and materials. The original tools are becoming scarce and some tools on the market are just not serviceable.

 

 

 


We have spent years trying to reproduce tools for use in our classes and for use in coopering demonstrations. We now have a craftperson who can reproduce many of these tools to our specifications using original examples found in Somerset County as patterns. These tools are hand-made individually so they each may vary slightly in size or design, but are some of the best coopering tool reproductions available today. This is a new venture for our small historical society to provide useable tools, share what knowledge we have learned over the years, and promote our museum. All profits will be used to support the educational programs, collections care, and historical interpretations of the HGSSC and sales will be administered through our Museum Shop at the Somerset Historical Center.

We are proud to finally offer this nice variety of tools and equipment. We are certain that they will supply many years of service and help coopers to continue the traditional techniques of the craft. Questions about the tools may be directed via email to c-mware@pa.gov or by calling (814)445-6077.

Beginners will find our annual school of coopering a delight and in the three days learn the basics and craft a keeler that they will take home. We supply the tools, equipment, and materials, but the class in limited to 12 participants per year. It is held in late spring each year.


 

 

All tools are patterned after originals found in Somerset County, PA, where a cottage craft coopering industry flourished to supply coopered containers for use in their numerous maple sugar camps.

Our tools are hand crafted to our specifications by a local artisan. Some are kept on stock, while others are made as ordered. We will eventually have a full line of coopering tools and supplies for the craftsperson, hobbyist, or museum interpreter. They come sharpened, but may need a final honing for ultimate cutting. We do coopering demonstrations as part of our museum interpretation and teach a school of coopering each spring. These tools will help the novice or experienced cooper fill their toolbox with serviceable tools.

Questions about the tools or their use may be directed to Mark Ware