Degrees of temperature (in Fahrenheit) a fire must reach before the heat will make oak staves pliable enough to bend them into a barrel shape. To do this, a cooper (barrel maker) heats the staves over an open fire pot. Since the fire in the pot can reach 1,000°F, and the temperature of the wood, 400°, the outsides of the staves are constantly swabbed with a wet mop, ensuring that the wood doesn’t burst into flames. As the wood groans and softens, it is pulled into a barrel shape with the help of winches, as well as iron hoops.

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