Historical information

Before setting the barrel head, the cooper smooths the inside surface of some barrels with a stoup, compass or circle plane and an inside shave (or in shave plane). A stoup or compass plane has a convex sole in both directions to work within the doubly curved staves of a barrel. The cooper smooths the outside of the barrel with a downright, another large-handled shave, and a similar scraping tool to finish off called a buzz. The final step is to fit the head and drive on wooden or steel hoops.

Making the barrel has taken a number of planes similar but different from those of other trades, each perfectly adapted to a cooper’s work shaping curved surfaces. And if he has done his work well, the barrel will hold the exact amount of liquid and not leak.


A tool unique to the cooper used to smooth out the inside of a barrel that has been in use since the making of wooden barrels and buckets for hundreds of years without much change to the design or how the tool is used.

Physical description

Compass or Circle face Plane

Inscriptions & markings