- Any cooperage should always be kept wet or at least damp. That's
cardinal rule #1, and the rule we always tell all our customers. Simple.
Gary's first canteen, made about 10 years ago, and his personal canteen,
remains full of water to this day and is water-tight. No glues. No sealants.
Period. If you purchase good wetwork cooperage from a reputable cooper there
shouldn't be any wax, pitch, glue or sealant of any kind in the cooperage.
End of story.
However, if you've been slip-shod and allowed your canteen to dry out,
or have abused it some manner, you should first attempt to soak the canteen
for a few days, being sure the staves are sitting correctly on the heads.
Otherwise the staves may be skewed enough when loose that when the wood
finally swells again the staves won't be sitting in the croze, and the
canteen will leak. This applies to any wetwork cooperage.
If after that your canteen still leaks, you'll have to resort to some
form of sealant. Traditionally a paste of flour and water was and is used.
You can resort to beeswax. Much preferred over paraffin. Brewer's pitch can
be used. Had not heard of cinnamon before.
Please be advised that eventually the wood will fail if you've used some
form of sealant, as the wood will no longer be able to absorb water and
swell. It is the pressure of hoops against the wood that keeps cooperage
tight. At least, properly made cooperage.
For anyone who ever has any questions about how to care for their
cooperage, I invite them to visit our website and download the Care of
Cooperage page we have posted as a customer service. Or feel free to email
And apologies, Gary's not accepting any cooperage orders this year. He's
booked to the end of the year. He'll probably open again for orders late in
the year. Watch the website, or subscribe to the newsletter, for updates.
Remember, gentleman: wet or at least damp.
Five Rivers Chapmanry
historical sewing patterns; quality, hand-crafted cooperage; embroidery
supplies, and more.
www.5rivers.org - info@...
- Many thanks to all who responded to my question. I shall submerge the
canteen and see what happens in a couple of days before taking more
aggressive measures. I definitely will avoid parafin. The cracks are
right thru the centers of two staves one on bottom the other near the
top; they are very fine hairline cracks.
And by the way, yes I admit it, ...I am a closet canteen abuser.