A Cooper at the State Fair

Few things say Americana quite like a fair in August.    When I was a boy, I was in 4-H and since I lived on a dairy farm, my project was raising dairy cattle.   Each year we showed the cattle at the fair.    I was assigned to care for them; so I literally lived at the fair, sleeping in the hay by the cattle, for the week of the Bath fair, one of the oldest fairs in the US (http://steubencountyfair.org/).  

JoAnne also reminded me that one of our very first dates, the first summer we met, was to the Bath fair.    Later we started visiting the NY state fair, beginning a tradition for us that continues today   (http://www.nysfair.org/).   One of my favorite stops is the Agricultural Exhibit Building.   And one of our favorite things about it is the way it features old time skills and crafts that are being lost today.  

This year I was fascinated by a young man, David Salvetti, who was showcasing the old-time cooper’s trade.   He was fashioning a wooden bucket.   The conversation moved to whether or not the bucket would leak.  I suggested that the swelling of the wood in water would seal it.   He instructed me that if it was well made, it would not leak without relying on the swelling of the wood; and that if it were shoddily made, it would leak even with the swelling and he quickly and clearly showed me why.   I was very impressed.  David, who hails from Oswego, NY, is only 19, is self-taught, and his cooper work and knowledge of his craft is way more advanced than his age.  I asked if I could take some pictures to show you Americana lovers.

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