Have you ever wondered where we find so many talented craftsmen to share their skills at Sauder Village? Some craftsmen have been weaving or making baskets for years and others may have learned a new craft just to work at Sauder Village! To help celebrate “National Craft Month,” here are some thoughts from one of our coopers . . .
By Mark Breininger, Cooper
Becoming a member of the Sauder Village family came at the right time in my life. My father-in-law, a Master Cooper, encouraged me to visit Sauder Village and consider working in the Black Swamp Cooperage. I was hesitant at first because this opportunity was totally out of the realm of my life. I wasn’t sure how comfortable I would be speaking to hundreds of people each day and engaging guests who want to see and hear about being a cooper. However, I soon realized how much I love history and being a part of Sauder Village!
Learning the craft of coopering was made easy with the help of two knowledgeable coopers – Chuck Salsbury and Kenny Schang. Under their guidance, I learned the right way to make a quality wooden bucket, butter churn or keg. Learning this craft has taken me back 200 years! In the Cooper’s Shop we use the same tools as our forefathers. We start with a log, striking it with a froe, splitting the wood and shaping that piece of wood into a stave. Using the draw knives, shaves, scorps and planes I have learned to create items to hold dry goods, liquids and more.
Working as a cooper at Sauder Village is very rewarding and satisfying. At what other job can you meet people from all over the world on any given day? All of the talented craftsmen at Sauder Village make my job even better. They all love sharing the history and demonstrating their craft just as our founder Erie Sauder envisioned. I’m having so much fun making buckets and hope to be involved at Sauder Village for many years to come!