Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Preserving History with Cooper's Shed

By repurposing beams from Gronauer Lock once located on the Wabash and Erie Canal near New Haven, Indiana, Peter Cooper is preserving history in order to demonstrate some of his own. 

White oak beams from Gronauer Lock

The white oak beams from Gronauer Lock are dated as far back as 1837 and will be used to build Cooper’s Shed in the Pioneer Village at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Peter and his son will build the 10’ X 12’ shed in the traditional timber frame construction style, the same method that was used to build Gronauer Lock on the canal more than 175 years ago. With help from sawyer, Greg Baire and a Wood-Mizer LT50, these aged beams were precisely cut and turned into usable lumber for Cooper's Shed.

Peter Cooper (left) and Greg Baire talking about their next cut

In order to keep as much history of the original beams in place, Peter chose a Wood-Mizer to minimize as much log waste as he could. He said, "I knew that Wood-Mizer could cut the logs to the size I needed with minimal waste. I wanted to keep as much as the old hand hewed part of the log as I could and as much of the original log that I could. That's why I chose Wood-Mizer."

Greg Baire re-purposing 175 year old beams for Cooper's Shed

In the Pioneer Village, Peter Cooper will use Cooper’s Shed  to demonstrate the history of “coopering” which is the traditional method of making wooden staves and bounding them together to build barrels, baskets and tubs among other items. The construction of the shed will take place during 2014 and will be nearing completion around the time of Indiana State Fair in August. Stay tuned for updates!

For a brief history of Gronauer Lock, read 'A Lock on History' by Craig Leonard here.