Barrel (container)

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A barrel is a container, ranging from cylindrical to a more bulging shape, used to store all sorts of dry goods and liquids.

Wooden barrels are constructed from strips of wood called staves and end pieces called headers, with metal reinforcing pieces called truss rings. Softwoods can be used for barrels holding dry goods, but for liquids harder woods must be used and the fitting and shaping has to be much more precise. Barrel makers are known as coopers, and coopering historically has been an apprenticed trade.

Wooden barrels are no longer used much for liquid storage; instead, metal barrels and tanks are used. One exception is the wine and spirits industry, which still makes extensive use of oak barrels for storing and aging their product.