Willow sticks are processed into hoops to hold the staves of butter and herring barrels together. The willow is only suitable when it is three years old. The hoop maker grows and harvests his own willow, which he makes into sticks. They are split and cut, turned by a bending machine and placed in a round mold. The slats are attached to each other by means of a special knot with willow twigs. The hoop is ready to be used by a cooper for barrels or casks.
Mr. Van den Brand learned the craft from his father, who learned it from his father.The knowledge was therefore passed on from father to son. Mr. Van den Brand is now training five people in the craft to pass on his knowledge and skills to a new generation. Making hoops is an old craft that was very functional and important for making tubs and barrels. They could be made in all shapes and sizes. When there was no more sales area, the craft was wasted away. In the 60s the craft disappeared forever, but the knowledge and skills were preserved and are now being passed on again.