to knock down

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To knock off the hoops of a cask when it is empty and gather up the staves for stowage until they are required for remaking the cask. In the days of sail, casks were a very important part of a ship's equipment, as most food for the voyage and all drinking water were carried in them. In those days all sailing ships of any size carried a cooper on board whose duty it was to maintain the casks in good condition, making new ones to replace any that had been staved accidentally, and retaining for future use those casks which had been knocked down.

Subjects: Maritime History.

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