The dressing shop was the only non-cottage based part of the process. It was carried out by men known as "Croppers",
compared to the numbers involved in other processes their numbers were small. The Croppers were highly skilled craftsmen upon which the end quality and hence value of the finished product depended. A
well finished cloth's value could be increased by a third. Entry to the trade was strictly controlled and an apprenticeship had to be served, the skill was often handed down from father to son.
They even formed their own institution operating much like masonic societies.
They were well paid, for example an inn keeper of the time was quoted as saying "The cropper lads drink three times
the amount of ale per night the spinners do!". Records show the croppers were indeed being paid at least three times the wages of most labourers.
The craft that earned them such great esteem
and wages involved raising the napp, (loose fibers in the cloth). This was done by stretching the cloth over an upright frame known as a "nelly" and combing it with teasels attached to a wooden
frame. The cloth now with a raised napp would have a fluffy, furry surface that needed to be removed, this was done by laying the cloth over a "cropping board" (a long narrow table with a curved
surface). The cloth would then be pulled taut using a system of hooks and lead weights. Next, the cropper would use the huge cropping shears who's blades were curved to match the cropping board
to crop away the nap This resulted in a cloth with a smooth and even surface. The job was slow and laborious, the cloth needing to be continually advanced over the cropping table, the shears
themselves weighed in excess of 40lbs. The strength the croppers used to weald these shears would later be put to a less constructive purpose.