Hat Making

Turning a wooden hat is not a complicated operation since it is really just a deep bowl with a wide rim. It does take a fair amount of turning finesse since even a small mistake that could be easily tolerated and corrected when turning a bowl can be the destruction of a hat.

Since the hat must be formed and bent after it is turned it is imperative that you start with freshly cut green/wet wood that will remain flexible through the process. A light colored wood such as maple is easiest to use since it is translucent when wet and a light can be used to judge the thickness. If a dark wood is used the turning is a much slower process since you must stop and measure more frequently.

For the best results and look the blank should be cut well away from the pith of the tree and the growth rings balanced on the center of the hat. A nicely figured wood will add to the beauty of the hat. One of my favorite woods is Ambrosia Maple as the brown streaks show off nicely on the brim and crown of the hat.

Following is a step by step photo essay of the turning process. Hopefully it is not too confusing. In order to fully illustrate the process there are pictures from several different hat projects.

For a better view click on any picture and step through the process. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.