Project Tutorials


Top section of shaping frame

The shaping frame. I made this frame for shaping hats after seeing a video segment of Johannes Michelsen at an American Association of Woodturners symposium. It is best to let the hat set for about 12 hours after turning so the wood can loose most all it's moisture before trying to bend the brim. After I heard about this, I have not had any brims crack as I did when taking the hat right from the lathe to the frame. You can also use a light set over the hat to dry it quicker and the heat seems to help it bend easier also. Do not hurry the shaping. This is where I have broken hat brims trying to force the shape too quick. As the hat dries it, will shrink and you can slowly tighten the clamp and adjust the rubber bands. Leave the hat in the frame for 2 to 4 days to let the hat develop a memory and stay bent when removed from the frame.

Full view of hat in shaping frame

There is a square of wood at the bottom and four upright pieces with two concave shaped clamp faces at the top. Two pieces on the sides with holes drilled through for the all thread and wing nuts to apply clamping pressure. Wrap rubber bands over the brim and down to the frame to control shape.

Side view of hat while shaping

Side view of the hat and the arrangement of the rubber bands. You can see the hat is already turning down at the front and the back. I have sheepskin seatbelt covers on the sidepieces to prevent scratching or marring the wood surface when clamping.

Top view of hat while shaping

Top view of the hat with rubber bands stretched over it.

Hat being modeled

It never hurts to have a model for your hats that lives under the same roof.


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