Hat Making How To Make Video Rotary Work Ironing Center Table Custom Spinning Millinery Felt Straw

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 09-29-2014 04:30 PM 3707 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Hat Making How To Make Video Rotary Work Ironing Center Table Custom Spinning Millinery Felt Straw
Hat Making How To Make Video Rotary Work Ironing Center Table Custom Spinning Millinery Felt Straw No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
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Project Story:
This is a woodworking project that was requested by an ongoing customer of my Hat Making Tools, named Tom Gomez. Tom is an amazing and creative person, who has overcome life-threatening health issues to become an entrepreneur pursuing his passion for design, style, and hat making. Below I have provided a link to a Video that Tom made to show off how he uses the rotary table in his work.

Here is a link to his video

After Tom’s health issues developed, he needed to find a new career so that he didn’t have to travel, and could stay at home more. He already had a passion for hats, was already skilled in using his hands and in sewing, so he stepped out in faith to learn the craft of hat making.

When I first met Tom several years back through the hat making tools I am crafting/selling, he had just dedicated himself to the challenge of producing the finest quality hats, and making a living from the effort.

So, he started to acquire my hat tools, combining them with antique tools that I don’t yet build, and taught himself through trial and error and some advice from other hatters. Tom is a humble person, and it took some convincing for him to see the quality of his work. After he finally felt satisified that he could first produce a fine hat, THEN he started a company called Gomez Hat Company.

Tom is the type of person that won’t say “no” to a hurdle he has to jump, and won’t ship anything until it’s the best he can do. I determined early on in our relationship that he was the “real deal” and that all he needed was some encouragement, the tools to work with, the internet, and then discerning customers would find him. So, I set about trying to help him in whatever way he needed at the time.

He has been marketing his work through an Etsy Online Store, through his Facebook Page, and through his own website

Over the years, Tom has asked for me to build him quite a few new tools that he has designed to help in his work. Currently, he has the largest collection of my Hat Tools in his home-based hat studio, and that is no small accomplishment. He outgrew the first house, and had to move so that his work space could hold all of his studio supplies and tools, and work needs.

What we both have discovered while trying to earn a living in our “factory-made-throw-it-away-world”, is that hand-making anything for sale in our culture and living off the profits is a very challenging adventure. There are a lot of folks that make a little extra money with crafts, but few that are doing it for a living.

Together, we’ve laughed, cried, complained, and encouraged each other for several years now, and have developed a great friendship based on trust, hard work, and self-sacrifice.

When a relationship like that develops between two people, it is a win-win situation, and so we have both benefitted financially and spiritually from each other’s involvement.

Business relationships like this are not very fast in developing, are worth the effort, but still they seem to be few and far between in this “gotta-get-mine-first-world” we all find ourselves working.

My life has been greatly enriched by Tom’s involvement, and it’s a testimony to how two guys can meet through a silly website called Lumberjocks about woodworking, and having never met in person, can still learn to help each other through some of life’s great, and tough times. We are both walking and helping each other gain a bigger understanding of how much we depend on Divine Help and Providence.

This rotary table is a fairly simple looking woodworking project, an idea Tom came up with from some of his own research, and I was only able to make the idea come to life. He has been using it daily for the past few months, and did a YouTube video showing how he uses the tool in his work.

Here is a link to his video

Since I started making Hat Tools and posting them on Lumberjocks several years ago, there have been quite a few requests for videos (nobody wants to read anymore) of how the hat tools are used. So, Tom quickly shows several tools in the manner in which he uses them. Hat Makers don’t like to reveal to their competitors the details of how they do their work, so finding a video that demonstrates any of the Hat Tools I make is rare, so I thought I would share it with the lumberjocks.

Tom shows the Rotary Table, the Band Block, and the Foot Tolliker. There are many other tools that he uses in the process of completing a hat depending on the style, and whether the material is hand-woven straw or fur-felt.

Here are some links to other Hat Making Tool videos Tom Gomez made for YouTube:

Using the Rounding Jack brim Cutter

The Foot Tolliker

The Kettle Curling Shackle

The Puller Downer

The Pusher Downer

Reblocking a Panama Hat


While you are in the Video Watching mood, there is another group of fine hat makers in Boston called Salmagundi. Here is a link to their Salmagundi Website

The Salmagundi artisans also made a video some time back about hat making and in the process they used some of my hat making tools that I made for them. I stumbled onto the video one day seeing what Google had to say about hat making, and was pleasantly surprised to find it and greatly encouraged that day.

Here is their Video on Hat Making
Shown are Band Blocks, Rounding Jack, and the Foot Tolliker.


If you have stumbled onto this project story as part of an internet search to find hat making tools, I sell all of the tools shown in the two videos, and many more, in my Etsy Online Store

Thanks for reading along, I know you are pulling for me,
Mark A. DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

9 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9068 posts in 4058 days

#1 posted 09-29-2014 04:44 PM


I really enjoy READING your historical/and at times hysterical (as in humor) (LOL) narratives. I also learn by seeing in ways I may not be able to translate from my experiences.

Thanks for the story around your creation and the visual helper to enhance my learning about the world.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5621 days

#2 posted 09-29-2014 05:24 PM

Thanks Doc, you and I may be the only two “READERS” left in this world!

A week ago I actually ran onto another person that also didn’t have a “smart” phone, we hugged.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Woodbridge's profile


3751 posts in 3634 days

#3 posted 09-29-2014 08:23 PM

Mark, you are a wonderful craftsman there is no doubt about that. You are also a fabulous story teller and writer. I enjoy reading what you post as much as seeing the pictures!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5621 days

#4 posted 09-29-2014 09:24 PM

From one to another, thanks for the encouragement Peter.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1984 posts in 3185 days

#5 posted 09-30-2014 01:35 AM

Mr. Decou, once again you always have a great presentation and such a good story to go along with it. Those links were really interesting too. As a hat wearer all the time, this is stuff I really appreciate. Great thinking; would never think of making tools to make hats! Pretty cool stuff

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3223 days

#6 posted 09-30-2014 12:35 PM

Count me as another who doesn’t have a smart phone … actually I dont have ANY phone at all! And that suits me just fine!

I really enjoy reading your blogs Mark. These stories about the hat tools are fascinating.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5621 days

#7 posted 09-30-2014 12:56 PM

Thanks Kaleb and Joe. I don’t have a cell phone either Joe. If I could figure out to make it happen, I’d operate only by personal visits and old fashioned hand written notes…...we all have goals, Ha. Here comes a telephathic hug for you also Joe…..did you feel it?

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View DocSavage45's profile


9068 posts in 4058 days

#8 posted 10-04-2014 12:54 AM

Yeah it’s hell when the phone is smarter than you. LOL! I got one so I could do credit card billing. Didn’t do research and got an LG phone which does not take a PayPal reader!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4020 days

#9 posted 10-04-2014 03:58 PM

Very cool. Does it count if I have one of the dumbest smart phones they made??? lol

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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