Hat Making Tools: Restoration and New Parts for the Maillard Allie Conformateur and Formillon

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 01-15-2009 08:56 PM 18646 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch


My work on this antique Conformateur & Formillon consisted of:
  1. Building all new wooden “L” Shaped Ebonized Walnut finger keys
  2. Building one new brass Push Pin on the top, and doing a thorough calibration and cleaning.
  3. Replacing one broken Formillon Finger, and one Mis-matched Finger.
For other Maillard Conformateurs & Formillons, I’ve built:
  1. New Primary and Secondary Springs for the Lid Latch
  2. Supplied replacement rim washers.
  3. New base platforms (aka “Plot”) for the old Maillard Allie Formillons, click here to see an example
In addition, I can build:
  1. The upright Ebony curved gusset parts that hold up the Top Pin Board,
  2. Build replacement Push Pin Wood Boards
  3. And repair, or replace the main wooden Perimeter Ring.
  4. Custom Designed Carrying Case, click here to see an example

If you have an old Conformateur that needs some tender loving care, and you’d like me to do the work for you, send me a note, and we discuss what steps to take. However, I don’t offer free advice on how to restore your own tools, I do this for a business, and as such, I need to protect what I’ve learned.

Here are photos of another Maillard Model Conformateur that I restored


Purchasing Formillon (Formillion) Replacement Parts:
  1. Plot Board for your Maillard Formillon
  2. Wood Thumbnut Tightening Wrench
  3. Wood Clamping Ring with new Cork base
  4. Cork Pad
  5. Sliding Finger Keys for a Formillon, (I will need to have the entire Formillon to make the fit of the new fingers possible, and I am unable to give a quote on the repairs until I see the condition of the tool.

ARE LISTED IN MY ETSY.COM ONLINE SHOP, click here to check inventory

Formillon Restoration Work?:
If you have an old Formillon that needs some help, I can build whatever new parts it needs, but I need to have the whole Formillon shipped to me. Each of the finger keys are custom fit and shaped for it’s specific spot, and there is no way I can do that without having the whole Formillon here for the fitting.

If you found this project posting while doing some google research of your own, I have another conformateur Restoration here. I know that it may seem odd in the era of free youtube videos for just about anything you want to find out about, to read that I’ll only share the finished photos for history’s sake, but I will not do free appraisal work, nor will I tell you for free how to restore and calibrate your own Conformateur & Formillon, nor will I provide you with the details of how the tools are used to make an accurate head measurement. Some things aren’t free. Sorry to be such a mean-sounding guy, I’m not really, I just can’t afford to help for free all of those people that contact me about these rare and expensive tools.

Thanks for looking,
Mark DeCou

(Note: project story, photos, and design are protected by copyright 2009-2012 by the Author, M.A. DeCou, and no unauthorized use in total, or part is allowed without expressed written permission.)

Artisan Hat Tools by Mark DeCou Studio
(Do you want to see More? Just follow these links):

ARE LISTED IN MY ETSY.COM ONLINE SHOP, click here to check inventory

Rounding Jacks, Collector’s Editions:
  1. Ebonized Walnut Clockwise with Laser Engraving
  2. Walnut Counter Clockwise w/Laser Engraving
  3. Walnut Uni-Directional Cutter
Rounding Jacks, Deluxe Model:
  1. Maple Deluxe Model, Counter Clockwise Cutter
  2. Maple Deluxe Model, Clockwise Cutter
  3. Walnut Deluxe, Counter Clockwise Cutter
  4. Walnut Deluxe, Clockwise Cutter
Rounding Jacks, Hobbyist-Hatter Model:
  1. Walnut Hobbyist-Hatter Model, Counter Clockwise Cutter
  2. Walnut Hobbyist-Hatter Model, Clockwise Cutter
Bench-Top Display Stands for Rounding Jacks:
  1. Walnut Bench-Top Display Stand
  2. Oak Bench-Top Display Stand
    Click here to check inventory
Customized Rounding Jacks, Personalized for Specific Hatters:
  1. Spradley Hats in Apline, TX
  2. Rachel Pollock of La Bricoleuse
  3. Brainpan Hat Shop in Sumner, WA
  4. Steve Delk's Adventurebilt Hat Co.
  5. Marc Kitter's Adventurebilt Hat Co.
  6. Pyrate Trading Co.
  7. Hatman Jack at Wichita Hat Works
  8. Inaaya Hat Co.
  9. Penman Hat Co.
Formillons & Conformateurs:
  1. Complete Restoration of a Maillard Conformateur and Formillon
  2. New DeCou Formillion & Conformer, Prototypes #1 & #2
  3. Custom Designed Conformateur Carrying & Storage Case
  4. New Plot Base Board for the Maillard Allie Formillon
  5. Maple Wrench for Tightening Formillon Thumbnuts
Foot Tollikers:
  1. Left-Handed & Right-Handed Foot Tolliker
  2. Foot Tolliker: Elk Antler & Birch Wood, on a Display Stand
  3. Foot Tolliker: Walnut Wood, on a Display Stand
  4. Foot Tollikers: Three in White Birch Wood
  5. Foot Tollikers: Walnut Wood Set of Four
  6. Foot Tollikers, Birch Wood Double Set, on Display Stand
Brim Edge Curling Tools:
  1. Hinge-Shackle Curling Tool for the Homburg Hat
  2. Full Circle Shackle Curling Tool
  3. Half Circle Shacking Curling Tool
  4. Groove Tolliker Curing Tool
Band Blocks:
  1. Thick Poplar Wood, Various Sizes and Oval Shapes, with Tapered Sides
Crown Blocks
  1. Long Oval Crown Block Sculpting Work
Hat Block Spinners:
  1. Late Turned Hat Block Spinners
Flange Stands:
  1. Heavy Duty Flange Stands
Puller Downers:
  1. Puller Downers
Pusher Downers:
  1. Pusher Downers
Hat Racks, Hat Stands, & Cedar Band Blocks:
  1. Hat Racks to keep oval shapes
Stainless Steel Slip Stick:
  1. “Coming Soon”, please check back.

(Note:This project story, project design, and photos are protected by copyright in 2008-2012 by the Author, M.A.DeCou., all rights reserved, no use in whole, or part, allowed without expressed written permission.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

8 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5246 days

#1 posted 01-15-2009 09:16 PM

Mark, this is a great project. I’ve had my head stuck in a couple of these as have lots of cowboys. They really help a hat maker build a hat that feels good from the git-go. I’m glad these guys have found you. A lot of the old equipment I’ve seen in these shops is in sad shape. Once the word gets out there you will be covered up. Good for you!!!

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

839 posts in 5117 days

#2 posted 01-15-2009 09:59 PM

Very very cool. They look very complicated and interesting. I think it is wonderful that you are keeping these machines going and the collectors happy. I surely hope you make a buck!!

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 5149 days

#3 posted 01-15-2009 10:48 PM

Wow. That is a crazy looking tool.

-- He said wood...

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 5016 days

#4 posted 01-15-2009 10:57 PM

Cool stuff as always. Definitely looks like a book in the making!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5684 days

#5 posted 01-15-2009 11:41 PM

Neat Mark. Found a use for your new Walnut huh. All those logs should give you lots of little fingers.

A great way to enjoy life.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5689 days

#6 posted 01-15-2009 11:45 PM

No Karson, those logs are still drying. This is walnut that I’ve been moving with me everywhere I’ve lived since 1997. Glad I’m getting a chance to use IT though.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5598 days

#7 posted 01-16-2009 12:49 AM

What a strange and wonderful set of skills you have developed. Half craftsman and half mad scientist. My hat’s off to you. ( I thought that last line was funny)

View Zee's profile


5 posts in 4798 days

#8 posted 01-16-2009 01:39 AM

Well done Mark!

That’s one fine piece of kit! Far braver man than I to attempt to restore that, though wouldn’t mind getting my hands on one to use.
Just to let you know, the gear you crafted for me are working a treat; I’ll be making another homburg for my cousin – will send you a picture.
Again, brilliant work on the conformateur.

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