Hat Making Tool: Kettle Curl Brim Roller, 3/4" Diameter Full Circle Curling Shackle

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 02-27-2009 10:35 PM 16178 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch


Kettle Curl Curling Shackle
Materials: Hardrock Maple, Brass, Abalone

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


Here is Hat Maker Tom Gomez of Premier Panama Hats showing how he uses my Full Circle Curling Tool to make a Kettle Curl in a Straw Body Hat. Here is a link to Tom's ebay Store

To See More Hatmaking Tool Videos from Tom Gomez:
  1. Foot Tollikers: click here to see
  2. Kettle Curling Tool: click here to see one
  3. Puller Downer: click here to see one:
  4. Pusher Downer click here to see one
  5. Rounding Jack: click here to see one


Project Story
This item is a hat making tool, used to roll up, or roll under, the brim edge of a custom hat. This is a new tool for me to offer, using a Full Roll-Over circle. I have built Half-Circle curling shackles before, but this will be the first of the Full-Circle style. I can build these in several different sizes, depending on the style of brim roll the hat maker wants to make.

This has been a pretty fun, but long process, to get this tool from concept to a production model. I started with it last June and tried a couple of prototypes, working the design myself. Then, the tool spent a couple of weeks with Hatman Jack at his shop in Wichita Once Jack and Amy had a chance to try it out, I went in to the shop and they helped me figure out what was right, and wrong, with the tool. Then, the reworked prototype spent a few months with Mike Moore at while he built some hats with it. Finally, last week he was ready to send me back the prototype and to have the first production model sent to him.

What’s a Kettle Curl?
Historically, this type of curl on Western Hats and Fedoras, is known as a “Kettle Curl”, with a roll up diameter of about 3/4”. There is also a Pencil Edge Curl that hat makers use, which is smaller in diameter, about the size of a Pencil, which would take a smaller curling shackle.

The name “Kettle Curl” comes from the olden days, when a cast iron tool was left on the kettle stove to keep it warm, and so the curling of the hat brim sort of just took on that name. Unfortunately, the name does not offer a complete understanding of the diameter of the curl. There are also names such as a “Cattleman’s Curl”. Also, as Western Hats have been used in Movies, the name of the movie has started to be used for the type of curl, such as the “Josey Wales”, “Gus Prentis”, “Pritzi’s Honor”, and many others. Also, the name of famous singers that wear Iconic hats also become used for the name of the curl they wear, such as the “Montgomery-Gentry”, or “Kid Rock.”

It is funny how we develop titles to help us communicate. The custom making of Iconic Hats has a pretty good following with collectors and hat wearers, and so hat making has been making a come back.

As I get photos back from customers, I’ll include some hat pictures so that you can see what the curling tool does for the hat maker.

Materials Used:
Hard Rock Maple
Abalone Shell (Inlay)


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 2008-2010 by the Author, M.A.DeCou., all rights reserved, no use allowed without expressed written permission.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

7 comments so far

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4743 days

#1 posted 02-28-2009 12:59 AM

But how do you use it?

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4912 days

#2 posted 02-28-2009 02:14 AM

I’m working on getting some photos on how the curler is used.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4907 days

#3 posted 02-28-2009 02:26 AM

Mark: a great took and developed by and with hat makers.

-- 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 scott shangraw's profile

scott shangraw

513 posts in 4575 days

#4 posted 03-01-2009 04:02 PM

Sounds like a lot of work for such a small item.Bet theres not many people doing this.I don’t know how you even know were to start !!!

-- Scott NM,

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4596 days

#5 posted 03-01-2009 05:00 PM

I love these little wooden tools you are making. They are just awesome.

I imagine the owners are thrilled to google “kettle curl brim roller” and find a fine tool like this one. Keep up the good work.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View mmh's profile


3679 posts in 4229 days

#6 posted 03-01-2009 05:08 PM

I wish I knew a hat maker. I’d point them in your direction for sure!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4743 days

#7 posted 03-01-2009 05:25 PM

Yeah, say I want to start the Obiwan Hat Co., what do I need first. I coulsd save a fortune on hats.

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