Hat Making Tool: Foot Tollikers, Hard Rock Maple & Black Walnut

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 07-10-2007 06:34 PM 15999 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of these Walnut Tollikers is made as a mirror image of the other three, as it is used inside of the crown to shape the lid on a Top Hat.

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


What does this thing do? Watch this video by California Custom Hat Maker Tom Gomez from Premier Panama Hats using one of my Foot Tollikers on a straw body Panama Hat. Here is a link to Tom's ebay Store

If the Player screen doesn’t work, click here to go straight to the youtube page

If you like Hatmaking Tool Videos, click here to see Tom use one of my Kettle Curling Irons



  1. To purchase a “Right Hand” Hardrock Maple Foot Tolliker, please visit this item in my Shop
  2. To purchase a “Left Hand” Hardrock Maple Foot Tolliker, please send me an email.
  3. To purchase a Black Walnut Foot Tolliker (right or left hand), please send me an email.

email: [email protected]


Project Story
I often take on unique and outdated craft projects in the midst of my other work with furniture, walking canes, knives, and scrimshaw artwork. Almost always, these unique projects come as a request from someone who has gotten frustrated trying to find either antique copies, or someone capable of crafting them.

Hatmaking tool crafting is a lost art, but hatmaking is gradually gaining a comeback. The problem is that there aren’t many antique tools to buy, and nobody making them. Hatmaking has been making a comeback with small hat shops where true craftsmanship is used to make artisan made custom hats.

Either Western, Fidora, or other historical hat styles, there appears to be more and more folks out there that are tired of dressing in ball caps with Nascar, or sports teams on them. Those discerning folks find it challenging to find hatmakers today, and hatmakers find it difficult to find tools.

That creates a niche for someone like me, willing to spend some time whittling, carving, shaping, sculpting, sanding, and polishing these tools. They aren’t cheap, but compared to a gallon of gasoline, or a cup of fancy coffee, a handmade original product like this that is useable for decades really doesn’t seem so high priced.

Tollikers are used to shape the hat for a customer during the process of making and forming a hat to a customer’s specification.

If you find yourself in the position of collecting, or using Tollikers, or other hatmaking equipment, I would appreciate your business. Please email me for more information, pricing, and such.

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Here are a couple of old drawings from Ermatinger’s book on how the Foot Tolliker used to be used.


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 -

14 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35201 posts in 4907 days

#1 posted 07-10-2007 06:39 PM

Well show it on the hat Mark. How do they work?

-- 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 MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4667 days

#2 posted 07-10-2007 06:45 PM

the look like little feet.

I imagine that the feel really nice in the hand. Very interesting – and beautiful

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4912 days

#3 posted 07-10-2007 07:12 PM

Karson: I did my best to show how I think these are used. I changed out the photo for one with a hat brim.

That’s funny Debbie. I see it now, but If I had seen the “feet” earlier, I would have carved toes on them for fun, as the customer would have loved that.

I made a “foot” handle once for one of my walking canes and it sold right away. I should have tried it here also.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4725 days

#4 posted 07-10-2007 07:13 PM

I thought you used them on your head to make it fit the hat. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4912 days

#5 posted 07-10-2007 07:17 PM

no Charlie, a hammer is used for that. The hat is steamed, and then fit over a wooden form (which are also obsolete) and then brim work is done with the Talicer, at least that is what I am told.

Once these Talicers are given as a present to the person that is to finally receive and use these, I will post the location of his business, a hat maker. Until then, I don’t want to spoil his surprise.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4753 days

#6 posted 07-10-2007 07:48 PM

Nice job Mark, I think, I’ve never heard of or seen one either. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4806 days

#7 posted 07-11-2007 12:13 AM

My Dad worked for a laundry, & dry cleaning company. When I was a little kid I used to go to the laundry with him. They used to block hats, & they had wooden forms for all shapes, & sizes. That was a full time job as a Hat Blocker.
I don’t think I ever seen a talicer. I just remember all of the forms sitting on the shelves.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4833 days

#8 posted 07-11-2007 01:17 AM

well, there’s something you don’t see everyday… pretty cool to help keep an old craft going.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4821 days

#9 posted 07-11-2007 01:51 AM

I once built a maple bumper for rope that hangs out of a B-24?’s tail. A twisted tapered bent chunk of wood. The old drawings were great! It challanged me. I just wish I could find the blue prints. What a very interesting job thoseTalicers are.

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4683 days

#10 posted 07-11-2007 03:33 AM

Here’s what I have found.

Is item 54 or 62 a “talicer”?

What about that device on the bench to the left of the man?

Felt hat terms that may be similar: Tenturer, a person who stretched fabric while it was drying

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4912 days

#11 posted 07-20-2007 09:18 PM

In the mail today I received a note from the customer, and a copy out of an old hat making book showing the use and proper name and spelling of this old tool. I don’t know what book title this came from.

Thanks for looking,

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-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View WayneC's profile


14358 posts in 4604 days

#12 posted 07-20-2007 09:46 PM

One more reference

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Gladhatter's profile


7 posts in 4286 days

#13 posted 01-20-2008 05:27 PM

You have done a lovely job on the tollikers.
The book quoted from is the 1920 scientific hat finishing and renovation guide published as the hatters bible by Roberts Cushman in a day when they was the major supplier of hatter supplies. We republised the book a couple years back as a service to the hatter community as most hatters only have a partial xerox copy of it. We contracted the Library of Congress to send us the full version.

You are obviously a master of the art. I am not sure why the job was done in walnut as I have never seen an original in walnut before and not sure really if it is the best for the job. We are going to offer these in Rock Maple later this year as well as the old Iron and Brass ones.

No reason to reinvent the wheel twice however and we hope to get you to just make the Maple ones for us to offer the hatter community.

I personally have about 100 of these in mixed wood and metals and combos and also a few varieties.

Again just simply lovely and beautiful work

-- Learn about traditional hat making at:

View mot's profile


4926 posts in 4543 days

#14 posted 01-20-2008 07:49 PM

Well, Mark, you do expose me to things that I would, otherwise, never have seen.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

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