Hat Making Tools: Band Blocks, Four handy Styles in Various Sizes and Oval Shapes

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 07-28-2009 08:15 PM 14142 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here are photos of typical Band Blocks, used by custom hat makers.

You can check the current inventory of band blocks, and other hat making tools that I build by clicking here


Project Story:

Custom Hat Makers use Band Blocks in the final shaping of a hat to a customer’s head size and shape. They also work well to find the cross-hair centerline of a hat, especially if the hat maker is refurbishing finished hats. Each Band Block that I make has carved cross-hair lines on them, for that purpose. Finding the centerlines of an oval when I’m making the Band Block, is much easier than finding it on a finished hat, so I added that feature to my product, and the hat makers really appreciate the added carved lines. Vintage Band Blocks that I used to make up my templates and drawings didn’t have the cross-hairs, but maybe in the old days there was another tool that did that job for the hat maker.

The other advantage of an accurately made oval Band Block is that it can be used to shape a sweat band size that is a little different than a Hat Block that the hat maker has on hand. Hat Blocks are rare, and expensive, and so if they have a 7-1/2 Regular Oval Fedora Style Block, but their customer needs a 7-1/2 Long Oval Hat, they can make that adjustment to the sweat band area of the felt with the Band Block of that size and shape. So, it’s a less expensive way to have more options without having a wall of shelves with various Hat Blocks.

This project looks pretty simple from a woodworking standpoint, and I guess it is. The complicated part is getting the exact shape, size, and edge taper needed by a hat maker to accurately build hats. As I’ve discovered in my research, many of the band blocks sitting in hat shops around the World are made wrong, too thin, broken, out of shape, or not accurately sized. This makes the guess work in hat making a frustration to custom makers. So, I’ve been making the Band Blocks to an exact size and shape to fix the hat maker’s typical problem with these old tools.

To get that techincal information, I’ve had to copy a vintage tool that I borrowed from Hatman Jack in Wichita, Kansas, who is a constant and ready resource for my hat making tool adventures. He got me into this adventure, and he is has always been willing to help me when I needed information, or vintage tools to measure.

I started this project design in late-Spring at the request of one hat maker, and have been taking orders for copies this summer. I’ll have more photos in a couple of weeks, and will add them then.


Shown in the photos are two styles:
  1. Poplar Wood, Flat Bottom w/ a center hole
  2. Poplar Wood, Flat Bottom w/ 1” x 4” Hand Pull Hole.
Not shown, but available also are:
  1. Poplar Wood, Curved Bottom, w/ a center hole.
  2. Poplar Wood, Curved Bottom, w/ 1” x 4” Hand Pull Hole.
  3. Old-style Bottom Board, as seen on Page 57-58 in Ermatinger’s book on Hat Making. I’ll get photos of that soon.
Sizes Available (American Measurement):
  1. Hat Size 6-1/2 (Circum. 20.47” or 52cm)
  2. Hat Size 6-5/8 (Circum. 20.87” or 53cm)
  3. Hat Size 6-3/4 (Circum. 21.26” or 54cm)
  4. Hat Size 6-7/8 (Circum. 21.65” or 55cm)
  5. Hat Size 7 (Circum. 22.05” or 56cm)
  6. Hat Size 7-1/8 (Circum. 22.44” or 57cm)
  7. Hat Size 7-1/4 (Circum. 22.84” or 58cm)
  8. Hat Size 7-3/8 (Circum. 23.23” or 59cm)
  9. Hat Size 7-1/2 (Circum. 23.62” or 60cm)
  10. Hat Size 7-5/8 (Circum. 24.02” or 61cm)
  11. Hat Size 7-3/4 (Circum. 24.41” or 62cm)
  12. Hat Size 7-7/8 (Circum. 24.80” or 63cm)
  13. Hat Size 8 (Circum. 25.20” or 64cm)

Oval Shapes Available:
> Regular
> Long Oval
> X-Long Oval
> Wide Oval
> Special Shapes to fit a Conformateur Reading of a person’s head shape.

Side Taper:
> Nobody’s head is straight up and down. Sure, Band Blocks are cheaper to make that way, but I prefer to build them with a the proper side taper used on vintage tools to fit the true nature that a sweat band fits the head. The taper that I use is a proprietary detail of what I’m selling, but if you wish to specify what you would like to see, just let me know.

Block Thickness:
> Specify preferred board thickness, typical is 1-3/8” to 2” range.

Didn’t See the Size You Need?
Note: If you are hat maker, and I have not listed the size, or oval shape you need, send me an email and I’m sure I can come up with the Band Block you need.

Mark DeCou


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 -

3 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5353 days

#1 posted 07-28-2009 08:42 PM

Congratulations Mark!

It seems like you’ve found a lost trade that’s making a comeback.

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

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4974 days

#2 posted 07-28-2009 08:46 PM

So how would a hatmaker use this?

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 5300 days

#3 posted 07-29-2009 03:17 PM

You must have found customers for these you’re still making them. Good for you Marc.

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

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