Hat Making Tool: Foot Tollikers, Double Set on a Display Stand

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 03-28-2008 04:03 AM 5590 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Hat Making Tool: Foot Tollikers, Double Set on a Display Stand
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Sold (3-28-2008) – this matched set of Birch Tollikers has been sold and is headed to the Brainpan Hat Shop in Sumner, WA.

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]

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Project Story:

These white birch tollikers were custom made for a hatmaker in the state of Washington. He found my other lumberjock posting on Tollikers, and contacted me to commission the work. The inlayed “dots” are turquoise and abalone, used to match each tolliker up to it’s position in the display stand. The display stand is walnut.

I read on the internet recently that in the United States a “Tolliker” is called a “Tolliker”, but in England, it is called a “Dummy.” But, I don’t know that for a fact. Tollikers, of Dummys are used to shape the hat for a customer during the process of making and forming a hat to a customer’s specification.

Hat tool crafting is apparently a lost art, but custom hatmaking itself is gaining a comeback, and I’ve enjoyed seeing how many folks are taking up hatmaking as a hobby. The problem for them, is that there aren’t many antique tools to buy, and really nobody making them. When the tools do show up on eBay, they are often broken, or there are way more buyers than there are products to buy. Each time a hat tool is on eBay, I get a couple of emails after the bidding has closed with a photo of the product, asking if I could make it.

Whether hatters make Western, Fidora, Top Hats, Millinery hats, 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, a woodworker, who is willing to spend some time whittling, carving, shaping, sculpting, sanding, and polishing these tools. There isn’t any easy way to make these, just carved from a block of wood, sanded smooth, and then polished with a muslin wheel. 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. At least to me.

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.

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 -

7 comments so far

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 4833 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 04:11 AM

as nice as the tollikers are themselves, I like the added stand. it really completes the project.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4273 days

#2 posted 03-28-2008 04:24 AM

Nice informative post.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View HallTree's profile


5665 posts in 4274 days

#3 posted 03-28-2008 04:40 AM

Very interesting project.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4293 days

#4 posted 03-28-2008 08:19 AM

These tools are beautiful in their own right. Like Darryl, I like them in the stand. I have never seen anything like them and don’t fully understand how they are used. I’m one of those guys tired of ball caps but the hats I wear now are made of cloth. I suspect these tools are for use on pounded felt or wool hats.
Looks like you may be carving them to suit a specific customers hand, right?

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

657 posts in 4640 days

#5 posted 03-28-2008 01:05 PM

As the norm, you have added a touch of artwork with the functional to make beautiful pieces.

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View Ad Marketing Guy - Bill's profile

Ad Marketing Guy - Bill

314 posts in 4305 days

#6 posted 03-28-2008 01:33 PM

GREAT POST – showing your craft and the craft of another. VERY informative! Thanks

-- Bill - - Ad-Marketing Guy, Ramsey NJ

View dlcarver's profile


270 posts in 4236 days

#7 posted 03-28-2008 01:49 PM

Beautiful !


-- Dave Leitem,Butler,Pa.,

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