Hat Making Tool: Custom Rounding Jack for the Brainpan Hat Shop in Sumner, WA with Scrimshaw Artwork

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 05-24-2008 12:50 AM 5032 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This Rounding Jack (Brim Cutter) was a commissioned piece, and so it has been sold.

If you would like something similar, please email me at

[email protected]


Video: What does this thing do? Watch this video by California Custom Hat Maker Tom Gomez from Premier Panama Hats using one of my Rounding Jacks on a felt 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


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Customer Testimony Printed with Permission:

Hey Mark,

“Finally had a chance to use the rounding jack. It works perfectly, I set it at 2 1/2 for this particular hat and it cut smooth and dead on. Wonderful, well designed tool. Thanks again for the great work.”

(Stacey Phelps – Brainpan Hats)

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Project Story:

With the World Premier of the new Spielberg-Indiana Jones adventure movie happening this weekend, hatshops around the world are gearing up for what they hope is a great summer. I hope that happens, as I just think the Fedora Hat style is cool looking with, or without Harrison Ford. Not all of us guys are as handsome, or talented as he is, but we can wear a hat like he does in the movie.

This project is a “brim cutter” that hatmakers use to cut the brims of Fedora and Western style hats. Actually, any style of hat can be cut, with a brim size ranging from 1.25”-8”.

The wood used on this project is Kansas Black Walnut. The rest of the parts are yellow brass. The inlay piece is synthetic ivory with the Customer’s Shop logo scratch with a knife by hand in a scrimshaw style artwork.

I enjoy mix-edia, and making things that are pretty and useful. The display stand is designed to sit on the hatmaker’s work bench and hold the cutter when it is not being used. The retractable blade can remain extended this way between uses. This particular stand shown in the photos is Quartersawn White Oak.

Stacey Phelps at Brainpan Hats found my posting of Tollikers here on lumberjocks and ordered them. Later, when he say my postings of the Rounding Jacks I was designing, he placed his order for one, serial number 2008-04.

Display Stand: This display stand is meant to make the whole project look like a functional-art sculpture, with the purpose of holding the Rounding Jack safely on the work bench when it is not being used. The stand holds the Rounding Jack when the blade is fully extended, or the adjustable crown band is fully extended.

To make the cut. The blade guard knurled nut is loosened, the blade dropped down and the nut retightened. The slider nuts are loosened and the desired cut width is indicated by the pointer, and the slider nuts are tightened. The hat is placed on a wood crown block to give a firm resistance to the pressure being applied with the cutter, and the brim is placed between the bottom brass plate and the bottom of the cutter. Then, depending on whether the hatmaker is a Clockwise, or a Counterclockwise cutter, the Rounding Jack is slowly moved around the contour of the crown while pushing the cutter toward the center (head). Felt Hat Blanks are very expensive, so after the cutting is complete, a big sigh of relief is heard from the hatmaker.

The Adjustable Brass Crown Band (in the last photo) on the front of the cutter is used when the brim is to be cut wider on the sides, than on the front and back. By adjusting the curve of the brass band, the cutter is pushed away farther on the wider curve of the crown sides.

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Here is a Slideshow with more of my Rounding Jacks Shown
Click the “Speaker” icon for music


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 dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5290 days

#1 posted 05-24-2008 01:06 AM

Beautiful…like something out of our history.

View Roger Strautman's profile

Roger Strautman

657 posts in 5110 days

#2 posted 05-24-2008 01:27 AM

Another one of those top of the line pieces, Mark. Your custom pieces are functional beauty. Would it be possible to get pictures of this being used? Thanks Mark!

-- " All Things At First Appear Difficult"

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5382 days

#3 posted 05-24-2008 01:35 AM

Thanks Dennis and Roger. I was in a hat store in Wichita on Wednesday and watched a hat being cut by this Rounding Jack, and didn’t have my camera on hand (duh!). I’ll try again another day. As soon as I walked out of the store, I knew that I needed to have photographed the moment. Incidentally, after “Hatman Jack” tried this cutter that I made for Brainpan Hats, he ordered his own cutter with his own Logo added. Another project posting for another day. Cool.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5302 days

#4 posted 05-24-2008 02:13 AM

this is really cool Mark. I like that you have the ability to find these extremely unique projects.
thanks for sharing your talents with us.

View Obi's profile


2214 posts in 5213 days

#5 posted 05-24-2008 02:27 AM

I’ve been wearing Fadoras for over 20 years, just because they’re cool. A throw-back from the 30’s and 40’s when gangsterin’ was the rage of the age. And pictures would be cool. And when you’re rich and famous, remember us little folk.

And again, very nice work.

You make some of us proud to say “I know that guy!”

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4744 days

#6 posted 05-24-2008 02:19 PM

cool, I’ve never seen one of those before. thanks for the post.

View Karson's profile


35269 posts in 5377 days

#7 posted 05-25-2008 02:06 AM

Mark Great job.

-- 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]

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