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    Scroll Sawn Cowboy Hat

    image12.jpgI was inspired by seeing a wooden cowboy hat done on a lathe.  YouTube videos are always inspiring. Since a hat is similar to a bowl.  I had to start this wearable cowboy hat project. I found Cherokee Woods supplies thin stock  ⅛" thick.  In several types of wood.  This first one is maple.   Yep, I have more to make, canary wood, and black walnut is planned.

    Making The Pattern

    image14.jpgTo get the shape of my head I bought a curve tool for drafting big curves. This tool is 30 inches. The blue curve tool is shown in the brim section.  I wrapped the curve tool around my head pressing hard.  Then scanned it into the computer.  I traced the scanned and made it a path.  Inkscape has a linked offset and I created 7 linked offsets of 0.125 inches.  One larger than my head. For a liner space.  0.125 inches was calculated from an angle of 9 degrees on a 0.75-inch thick board.   Made the pattern, attached to hard maple ¾" board, and drilled blade access holes. 

    Step 1

    My first issue started by a drill bit broke inside the board.  I made a note on the pattern.  My fix was to leave it and drill another hole.  It turns out I did not need the smallest rings.  

    Then cut the first 2 large rings out.

    Step 2

    image13.jpg2 rings stacked, now for glue up thin stock for the brim.

    Now in preparation for the brim, I had to glue up (3) sheets 6 in x 24 in .   My plan is to have seams going front to back.  

    Step 3

    image15.jpgimage17.jpg2 more rings are cut and stacked.

    I decided to show how good / bad that I stay on the lines.  So I put the rings back where they came out of and get a zoomed in picture.  4 outer rings are cut, pattern shows lines.

    Step 4

    image21.jpg6 rings look pretty high for the crown.  I decided to stop there. 

    Cuts were done with #1 Pegasus MGT.  Since bowls use both top and bottom I wanted no bottom blade tear outs.  

    Each ring is about 23 inches around.  I got about ⅔  around before changing blades.  Once I pushed the dulled blade all around but my" follow the line'' was getting not very good.  I went slow, each ring took about an hour.

    6 rings , 6 hours but not all at 1 sitting.

    Step 5

    image19.jpgimage22.jpgimage24.jpgGluing rings was in steps. 2 smallest rings first. I used the center wood to clamp the rings down. The center is not going to be used.  I waited about 30 min before adding another ring. This made it easier to verify the alignment of sides. 

    I wanted to show how the edges line up from my gluing and show cut quality or the  lack of following the lines. 

    This next picture is straight down the ruler. You can see variations against the ruler edge.  Also see some ripple of the curves just to the left of the ruler.

    Step 6

    image26.jpgimage28.jpgHere it is all stacked.  This shows bad drilling issues.  Drill bits did not stay at 9 degrees. Drill bits drifted and bent a bit as it went through the wood. See next picture. The top center piece is still there from clamping.  Looks like 7 rings here.

    The next picture shows the wall thickness and how far off the bit was. This is the exit hole.

    Lessons learned here is get a stiff cobalt drill bit.  Also do not have drill holes in the same area.  

    Step 7

    Sanding time.  I have a palm sander "finish" sander I was using to sand down the ripples and edge mismatches.  After an hour I decided that the finish sander was not good enough.   I went and got an orbital sander. Within another 25 min the outside was sanded.  With all grits 100 down to 320.

    I decided to make a YouTube short video for the sanding result:


    This video also shows inside sanding results.  Not shown in video,  I used a hand drum sander and my hand powered drill to sand the inside crown. The sanding drum is the type you can cut sand paper and slip it inside a grove and lock it in.

    Final sanding grit is 320.  Total sanding time:  Outside 1hr : 25 min,  Inside 3 hrs. 

    Step 8

    image29.jpgimage1.jpgimage2.jpgWith the ring stack trace (center area)  the outside of the largest ring for inside if brim.  Carefully measure 4.5 inches all the way around .  This gives dashed lines. Taking the same curve tool that I used for my head,  I carefully drew a solid line on the wood for the outer brim.  

    Here (next picture) is the big board in the scroll saw.  See the tiny blade?

    Table angle is still 9 degrees. This will go over the top ring stack and match the sides of the bottom ring.  The throat of my saw is 26 inch Hawk. 

    image3.jpgimage4.jpgIt is starting to look like a hat.  Maybe a cowboy hat?  Pretty.  

    I don't like selfies, but I had to do a fit check.   Yep I look goofy. 

    Total project time around 12 hrs. 

    Do cowboy hats have flat brims?

    I had to do some research….

    Yes 2 of these guys have flat brims. These guys look good.

    Step 9

    image6.jpgSince I looked goofy I needed some bending of wood.  Most cowboy hats have some kind of angle of sides.

    Ok here goes some experiments.  Take  bar clamps across short side of table.  This allows excess bars to be used for support. I decided on with 2inch PVC pipes for a good radius curve for the wood. Sit the hat upside down on these PVC tubes.  Use wet paper towels to control water so the water does not go on glue seams of the brim.  Wet the wood on the outside edge of paper towels and soak the paper towel.  Really soak the wood.  

    I took this pic 5 minutes after soaking.  Top view pic first then bottom views.

    image7.jpgimage8.jpgI have light weight clamps on the right and left edges if the brim. These are the weights to pull the wood around the PVC pipes.  You can barely see the white pipes in the below picture.  The angle of the clamps show that the wood is bending . This is within 5 minutes of wetting the wood.

    ⅛ inch wood bends faster than I expected.  About 2hr later I checked on them the wood is bend around the white PVC tube. 

    image9.jpgimage10.jpgDrying time.   Slowly allow the bent wood to dry.  I covered the wet wood with paper towels. To keep some moisture. After a few hours I checked on dryness and paper towels were a bit too dry. So I lightly sprayed them. Them covered everything with plastic.  After a whole night there was still some, not much, moisture on paper towels.  So I covered it back up all day.

    image16.jpgAs it dried it opened up the angle quite a bit.  But the wood felt a bit cool still but looked dry. Using a thermometer gun I noted the wet wood was 4 degrees cooler than dry wood.  

    Here is a top view.  It is still drying.   I added a clamp on both sides for more weight.  The angle of the curve is the angle I think I want. 

    No cracks or splits are viewable.

    Step 10

    image18.jpgMake a crown top.  I just could NOT leave the top flat. So I decided to make the center top inside and level with the edge.   This shows the ring thickness and how it is made. Also most hats have sewing seams on top, not the edge.  Most "telescope" cowboy hats have a lowered part around the top and then it comes back up in the center. 

    The picture above shows a piece that was cut , then sanded to fit into the tip crown.  It's outside edge also has a 9 degree angle to match the crown angle.  

    Since this was made with maple wood I thought a maple leaf would be a good centerpiece.  This maple leaf is a separate piece and just glued on top.  Now this was cut at an angle of 45 degrees to show kinda embossing or a relief feel.  I did try to use a relief cut from ⅛ thick thin stock.  It would only stick up a little.  So I decide to just add a piece.   

    This 45 degree angle cut leaf was very interesting.  Very difficult to get sharp pointed leaves.  But even harder to get sharp corners near the leaf.  You can't approach the sharp corner the opposite way.  You need to keep the same clockwise direction through the whole piece.  I actually was going counterclockwise.   My magnifying glass is slightly on the right side of the blade. Having the table tilt low on the left, it was hard to see the cut edge.  Next time I will tilt the table low to the right.

    This maple leaf outline is from a Vermont website.  But Canadians do wear cowboy hats.  Yippee Calgary stampede rodeo.  But the leaf is just because it is made with maple wood.

    Final Assembly

    image20.jpgimage23.jpgimage25.jpgNow it looks like a cowboy hat.

    So I wanted to inject some glue between the crown and brim connection.  So I used a #18ga needle and Titebond 3.

    Next is a hard outer finish, ArmorSeal.


    Final Project



    Scroll Sawn Cowboy Hat

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