Fitting a Baseball Hat on a Head
I posted this tutorial in a previous blog on Sept. 4, 2021 but it’s a topic that many carvers struggle with. So at the recent request of one of my readers I am revisiting the topic again this week.
The picture tutorial shown below demonstrates one method of how a baseball hat can be fitted onto a head to give the natural look that the head is actually inside the hat rather that the hat sitting on top of the head. This tutorial was kindly submitted by my good friend, Wayne Smith from Nova Scotia. The method is also the one used by the renowned carver, Lynn Doughty to fit cowboy hats onto his figures, and can be used for fitting any kind of hat onto a head.
Photo 1. Patterns used.
Photo 2. First carve, paint and finish the head. Then cut off the top of the head with a band saw, scroll saw or disk sander.
Photos 3-4. Carve the outside of the hat but do not carve anything on the inside yet.
Photo 5. Place the hat on top of the head exactly the way you want it to look. Then carefully mark around the head on the underside of the hat with a pencil.
Photo 6. Carve out a shallow area in the bottom of the hat staying inside your pencil lines.
Photo 7. Continue carving and adjusting the underside of the hat until it fits over the top of the head the way you want it.
Photo 8. Once the hat fits, carve the inside of the hat bill with a # 3 gouge to give it a rounded look.
Photo 9. At about the center of the head drill a 9/64″ hole about 1/2″ deep.
Photo 10. Insert a 3/4″ long 1/8″ dowel into the hole (the 9/64″ hole and 1/8″ dowel allow for a little play when fitting the hat for the final time). Blacken the end of the dowel with the pencil.
Photo 11. Refit the hat onto the head and press down firmly. The graphite on the end of the dowel will leave a black mark on the inside of the hat.
Photo 12. Replace the 3/4″ long dowel with a 1″ long 1/8″ dowel and glue it in place into the head.
Photo 13. Drill a 1/2″ deep 9/64″ hole in the inside of the hat. Fit the head into the hat (usually I only set the hat down over the head 3/6” to 1/4”… Just above the top of the ears ) just enough to give the impression that the head is up inside the hat and not that the hat is sitting on top of the head. Glue the dowel into the hat as you make the final adjustments fitting the hat on top of the head.
Tip: Paint and finish the head and hat BEFORE fitting them together.
NOTE: This method is the one used by Lynn Doughty on his Out West Caricatures.
Questions & Comments
Our first question this week comes from Jessi M about why wood grain raises when you wet it. Jessi writes:
“Hi Bob! I am new to carving, and look forward to your weekly e-mails. My question is not so much about a specific carving, but a bigger problem. When I finish my carvings, I sand with 100 grit, 220, then 2,000. It feels smooth to the touch. I then do 1/2 linseed oil and half mineral oil (as suggested in Woodcarvers Illustrated) and sometimes paint. BUT THEN I go to photograph it, and it looks fuzzy. It is specifically obvious around this Santa’s nose. What is going on here, and how do I fix it?”
Thank you for writing, Jessi. I’m glad you are enjoying Wood Chip Chatter and that you found a new hobby in wood carving. Like all of us, I’m sure you will get a lot of enjoyment from it. Your question actually has a very simple answer. Anytime you wet your carving with any kind of liquid it raises the grain of the wood. So even though you’ve sanded your carving as smooth as you can, when you wet it the liquid soaks into the wood, expanding the wood fibers and causing them to raise. This happens with oils as well as aqueous liquids. Sanding the fuzzy areas one more time with 600 grit cloth sandpaper will do the trick.
Photos reveal a lot of flaws in a carving so the carving will always look worse in the photo than it will to the naked eye. It’s actually a good idea to photograph your carving as you carve it, or just before you paint it. Any areas that need more carving or that don’t look quite right can still be taken care of, before you completely finish the carving.
Next we have a question from Jim Shay about a deceased carving instructor named Bryan Middleton of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Jim writes:
” I stumbled onto a YouTube video named “ Caricature Heads Day 1 and has a follow up named Caricature Heads Day 2. The instructors name is Bryan Middleton and was from Canada. He has passed away since these videos were made. My question is, do you happen to know of these videos and where a copy of the instructional hand out he used when he did the classes he taught ? His methods are so simple and informative. Even my old tired brain understands what he is teaching. I’d love to get my hands on one of his handouts. Thanks for reading my request, Jim Shay.”
Thanks for writing, Jim! I’ve never heard of Bryan Middleton but I did a little research and found out that he must have been a member of the Oshawa Senior Citizens Caricature Carving club in Oshawa, Ontario. Perhaps he taught lessons to the group and obviously made a few videos during that time…around 2016. Apparently he had heart trouble and must have passed away from that.
I suggest looking up the Oshawa Senior Citizens and see what you can find out that way. I have personally done some checking but am not able to find any contact information on the group. If anyone of our readers knows anything about Bryan Middleton or the Oshawa Senior Citizens club please let us know. Thanks!
Nicky Foley asked me to critique his “No Fishing” fishing scene carving:
Thanks for the opportunity to critique your carving, Nicky. First off, I like it a lot. It’s humorous and unique, and has a lot of well thought out accessories. Since it’s more of a “cartoon-type” caricature as opposed to a “realistic-type” caricature it’s hard to find anything wrong with it. I like the facial expression, glasses and the neat lettering. The tackle box and basket are really cool too!.
The main area I picked up on that you want to work on is the hands. Look, for example at his right hand…there are too many fingers. I realize the top one is supposed to be his thumb but the thumb should be wrapped the other way, around behind the pole. Look at your own hand as you hold a pole and you will see what I mean. His left hand has the same problem. The thumb should curve around in the opposite direction as the fingers.
Try carving the detail in the pants next time instead of burning it just to add a little more realism, and round off the edges of his arms so they don’t appear so flat. Little cosmetic things like these can make a big difference.
Overall, I like the concept and attention to detail. Well done!
Next we have a carving of a cowboy done by Wade Buie who would like some advice on it. Wade writes:
"Please give me any help to improve my skills
Thanks for sending in your photos, Wade. I appreciate the opportunity to critique your carving. I like the way you carved the rifle...very realistic job there. Good job on the hands and boots too. One of the first things I noticed is that you need to sharpen your tools. Some of your cuts are not crisp, particularly around the belt. Go with less wood burning. It's easy to overdo. For example, I would not burn the wrinkles in the clothing.
Another thing I noticed is that the crotch of his pants is too low. Make the legs a bit longer and bring the crotch up just a little higher. Then make the zipper longer. The zipper part of the pants should come almost right down to the crotch.
Lastly, I realize that hats come in all shapes and sizes but yours appears to be out of shape, and not fit his head quite right. There should be more curl to the sides and the front and back tend to reach straight out and almost downward. Study the photos below to see what I mean.
Just these few simple changes should make a big difference. I hope you’ll try another one and send it in for me to see.
This week we have a photo of a pair of Simple Snowman ornaments my good friend, Phyllis Stone carved from my article in the Woodcarving Illustrated Winter 2021 issue #97.
I really like these, Phyllis! Very nicely done, and personalizing the hats was a great idea! Thank you for sharing them!
News & Announcements
From Dan Gillen comes this information about the Texas Woodcarvers Guild, Spring Round-up:
March 25 – April 1 Kerrville, Texas
Texas Woodcarvers Guild, Spring Round-up
March 25th is setup and taking competition entries in the afternoon.
March 26th & 27th is the Texas State Woodcarving Championship competition, carving show & sale, 1 and 2-day carving seminars, and whitling contest.
March 28th – April 1st, 20 Carving instructors holding 64 carving seminars (1 and multiple day) seminars. Website https://texaswoodcarversguild.com/ contains all the details. Seminar registration and fee payments can all be handled online via the website.
ALL LEVELS OF EXPERTISE ARE WELCOME TO COME AND PARTICIPATE! (Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced).
Thank you, Dan! Really appreciate the information.
The International Association of Woodcarvers has upcoming Zoom meetings on the following Saturdays at 3PM EST with special guest presenters. Check them out…
2/19 – Kevin Applegate
2/26 – Dave Francis
3/5 – Rich Schneider
3/12 – Roger Beane
4/9 – Ray Meyer
4/16 – Steve Tomashek
4/23 – Joe You
4/30 – Chris Hammack
5/7 – Brett Andrews
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOODCARVERS
COME JOIN US!!!
With St. Patrick’s Day less than a month away I thought I would pass along this simple Leprecaun pattern I designed. I hope you’ll try it and send in some photos!
WOOD CHIP CHATTER NEEDS YOUR PHOTOS!!!
I’m sure you all have some terrific carvings to share in my “Photo Shop” section. Photos of your carvings help to liven up the blog’s appearance and make it more interesting. Also, my “Carver’s Corner” is a great way to get constructive critiques on your carvings so you can learn where to improve on your next ones. When sending in photos please specify whether you want them for display in “Photo Shop” or if you want me to critique them in the “Carver’s Corner.” Send your photos in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
KEEP THE CHIPS FLYING!!!
Send in your questions and comments so we can keep Wood Chip Chatter active and keep the conversations going! Effective discussions are one of the best ways to learn about the topics that interest you. Remember, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Plus we would all love to learn about the unique tips, techniques and products YOU use in your woodcarving process. Send your questions and comments to email@example.com. Thanks!
Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!