|Project by Mark A. DeCou||posted 09-29-2014 04:30 PM||1892 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
This is a woodworking project that was requested by an ongoing customer of my Hat Making Tools, named Tom Gomez. Tom is an amazing and creative person, who has overcome life-threatening health issues to become an entrepreneur pursuing his passion for design, style, and hat making. Below I have provided a link to a Video that Tom made to show off how he uses the rotary table in his work.
After Tom’s health issues developed, he needed to find a new career so that he didn’t have to travel, and could stay at home more. He already had a passion for hats, was already skilled in using his hands and in sewing, so he stepped out in faith to learn the craft of hat making.
When I first met Tom several years back through the hat making tools I am crafting/selling, he had just dedicated himself to the challenge of producing the finest quality hats, and making a living from the effort.
So, he started to acquire my hat tools, combining them with antique tools that I don’t yet build, and taught himself through trial and error and some advice from other hatters. Tom is a humble person, and it took some convincing for him to see the quality of his work. After he finally felt satisified that he could first produce a fine hat, THEN he started a company called Gomez Hat Company.
Tom is the type of person that won’t say “no” to a hurdle he has to jump, and won’t ship anything until it’s the best he can do. I determined early on in our relationship that he was the “real deal” and that all he needed was some encouragement, the tools to work with, the internet, and then discerning customers would find him. So, I set about trying to help him in whatever way he needed at the time.
Over the years, Tom has asked for me to build him quite a few new tools that he has designed to help in his work. Currently, he has the largest collection of my Hat Tools in his home-based hat studio, and that is no small accomplishment. He outgrew the first house, and had to move so that his work space could hold all of his studio supplies and tools, and work needs.
What we both have discovered while trying to earn a living in our “factory-made-throw-it-away-world”, is that hand-making anything for sale in our culture and living off the profits is a very challenging adventure. There are a lot of folks that make a little extra money with crafts, but few that are doing it for a living.
Together, we’ve laughed, cried, complained, and encouraged each other for several years now, and have developed a great friendship based on trust, hard work, and self-sacrifice.
When a relationship like that develops between two people, it is a win-win situation, and so we have both benefitted financially and spiritually from each other’s involvement.
Business relationships like this are not very fast in developing, are worth the effort, but still they seem to be few and far between in this “gotta-get-mine-first-world” we all find ourselves working.
My life has been greatly enriched by Tom’s involvement, and it’s a testimony to how two guys can meet through a silly website called Lumberjocks about woodworking, and having never met in person, can still learn to help each other through some of life’s great, and tough times. We are both walking and helping each other gain a bigger understanding of how much we depend on Divine Help and Providence.
This rotary table is a fairly simple looking woodworking project, an idea Tom came up with from some of his own research, and I was only able to make the idea come to life. He has been using it daily for the past few months, and did a YouTube video showing how he uses the tool in his work.
Since I started making Hat Tools and posting them on Lumberjocks several years ago, there have been quite a few requests for videos (nobody wants to read anymore) of how the hat tools are used. So, Tom quickly shows several tools in the manner in which he uses them. Hat Makers don’t like to reveal to their competitors the details of how they do their work, so finding a video that demonstrates any of the Hat Tools I make is rare, so I thought I would share it with the lumberjocks.
Tom shows the Rotary Table, the Band Block, and the Foot Tolliker. There are many other tools that he uses in the process of completing a hat depending on the style, and whether the material is hand-woven straw or fur-felt.
Here are some links to other Hat Making Tool videos Tom Gomez made for YouTube:
While you are in the Video Watching mood, there is another group of fine hat makers in Boston called Salmagundi. Here is a link to their Salmagundi Website
The Salmagundi artisans also made a video some time back about hat making and in the process they used some of my hat making tools that I made for them. I stumbled onto the video one day seeing what Google had to say about hat making, and was pleasantly surprised to find it and greatly encouraged that day.
Here is their Video on Hat Making
Shown are Band Blocks, Rounding Jack, and the Foot Tolliker.
If you have stumbled onto this project story as part of an internet search to find hat making tools, I sell all of the tools shown in the two videos, and many more, in my Etsy Online Store
Thanks for reading along, I know you are pulling for me,
Mark A. DeCou
-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com