November 13, 2007

Making a hat block out of cork – Step 4: making a removable headsize base (optional)

Filed under: Making a cork block,millinery techniques and cheats — Cristina de Prada @ 10:55 am
Base with holes to hold up the block

The idea was to make a block that looked and felt as close as possible to the real thing. Having holes in the base to hold the block is really useful, an the central hole allows you to put the block in a stand.You don’t really need to do this. This layer can be just like the others, glued in and then sanded (and you can omit the three holes), but since I was going to make the holes and that was going to be time consuming, I thought it would be better to make the base reusable for other blocks of the same size.

But since I did it, here’s how…

I used a “hole saw drill” with it’s corresponding “hexagon adapter a.k.a. mandrel“. The circle has a diameter of 29 millimeters, and we used a drill press stand (that we’ve had for ages) that allowed us a lot of control on the depth of the holes and the perpendicularity. Afterwards we used a thick drill bit to empty out the remaining cork.

Drilling the finger holes... click to enlarge

To attach the base to the rest of the block I used a dowel kit and again the drill press stand, which is important in this case to make the holes perpendicular, otherwise it will not work properly. The idea is to make a first set of holes in one side, then you put a metalic pointed thing in the wholes (that comes with the kit), position the other side on top in the right position and press hard to leave a mark. Because it’s hard to see anything in cork, I glued a piece of paper, but you can just as well use some masking tape (it just didn’t occur to me at the time).

The result was great! And I’m really happy I did the whole thing.

One important detail is to leave sanding until later, when it’s properly assembled, so the whole thing will be smooth.

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