Article: Jerry Measimer Demonstrates For CMW April 8, 2017

Jerry_Measimer_at_CMW_demo: Jerry With Hats:

April 11, 2017 13:55, submitted by Tina Collison (author: Ross Lynch, photos by Tina Collison)

Jerry Measimer Demonstrates for CMW April 8, 2017

Jerry Measimer comes to us from Richfield, NC. He is full time employed and woodturns as a “second” job/love. He has been mentored by Nick Cook, Dick Sing, and especially Chris Ramsey. He is best known for hat making and taught us how to make a cowboy hat today. The demo was full of pearls and good instruction, but was also similar to an Andy Griffith stand-up routine- “what it was, was hat making!”

Jerry starts with 20’ logs when making a full-size hat and uses green wood. He especially likes ambrosia maple. His first cuts are all with the chain saw to cut an 8-inch side grain blank out of the log. He then strips off the bark and cuts the log so there is approximately a two-inch area towards the center of the blank that will be the brim and angles back the remaining six inches beginning a conical shape. He then places the blank on the lathe with a face plate on the brim side and a live center on the tail stock.

From here he roughs out the blank to make a cone and flatten the top to take a face plate. Here comes the first real pearl-Jerry showed a simple homemade jig for centering a face plate. He now moves the face plate to the top and reverses the blank on the lathe. He again true up the blank and makes sure the brim is flat and that the banjo will pass under the blank. He trues up the brim side and cuts an expansion recess for a chuck. His technique is shown with multiple pearls revealed.

The blank is reversed again; the tail stock brought up, and the blank is trimmed down to a top of the hat of approx. 6.75 inches tall, 6 inches wide at the top (size of face plate), and the brim 1.5 inches. In his shop, he has a technique for saving a part of this wood to make a picture frame. It has more risk to it so he does not do this at demos. At this point he makes this decision on the actual shape of the hat.

For the cowboy hat he tapers the top from 6 inches leaving it slightly wider as he tapers towards the brim and makes the band. This is followed by making a soft curve downward from the center out on the brim. He now removes the chuck, reverses the hat and places the faceplate (still on top of hat) back on the headstock. He now removes the tailstock and turns the brim to a uniform thickness of 1/8 inch. He gives several pearls on how to use a light and proper caliper technique to achieve this. At this point the morning session adjourned.

The afternoon session began with the hollowing out of the top of the hat. He again used the light and calipers to gradually work his way into the hat achieving uniform thickness of 1/8 inches and a depth of approx. 4.5 inches. He showed the various grinds and sizes of tools used to do this and emphasized the importance of frequent movement and height of the tool rest.

At the bottom of the hollowed out top he showed how to achieved a slight convex interior and prepare the corners so the final shape of the top would have uniform thickness. He had a hat he had bisected to visually show what was being achieved. At this point he would completely sand the inside and the brim, and place 50/50 lacquer on the inside. The hat is now removed from the lathe.

He next showed a homemade jam chuck (same one he made years ago) for finishing the outside top of the hat. He also showed a homemade light that can be mounted inside the jam chuck to help facilitate making the top the same uniform thickness. He now removed the faceplate and brought up the tailstock with a live center. He cuts away the waste wood towards the headstock instead of across so as to avoid slight movement on the jam chuck. At this time, he also colors the band (today he used padauk and ebony). Once most of the waste wood is gone he turns on the light and slowly thins the top. Once it is nearly done he removes the tail stock and gradually turns off the nib. Jerry would now finish the sanding.

At this point, Jerry showed another “old” homemade jig he made for shaping (bending) the brim. He leaves the rubber bands on for 12 hours with lights above and below. He will then make further adjustments-i.e. tighter rubber bands etc. At the end of the demo Jerry quickly showed how to size a hat and described a plywood template for making the interior oval so the hat will fit the head properly. We then adjourned.

Thank you, Jerry, for an informative demonstration.

Submitted by Ross D. Lynch