Thursday, August 12, 2010
Aleut Bent Wood Hat Making
Bent wood hat making at the APIA Culture Camp was once again being taught this year by Patty Lekanoff-Gregory. Bent wood hats come in many different configuration from short visors to long billed visors to full-crowned chief's hats. Patty teaches them all.
Hats are bent over forms, this one being for a short visor.
And this one for a large visor or full crowned hat.
Blanks for the hats are cut out on a band saw from poplar stock sawed down to one half inch sheets. The blanks are then carved down in certain places to make them more pliable. Thicker ridges are left in strategic places to make the bent wood take on the proper shape.
Once completed, the blanks are kept wet to maintain their pliability.
When the time comes for bending, the carved blanks are put in boiling water till uniformly hot and then are bent over the bending from. Action at this point is very focused as you can see from the picture. The wood only stays hot and pliable for a short time. If you wait too long and the wood stiffens up, it may crack and hours of work carving go down the drain.
When the bending is complete, the hat is left to dry in its form. When dry, it can be removed from the form and will maintain its shape.
Here Patty and I are showing off the long billed visor she made for me.
My part of the deal was to make Patty a paddle.