Johannes Michelsen
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Johannes Michelsen
Turning a Woodhat on a Lathe Girls Wearing Hats A Dog Named Java Manchseter Vermont Landscape
3 DAY Woodhat Turning WORKSHOP with HANNES

Join Johannes Michelsen and 3 other students in his newly renovated Vermont Barn Studio for a 3 day turning experience!
  • All Skill Levels Welcome!!!
  • Low Student to Teacher Ratio
  • Lots of Individual Attention
  • Hone your woodturning skills
  • Quickly Learn all new techniques
  • Gain a Wealth of Information on Wood
Try the new HANNESTOOL ergonomic gouges; learn the famous “Michelsen Grind” and all the techniques necessary to produce your very own Woodhat and MiniHat. TUITION: $650 Includes wood for your hats, breakfast and lunch all three days.
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This information is for the use of people who are having Johannes Michelsen as a demonstrator or instructor. If you have any questions please call or email. The links above are several documents that describe the courses I teach, in those you will find all that you need to know as far as equipment goes. Please note that the light I need should be highly movable; I use a desk lamp, so I can swing it around from in to out on the hat as I work. I will bring my own live center w/ cone so as long as the tail stock is #2 taper we’re in biz, if not you’ll need to supply one that fits and has a cone large enough to fill the hole in the face plate for when I reverse the hat onto the chuck to turn the out side.
Hat Block Diagrams
Cutting blocks to these ideal shapes is hard if you don’t have the right band saw but with a little time and care it can be done with a chain saw. It is important to have the two faces be as parallel as possible and otherwise as round as possible to ease the start of the turning process. Obviously the mini sizes can quickly come to this shape on the lathe so they don’t need to be ideally cut but you will need the dimensions indicated.
Light Box Rechuck Diagram
For Finishing Top of Hat The Light Box Rechuck is made of a glued up stack of 2” mahogany or other stable wood or even MDF. Tapered surface needs to be covered with 1/8” Neoprene, fabric side out applied with spray adhesive. If you can’t find Neoprene I could send you some. Spray both the Neoprene and the taper, cut the neoprene extra wide then wrap to fit taper double cut the overlap and trim away excess at edges.
Light Box/Rechucks
shown with cover/snout for finishing top of Mini Hats. It gets applied with three screws.
Light Box
Close up of Light Box w/ cover.
Rechuck without dedicated Faceplate
shown going on to chuck. This is the good for me when I travel since there is always a chuck I don’t have to worry about thread or spindle size. At home I have two rechucks with dedicated Face Plates that I use because its quicker.
The Light Rod going into the recheck
Light Box Bearing
Shows how the bearing (available at auto parts stores) is held in place by two nuts, so it really doesn’t have to be a real good fit on the rod and the O D can be whatever since you are going to turn the recess for it to fit into.
Holding The Light Rod
Holding the outboard end of the light rod can be accomplished in several ways, shown here are three ways that I use. Some lathes allow the simplest of all – just a pair of vice grips.

With hand wheels in the way the use of a wooden spring attached to the lathe base is good.

The best is to make a wood insert that fits outboard conditions and has another bearing inserted in it.
Small Delta lathe
dedicated to the topping of Mini-Hats. Rechuck shown with 2” sub mini snout attached (notice red index around screw so I use same holes each time.) Also shown are the 3” snout and the 1” micro hat snout which jam fits onto the 3 incher
Bending Jig Diagrams
For Shaping Hats I have several benders ranging from 27” – 33” in height. The base blocks are 7” square, the uprights are as shown and are made of ash or oak. If you use less springy wood then they should be made a little thicker, even pine will work but no in the long run. All dimensions are approximate and arbitrary. The “Jaws” should be curved to the average curvature of the side of a hat. Notch the jaws to keep the uprights separated about 3” then attach the uprights to the base block with 3” spacing as well. The tightening blocks with the threaded rod through them are notched to fit in that space to keep them on track. Please see photos for details and rubber band placement.
Bending Jigs
as you can see I have several. None of which are just as I have drawn in the diagram. The drawing in the diagram is of the ideal bender based on what I’ve learned from the ones I have, I need to build some of those so I can let go of some of my “oldies.” Some of the old ones are too stiff and one (built for travel) has springs that are too thin and flexible. The dimensions given in the diagram should yield the perfect bender.
Cross bar rod block with T nut
3/8 Threaded rod has wing nut on opposite end.
Curving jaws of benders with neoprene glued on.
Rubber Band application
from cross block screw then across and up between the legs over across the hat down and over between the other pair of legs and out to the screw on the other cross block.
Hand screw clamps;
these are not essential if doing one hat at a time I use them to fine tune the bend and to free up benders for subsequent hats.

Notice how the jaws where cut away to make room for extreme brim bending on the Range Rider style. All hats do not need this.

This photo shows hat with stop block in place which holds correct width for final bending and drying while jaws squeeze the side of the hat to shape, with extra pressure to flatten the bubbles that appear on the sides of most hats as they bend.

As to the wood choice a light colored wood is best, it makes a good demo if a lot of light comes thru the wood. At home I like to use Red Maple so what ever you’ve got that’s sort of comparable to that would be fine. The bending jig and light box attachments are for your info and I included them so if anyone wants to build these they can use this layout. I will be bringing my own for the purposes of the demo.
PO Box 562 Manchester Center Vermont 05255 802-362-3481