Despite the fact that I started this project with the base, the point was for it to hold hats. I didn’t like the design of the rack that started this whole mess. I wanted a hat rack that would display the hats in a way you could see the fronts of the hats. I also wanted the ability to get a hat or put one away without having to remove a bunch of other hats.
After rejecting several ideas that failed to meet the criteria I had, I took a closer look at a hat. When you purchase a new hat, they are often nested together. Of course, this didn’t meet the criteria of being able to see each hat, but it did give me the idea of tucking in the back of the hat. This left a quarter-circle shape with the button on top at the center. I figured the button could act as a “catch” to hold the hats in place if I created a space for it. To get a rough idea of the shape I simply traced the hat.
I cut the shape out of a piece of MDF to see if it would work and, to my surprise, it did. I made a few more cutouts in the same piece to work out my spacing and see how it would look with multiple hats and that worked too. The best part was that it did exactly what I wanted it to do even if it looked a little odd at first (form follows function in this case).
The only problem was determining how to cut all the shapes consistently. Originally, I was going to cut them on the bandsaw, but the pieces were going to be too long for that method. I briefly considered cutting them all by hand, but I did need to get this finished by Christmas. I ended up choosing to make a jig and use a router.
My router setup consisted of a ¼” spiral bit with a ½” guide in a plunge base. I made the jig out of a piece of ½” scrap by drawing the pattern onto the face and adding another ¼” to accommodate the guide. I made several passes taking about an 1/8” on each pass. Since I plan on only making one of these, my jig was for a single hat spot. If I were going to go into production (I am not), I would make the jig to accommodate more spaces. This would save a lot of time by not having to clamp and unclamp the jig.