Hat Blocks & Accessories for Milliners

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Frequently asked questions

Here is a selection of questions we're often asked. Please don't hesitate to call or email should you have any that are not answered here.
Does it matter what wood I choose for my blocks?
We offer blocks in West African obeche or North American tulip wood. Obeche is our most popular choice, as it easy to push pins into and will give a long life if handled with care. It is also lighter in weight, which has the advantage of lower shipping costs if you live overseas. For college use or if you prefer a harder block, tulip wood is the choice. Our Multiblocks are available only in obeche. Five part blocks and hat stretchers are only available in tulip wood.
What about form?
This is the shape of the block at the headband of the crown. Broad oval, slim oval and circular forms are available with slim oval being the most popular. See choosing your blocks for more help on making your choice.
Do I need a string groove?
String grooves, sometimes known as rope grooves or string lines, are a useful addition to a block. They are usually found on brim blocks, but some milliners like them on crowns as well. They can be used together with pins, to provide a crisp, folded edge to a brim, or without pins if the design and type of fabric permit. The string holds the fabric in the groove while it is pulled from below to remove any creases. An alternative to having a string groove on a crown block is to use one of our blocking springs, the advantage being that it can be used on any crown block of the same size. See accessories. String grooves can be added for an additional charge.
I have a design which is different to any of your blocks, how do I proceed?
We will be pleased to make blocks to your design, send a photograph, sketch, a mock-up in blocking net (buckram) or an actual hat and we will quote for your requirements. It might even be just a simple change to a catalogue block that can be discussed over the phone. You can see a selection of specials we have made on the specials page, which have included blocks for couture millinery, military headwear and historical costumes.
What size should I choose?
The size of your block should correspond to the required headsize, however there are various techniques that allow you to increase or decrease the size of the hat you are making. Many customers choose the standard size of 22.5 inches (57cm) and work from there. For mens hats the most common size is 23 inches (59cm). Full details of how to make different size hats on the one size of block are explained in our ebook 'Hints & Tips' - see How2Hats.
Do your blocks come with a guarantee?
All our products are guaranteed. We will refund your payment and the cost of postage, or supply a replacement for any item that is not to your entire satisfaction, if returned to us in good condition within seven days of receipt. Please contact us before returning an item. This does not affect your statutory rights.
Can you send blocks overseas?
Yes, and it might not cost as much as you would expect - please contact us for a quote for delivery.