Is it normal for a 58cm hat form to actually be 58.4cm around?

hi, I’m new here and would really appreciate some advice. I bought my first wooden hat form. I order it in size 58cm. When i got it it was actually 58.4 cm. The person I bought it from says that’s normal for it to be not exactly 58cm. Is this true? These expensive wooden forms are not true to size? Should i have ordered. 57cm, and built it up? now it’s too big for the hats i wanted to work on. 
he said I could return it, but he won’t replace it. Is it the same everywhere, that they are not made true to size?

really appreciate any advice.


Tags: Hat, block, form, sizing

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Hi , I honestly think it depends who you buy from.   A professional hat block maker such as Easy Hat Blocks, Hat Block Australia and Boon&Lane would send a block to the exact measurements you need.  That's been my experience. But when I've bought from block makers who are wood turners first and foremost, I've found the dimensions different so I only buy saucers from them.   There are ways round having a block which is too big and adjusting the fit... but it depends on the style and there are some classes which teach you how to resize. It's not ideal though is it? 

Old blocks will swell and also some milliners bake in the oven to dry their pieces on the block... this will alter sizes too so be wary when buying older blocks from ebay.... just because its marked say 21 inch doesnt mean it still is. Get the seller to measure for sure. 


Thanks for the info! It helps a lot. So relieved to know that it is indeed possible to purchase an exact sized block. At least now I’ll know in future to ask before I order. 

I am very sorry you have experienced an issue with your first block, one that it has happened, and two that the back up customer service doesn't seem to be what you expected.

As a professional block maker i would like to offer some comments. Experience really matters. My dad has 20 years in the trade and I have 11. We are always learning.

Regarding sizing, every effort should be made to ensure the block going out the door is as it is stamped and ordered to be. That said, there are some inherent challenges in measuring... not all tapes are equal. I have one particular fibreglass tape i use that i know is as perfect as can be in accuracy when compared to  flat stainless steel engineers ruler. I have others i do not use as they have been found to be firstly not accurate and secondly they stretch, making it impossible to be true. Your block makers tape may be at fault or even your own. (or his eyes)  It is a real problem! I have made blocks trusting in a certain tape only to have the customer pick up that the real size was different... that is how i learned that not all tapes can be trusted and i threw that tape out!

That said, assuming accuracy of all tapes involved, i will aim for absolute 58.0. however, i also would not say that almost half  cm over/under is OK. that's is  full half size over. 58.1 or 2 might be ok as that's really just a hair width around the circumference even computer machines allow for a wee tad of under/over. 

58 should be 58 and 58.5 (4) is a whole different size. 

Maybe the block maker had a bad day, however, back up is more important. As a block maker I do make mistakes as i am sure all do. What matters is what is doe about it. If I make a block that is not right for whatever reason, it must be sent back at my cost, rectified and returned all at my cost even if it is the other side of the world. The customer should not be out of pocket for my mistake.

another thing to note... there are times when a block must be made to  larger size than the finished hat but that is a whole other discussion! A seasoned block maker will know when this applies and will discuss it with you too.

kind regards

Darryll (block maker) 

Thanks Darryll,

thats good to know. I so appreciate your taking the time to reply. And i was very much hoping what you said is the case with good block makers. Seems the block maker I bought from is a bit of a hack, to try and make me believe it is entirely normal for a block to be 4mm bigger than advertised.
The block is also a bit rough, not terrible, but not as smooth as I expected it should be from photos, and that made me wonder if they are all so rough! 
i though I was being smart to buy locally. I’ve certainly learned a valuable lesson.

you are most welcome.

It is good to support local where one can, but only if the service is good! 

Should you purchase from reputable, professional block makers in the future (as some named) you will be very pleasantly surprised.



My Mum always makes sure I use the same tape measure when I'm giving her measurements for hats LOL.  i had no idea when first starting 20 years ago that the material/fabric used to actually make a tape measure would affect the size lol.  plastic seems to be the worse culprit as it stretches over time.   The old cotton ones decay and the weave stretches in different places.

So a good rule of practice is.. if you measure your materials, block and clients measurements with the same tape measurement you should be spot on, EVEN if that tape measure doesn't match another tape measure you have in the studio,

That's really good advice, thanks, I'll remember that.


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