One of my regular customers brings one of these metal hats each time one of her adult children reaches 50.  This is the third one I’ve done in the past 4-5 years.

Though the metal is bright and shiny, it’s not the best surface for engraving.  It reacts like aluminum but probably has some alloys mixed in.  Difficult to get a really smooth cut; the melting point is so low that the burs actually become ‘clogged’ with aluminum between the cutting flutes.  You can see it when stopping between words or lines.  The burs still cut because the material sticking to the bur probably softens with the heat when starting again.

The message on this one:  Having a place to go is home.  Having someone to love is family.  Having both is a blessing.  The three initials of the recipient were above 50th Birthday and the date. 

The three lines of text were to go around the front of the brim. Each line was almost identical in length so I considered they were and decided to approach the job that way.  

I taped a marker cap between a Sharpie Ultra-Fine marker and a pencil.  I held the conglomeration in a vertical position with the marker touching the surface of the hat.  I then moved the pencil around the brim as the marker made a perfectly smooth baseline at a perfectly uniform distance from the edge of the hat for the entire length of the baseline.

I then engraved each line of the quote on flat glass with a #3 round carbide.  I measured the length of the second line.  I used a clear, thin, flexible 12” ruler and put the center point of the length of the line on the center line of the front of the hat.  That gave me a starting point for that line.  I engraved it.  It was centered.  

For the first line, I did the same thing.  Left some space to the left of the middle line already engraved, put the END of the length of the first line where I wanted it to stop.  I put a mark at the beginning of the first line, as I curved the ruler to match the curve of the baseline.  That line was engraved and stopped in the exact position I wanted.  

All I had to do for the third line was leave the desired space between the end of the second and the beginning of the third.  Found the start point and engraved it without the need to measure anything.

The beginning of the first line and the end of the third line are almost perfectly opposite each other on the brim of the hat.

Oh yes.  The hat is for chips and dips.

 “Guacamole in the center, Tostitos around the brim, and an ice cold Blue Moon, please!”


Still have 6 seats left in the September and October Seminars.  Five in November.  Details here.

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