A number of you have asked me to explain how I put a hat on a Cowboy. Well, this post should answer all your questions.
First, let me explain why I do it this way. When doing a figure or bust the grain of the wood almost always runs vertically. This is great for the body and the head. Unfortunately, for the hat it presents a problem. The brim of a hat is very thin and this vertical grain will make it extremely fragile. It also prevents you from getting a real "razors" edge appearance that really looks great on a piece. Through a lot of experimenting I've come up with a solution which, for me anyway, works out perfect.
Now some of you might consider this cheating. However, I think after you review my process you'll see that doing it my way involves a lot more effort than doing it in what's considered the normal way. It gives me the effect I'm after so I'm sticking with it. Besides, a lot of people don't consider me normal anyway!