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Tennessee Crossroads - Chris Ramsey, Woodturner

Bluegrass & Backroads - Chris Ramsey, Woodturner

Cedar Creek Studio - Chris Ramsey
For DIRECTIONS to Cedar Creek Studio, click HERE

Brute Force, a Boat, and a Burl = Log Roll

Two fishermen who were eating breakfast in a diner were overheard talking about a huge log covered in "bumps" that was near their secret fishing spot. After convincing the fishermen that we were woodturners and were only interested in the log with bumps, they finally disclosed their secret location. 

The following weekend we came up with a plan to get the massive 60 foot log covered in burls out of where it was located. The log was perched on a steep incline resting on some large boulders. The log was sectioned into five pieces. The base section of the log was 54" in diameter and too heavy to winch up the hill. With no other options readily available, brute force and gravity came into play. After splashdown we tied a rope around each section and towed them by boat to a nearby boat ramp, backed my trailer under the floating logs, secured the logs to the trailer then drove them to my farm. 

 Numerous 2½" thick beautiful burl slabs were milled for tables and furniture and are currently air-drying; then will go into the kiln for several months. Many of the cutoffs have been turned into some beautiful artwork with a large pile of beautiful burls yet to be turned. 

Massive Burled Tree

Sawmill at Cedar Creek - Chris Ramsey

Chris referenced at the White House Coorespondents' Dinner, 2004

To View Photos of the Studio at Cedar Creek CLICK HERE


The Above Appeared in the November 2005 Issue of
Woodturning Magazine, p. 21


A Perfect Fit - Country Extra 2010

Turning Heads With Wooden Hats - American Profile, Sept. 2008

Featured Artist March, 2007 - Woorturner's Resource

American Association of Woodturners 2006

Tour South East Kentucky

Hats off to a wood-turner - Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2005

Over the Top - Attaché (U. S. Airways Magazine), August 2004

Hats Off to Chris Ramsey - Kentucky Homes & Gardens, July/August, 2004

A Crowning Achievement - Southern Living, May, 2003

Turning Wood into Heirloom Hats - Kentucky Living, June 5, 2003

Hat-Tasstic - Commonwealth Journal May 18, 2001

The Mad Hatter - Commonwealth Journal , November 3, 2000

Knock On Wood - Kentucky Monthly, March 2002

Brimming With Crafts - Lexington Herald-Leader, May 18, 2001

Downtown Has Its Day - The State Journal, May 5, 2002

The Walnut Hat Looked Good - The Courier Journal, May 8, 2002

Gov Gets a Walnut Topper - The Courier Journal, May 5, 2002

A Perfect Fit - Country Extra January 2010

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A Crowning Achievement - Southern Living May, 2003

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American Association of Woodturners, 2006

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Tour South East Kentucky

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Over the Top

(Reprinted from Attaché, Magazine of U.S. Airways, August 2004)

Writer DEAN BLAINE meets a Kentucky woodworker who accidentaly crafted a curious PIECE OF APPAREL fit for a president.

In certain circles, Chris Ramsey is a celebrity craftsman. At the White House, for instance, where Ramsey was invited to meet the president, he was surrounded in the Roosevelt Room by congressmen and presidential aids, eager for a glance at his handiwork. In the Oval Office, George W. Bush said, "I can't believe you can do this with wood."

Ramsey's craft happened rather by accident. A woodturner by trade, he made mostly hardwood bowls, until one day, disappointed in a vessel he was making for his wife, Ramsey turned it upside down and placed it on his head. Staring at himself in the mirror, he knew that he was onto something.

He also knew that making his vision a reality would not be easy. If he were going to sculpt hats from hardwood, he wanted to make durable ones that could actually be worn like any other. And, he decided, they would be fashioned from a single cut of wood, with no glue and no pieces. Ramsey spent 26 hours sculpting his first hat before it broke apart in his hands. Countless times he nearly called it quits. "The first hundred hats I made were pretty ugly," he says, "but they burned real good."

Ultimately, Ramsey perfected his technique. In the basement of his Somerset, Kentucky, home, he turns felled hardwood logs on his thousand-pound lathe, sculpting his hats to a thickness of 3/32 of an inch, so thin that bright light shines through the wood. In the drying process, he shapes the wood using rubber bands to mold cowboy hats, top hats, garden hats, even baseball caps.

A wooden baseball cap that Ramsey wore into town one day caught the eye of his local congressman. "You know who would really love a hat like that?" asked Representative Harold Rogers. Ramsey began sculpting a Texas-style cowboy hat from English walnut. When the hat was completed, Congressman Rogers personally delivered it to the president. "He went nuts over it," says Chris.

Now the orders won't stop. Chris has made hats for Vice President Cheney, Hank Williams Jr., and Tom Cruise. And yet, it's the reaction of the president that gives goose bumps to Chris. "The most powerful person in the world likes my stuff. Man, pinch me."

DEAN BLAINE frequently wirtes for ATTACHE. He is based in Las Vegas, where he finds any hat, wooden or otherswise, a necessity in summer.

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Hats Off to Chris Ramsey

(Reprinted from Kentucky Homes & Gardens
July/August, 2004)

Master craftsman Chris Ramsey uses his wood turning expertise for more than just exquisite vases and bowls. Elegant headwear is also part of this Somerset artisan's repertoire.

When one thinks of artisan-level wood turning, the first things that come to mind are elegant bowls and vases created of rare and beautiful woods.

Chris Ramsey of Somerset does all that. But his newest innovation in wood-turning craftsmanship literally has people turning their heads. He creates light, wearable hats out of elegant woods. The results have been so popular that one of the wearers of Ramsey's wooden hats is none other than President George W. Bush.

"I made my first hat about six years ago," Ramsey says. "I entered it in the Kentucky State Fair. Compared to what I do today, it was a pretty bad hat. It took me about 100 hats to learn how the Western-style hat can be made with wood-turning techniques."

Ramsey's wooden hat-making project continued until he won Best of Show honors in the Fine Arts Division at the 2000 Kentucky State Fair.

Turning wooden hats is a tedious process. Ramsey starts with a block of hardwood that measures a minimum of 18 inches across and is 20 inches high. If the wooden block is ambrosia maple or another hardwood, it can weigh as much as 120 pounds. When he has finished turning a life-sized hat, the finished product typically wieghs between seven and ten ounces. The three thirty-seconds of an inch thickness of the wood of a completed Ramsey hat is accomplished by the artist's instinct and experience alone. Ramsey does not use calipers in his wood-turning efforts.

Following the turning process, each hat is hand-sanded and given 20 coats of lacquer to achieve a sheen designed to bring out the beauty of the wood.

"In turning a hat, I prefer using green heartwood. It doesn't crack or split like drier wood does," Ramsey said. While turning the block of wood, Ramsey keeps a bright light focused on it and a spray bottle of water nearby. As the hat takes shape, he sprays the wood to keep it moist and prevent its destruction from the pressure of his chisels.

Finesse comes into play when the wood becomes wafer-thin. The bright light Ramsey has focused on the hat actually shines through the wood, which has become so thin as to be translucent. "I've learned to judge how thin the wood is by how bright the light is that shines through it," he states.

"The first hat I turned took about 20 hours to make," Ramsey notes. "Now I can turn one in somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half. I can now create any style of hat I like."

Ramsey's hat designs include bowler, cowboy, Western, Outback, and baseball- cap patterns. "I know that University of Kentucky (UK) fans might not like this, but one of my early customers asked that I carve a wooden 'T' for the University of Tennessee and put it on the front of the hat I made him," Ramsey recalls. "That has branched out to where I can put corporate logos, initials, and other insignia on hats I make."

Along with the president of the United States (his hat size is top-secret information, according to Ramsey), wearers of the handmade wooden headgear include UK Basketball Coach Tubby Smith, Hank Williams Jr., and Tommy Lasorda. "One great aspect of the job is that I get to meet a lot of cool people," Ramsey remarks.

"The difficulty in making these hats doesn't have to do with the size of the head," Ramsey says. "It deals with the head's shape. Turning a perfect circle is relatively easy, compared to the oval shape of the human head."

Ramsey has received orders for his hats from all over the world, including requests from Japan, Italy, Aurtralia, Denmark, Scotland, and Finland.

Wood for Ramsey's projects comes from trees that have been felled by storms or cut down during construction projects. A number of customers have commissioned Ramsey to use wood from a special tree on their property that has fallen victim to disease or a storm.

Originally from New York City, Ramsey's path to Kentucky has come through California and Utah. He has not always been an artist. "I used to have a business where I made a lot of money, but was always surrounded by unhappy people," Ramsey states. "Now I have a job where I'm surrounded by happy people all the time. These hats make people happy. It's great."

Ramsey is a member of the American Association of Woodturners, Southern Highland Craft Guild, Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen, Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, Kentucky Craft Marketing Program (a program of the Kentucky Arts Council), and Sheltowee Artisans.

Among the places where Ramsey's work is displayed is both locations of Artique in Lexington. He also maintains a Web site that features his work at:

Above: Ramsey demonstrated his turning techniques at Lexington Center recently. He begins his hat-making process with a round block of wood weighing more than 100 pounds.
Nearing the end of the turning process, Ramsey uses light ot judge the thickness of the wood while turning a hat design. He turns the wood to a thickness of three thiry-seconds of an inch.

Claude Hammons

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Turning Wood into Heirloom Hats

Reprinted from Kentucky Living
June 2003

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Chris Ramsey, Knot-Head

Somerset resident Chris Ramsey makes one-of-a-kind hats out of wood. He has now started to turn bowls with a natural edge. Ramsey is participating in the Berea Arts and Crafts Fair this weekend. He will be giving demonstrations of his wood turning process and have examples of his work on display.

Local hat maker gaining national reputation

They aren't just hats.

Not by any stretch of the imagination.

What Chris Ramsey creates from a large block of wood is, indeed a work of art.

And to that end, Ramsey has recently been invited into two very prestigious art fields - the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen in Berea and Southern Highland Craft Guild in Asheville, North Carolina.

Ramsey is what is called a Wood Turner and he has been widely recognized and praised for his unique wood hats


As some of you may remember, Ramsey's unique art was featured several months ago in the Commonwealth Journal. Since that time, he has expanded his art to include other priceless works. Ramsey begins with a 90 to 120 pound block of wood and takes the block and shapes it into a hat, which, when completed, weighs approximately 7 to 10 ounces. That's pretty light when you consider that the average felt hat weighs roughly 13 ounces.

"I take great pride in locating the perfect piece of wood for each work of art," Ramsey said. "The wood is turned green in order for the bending and shaping to take place. I create a variety of hat types, from the traditional cowboy hat, to bowler, derby, baseball cap, golf, Outback hat, woman's sun hat, fishing hat, top hat, dressage hat and miniatures of all of them."

In addition to his one-of-a-kind wooden hats, Ramsey also creates magnificent natural edge, with the bark, wooden bowls or platters.

Not only has Ramsey gained a reputation for his fine work, but he has also been widely recognized throughout the country.

When invited to participate in the Southern Highland Craft Guild, he was admitted with a perfect score - a rarity in the art world. He has also received additional awards, including Best of Show in the Arts and Crafts Division of the 2000 Kentucky State Fair. Ramsey has his works exhibited in a variety of galleries in the United States, including the Kentucky Art and Craft Gallery in Louisville, The Log House Craft Gallery in Berea and the Folk Art Center Gallery in Ashville. He will be featured as a premier demonstrator for the Kentucky Guild's Spring Fair in Berea.

Chris Ramsey with Christine Todd Whitman,
Administrator, EPA
Logan Ramsey in Background (wearing his Box Elder Wood Hat)

His hats are now being worn by some pretty important folks, too. Ramsey has made hats for Congressman Hal Rogers and has been asked to make a wooden hat for President George W. Bush. Ramsey recently met with Christine Whitman Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency, and measured her head for one of his custom fit cowboy hats.

Carol Coffey, CJ News Editor,Commonwealth Journal May 18, 2001

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The Mad Hatter

by Carol Coffey, Commonwealth Journal News Editor
November 3, 2000

Ramsey takes art form to the head of the class.

If you say knock on wood around Chris Ramsey, chances are he'll tap his head, but not for the reason that you think.

For a while now, Ramsey has been perfecting his talent of making hats out of wood -- making him Somerset's own Mad Hatter -- or Knot Head, as he calls his venture. He crafts hats of all kinds, from top hats to baseball hats.

Ramsey said the first question he is generally asked (including the first question asked by this reporter) was if his hats were heavy.

Indeed, they are not heavy at all -- weighing only ounces.

Before we tell you how Ramsey came to learn and love his new found passion, we should probably tell you how he came to these parts.

Ramsey was part of the rat race, working in the construction of commercial building. When construction began dropping off, Ramsey said he was looking for a little rest and relaxation.

To that end, he grabbed his boat and headed for Lake Cumberland.

He has never left.

"I just wanted a break from the rat race, Ramsey said. "I grabbed my boat and was going to play around for the summer."

One reason Ramsey decided to stay put was that he met a lovely young lady -- Kathy Whitaker.

The urge to settle down and marry Kathy struck and Ramsey decided to turn his attention to his career. The couple now have a three-year old son, Logan, and another child due in February.

Ramsey worked for Alliance Bank (now Area Bank) handling their technology but found himself working more and spending less time with his family.

Deciding that he could be his own boss, make enough money and spend more time with his family led him to form American Network Cable. Ramsey now works several days a week running computer cable.

Ramsey seemed to have the life of his dreams -- a wife and family, a job that allowed him to spend time with his family and away from the rat race.

But Ramsey's life was destined to take a turn -- wood turning, that is.

The Knot Brothers?

Chris' identical twin brother, David, purchased a Delta lathe. David told Chris about his purchase and then paid his brother a visit.

"He just showed up one day," Chris said, adding that his brother brought him a gift -- a lathe.

Chris said he began tinkering with the lathe and found his new toy addictive.

"It's instant gratification to take a chunk of fire wood and turn it into something," Chris said.

His first 100 pieces, Chris said, were turned on the Delta lathe from his brother. They weren't intricate or fancy and Chris said he spent most of his time learning about turning. For the most part, Chris produced vases, hollow-forms, goblets, plates and bowls.

Then, deciding to move onto bigger and better things, Chris purchased a state of the art 1,000 pound lathe and drove to Ontario, Canada to get it.

"I wanted to do bigger pieces," Ramsey said.

He gave away his first 100 pieces -- the pieces on which Ramsey was honing his craft. If they gave people pleasure, he said, he let them have it.

Putting on a different hat

What began as an interesting hobby has become more than that to Ramsey. Now, after spending hours and hours learning about turning hats, Ramsey says he enjoys making "any hat you can imagine."

Some of his more beautiful works of art include top hats, sun hats, cowboy hats, and bowlers. His personal favorite is the cowboy hat. The most difficult hat to make, Ramsey said, is the baseball cap.

All Ramsey's hats begin as a big block of green wood. Ramsey turns the block into its approximate shape and using four tools, turns the block of wood into a hat.

Turning the  wood will only get you so far, though. Ramsey explained that each cell in the wood has water in it. After turning the hat into its general shape, he then uses rubber bands to bend the wood. As the wood dries, it's shape begins to form. For 24 to 36 hours, Ramsey "baby sits" his work in progress to make sure it doesn't bust.

Ramsey said when he sees a block of wood, he can usually see the hat in it before he begins working.

Although he was embracing his new hobby for the sheer love of it, Ramsey would soon learn that there were other rewards that came attached to turning hats.

Reaping what you turn

Roger Olafson, the owner of Woodcraft, as store in Louisville, saw something special in the work that Ramsey was doing. So impressed was Olafson that he asked Ramsey if he would be  interested in being the featured artist at Woodcraft's booth at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville.

The offer was for Ramsey to set up shop as the showcase artist for virtually the entire run of the fair. Instead, Ramsey agreed to demonstrate his craft for four days.

"That's how this thing started," Ramsey said of what has become one of his most proud moments since he began making wooden hats.

While setting up his temporary workshop in Louisville, someone mentioned to Ramsey that he should enter some of his hats in the state fair competition.

Thinking that would be interesting, and knowing he was working on one of his most impressive hats to date, Ramsey thought he would give it a shot.

In the end, the three hats submitted by Ramsey garnered three blue ribbons and one hat, a stunning, dark top hat brought him the highest honor in the arts and crafts division. Competing against the roughly 4,300 entries in that field, Ramsey's top hat received the Merit Award from the Ohio Valley Art League.

He also received kind words from famous columnist Byron Crawford, who said Ramsey's work was one of the top ten sights to see at the state fair.

Ramsey said it was almost surreal seeing his wooden top hat displayed in a case by itself covered in ribbons.

Another reward for Ramsey is that his works of art are selling. Ramsey sold his first hat at a symposium in North Carolina. From the shows and events that Ramsey had attended, the number of orders for his wooden hats have steadily increased--and so have the proceeds from his wares.

So with four tools--two bowl gauges, a parting tool and a Oneway Termite cutting tool--a handed down wisdom of his mentor and a belief that within a chunk of wood lies something of beauty, Ramsey continues with his passion.

If you would like to see how Ramsey turns a hat, he will be demonstrating at the Sheltowee Artisans Holiday Open House at the Center for Rural Development on November 10, 11  and 12. On Friday, Ramsey will be at the Center from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the event is free. You can also visit Ramsey's web site at or

Picture captions: (Pictures are unavailable)

Picture 1
Somerset's own Chris Ramsey is one of the few people in the world who can turn a chunk of wood into a beautiful hat. To learn more about Ramsey and his unique art, see Old Country Store, Page C4.

Picture 2
Chris Ramsey, left, is pictured with his friend Johannes Michelsen, right.

Picture 3
Above, Ramsey is pictured turning a large block of wood that will eventually become one of  Ramsey's light wooden hats. Ramsey says turning wood into hats has now become a "passion."

Picture 4
Ramsey uses only four tools to make his wooden hats. Among the styles that Ramsey has turned are top hats, cowboy hats and sun hats.

Picture 5
Ramsey is pictured at left with his lathe, the beginnings of a wooden hat in the middle and the finished product. The baseball cap Ramsey is wearing is also a wooden hat. Ramsey said the baseball cap is the most difficult hat to make because of the bill and carving on the front of the cap. A top hat Ramsey made received the merit award from the Ohio Valley Art League.

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Knock on Wood

Stephen M. Vest
March 2002
Kentucky Monthly

Somerset--Chris Ramsey is a Knot Head, but it's not his head that's made out of wood-- it's his hats.

Lining the driveway outside his white Cape Cod House in Pulaski County are more than a dozen large black trash bags. "Those are full of wood shavings and sawdust," he said. Sometimes it's worse. Right now it's not too bad."

Beyond the trash bags are a half-dozen cut logs and a couple of northern California burls--those wart-like knots you find on tree trunks. These are exotic looking, almost with another-world feel. " I don't keep as much here as I used to," Ramsey said. "If I did, my wife (Kathy) couldn't get her car in the driveway."

"My neighbors just love me," Ramsey said with the hint of sarcasm as he started his 36 inch Stihl chain saw. Over the ensuing roar he shouted, "they really love me on Saturday mornings."

With the chain saw, Ramsey quickly chips away at a carefully selected cut of a downed Kentucky tree. Within three hours, using the 1,000 pound lathe in his basement, Ramsey will have created from a 100-plus-pound choice piece of cherry wood a 7- to 10-ounce hat-a one-of-a-kind piece of art, rivaling the creations of some of the world's best wood turners.

The wood must be green so that once it is turned, it will be flexible enough to bend into the shape of a well worn chapeau. Ramsey looks for wood others might discard. The unique beauty of the hat is based on the grain; the inclusion of bark and imperfections caused by, among other things, the Ambrosia beetle.

The finished product will bring four digits in the growing number of galleries carrying Ramsey's work. He has drawn the attention of numerous woodworking magazines, his hometown Commonwealth Journal and Courier Journal, columnist Byron Crawford, who called Ramsey's wood turning a "must see" during his first appearance at the Kentucky State Fair.

Chris Ramsey turning"This is something I truly enjoy. It's fun," said Ramsey, who, when not turning hats for everyone from President George W. Bush, owns and operates America Network Cable, which runs cable for computer networks. It was through fifth district U.S. Representative Hal Rogers--for whom Ramsey did some cable work--that Ramsey was able to get President Bush's measurements. Rogers has two of his hats on display in his Washington D.C., office. "I've made a hat for former New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman, Ramsey said.

"I've been trying to get in to see Gov. (Paul Patton) so I can measure his head," Ramsey said. "It'll only take a second, but he's been pretty busy."

Ramsey began wood turning as a hobby, but it soon turned into a passion, and he was off to study under the masters, including Rude Osolnik David Ellsworth, and Johannes Michelsen.

Among the hats Ramsey makes are bowlers, top hats, sun hats, and cowboy hats, his personal favorite. The most difficult, however, is the baseball cap. "If you can imagine it, I can make it," Ramsey said.

The step-by-step directions for making wooden hats can be found on Ramsey's web site at, but in a nutshell, Ramsey first measures the head for size and shape. (Mine is rather large, almost identical in size and shape to Osolnik, the dean of American wood-workers who passed away in November, and similar to that of Representative Rogers.) He then selects the wood and, with the chainsaw, he cuts the log into a "blank," which is approximately the size of the hat, including the brim.

Ramsey then rounds the blank on his lathe. Within minutes a hat begins to take shape. After the outer shape is determined, he begins to hollow the hat, beginning at the outside of the brim and working toward the center.

When he's done, the hat will be 3/32nds of an inch thick, except for the hatband, which is slightly thicker. After any excess wood is removed, the hat is sanded and the hat band is burnished with Ebony, Padauk, Purple Heart or Rosewood.

The hat is then bent, using a form and rubber bands. After three to five days of bending, shaping and drying, the hat is hand-sanded and finished with 20 coats of lacquer.

At any point during this process, the slightest slip can render the hat a total bust. "I've blown up many hats," he said. "One blew up yesterday."

With my hat, Ramsey was fortunate. "Your head shape is nice for making wood hats," he said. "It is the long oval shaped head that requires some radical bending to achieve the final shape."

The 39-year-old Ramsey, father of Logan, 5, and Jonathan, 2, is a native New Yorker who came to Lake Cumberland on vacation and never left. He is one of the more than 280 artists and craftsmen who will be on hand for the 20th anniversary of Kentucky Crafted: The Market, March 2-3 in South Wing A of the Kentucky Fair and Exhibition Center in Louisville.

Stephen M. Vest, March 2002 Kentucky Monthly

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Brimming With Crafts

The craftsman who might upstage everybody, though, is Chris Ramsey of Somerset. Ramsey makes hats out of hardwoods: walnut, red oak, black oak, cherry. Wearable hats.

"Actually, they're comfortable," Ramsey said.

He was wearing one while doing some work in the office of U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers last year, he said, and Rogers commissioned one for himself. Then a second one. Last month, Ramsey met Christie Whitman, the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency, who commissioned one.

Through a complicated set of subsequent circumstances and events, he's now been commissioned to make a hat for President Bush. He's waiting on Dubya's hat size to be faxed to him: Whitman is allegedly measuring the prez's head.

Ramsey has been making wooden hats for only a year. He sold 160 in that time. "I sold a world of them at Derby time," Ramsey says. You can check it out on the web at but a visit to Indian Fort will allow you to see the real thing firsthand. And have your head measured with a curvex ruler, if you're so inclined.

Lexington Herald-Leader, May 18 2001

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Downtown Has Its Day - Miss America Joins Derby Breakfast Crowd

Miss America 2002 Katie Harman, dressed in light blue and white, was a big hit on the Old Capitol grounds at the Governor's Kentucky Derby Breakfast Saturday morning. So was Gov. Paul Patton's smooth brown walnut wood Derby hat, made especially for him by craftsman Chris Ramsey of Somerset.

The State Journal May, 5, 2002 - Charles Pearl

Governor Patton in his Walnut Hat

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The walnut hat looked good on Gov. Paul Patton

Governor Patton

The walnut hat looked good on Gov. Paul Patton. His Derby cover was a spectacular piece of wooden headgear. And no wonder. With the state's Republican leaders trying to corner and pummel him, he needs the extra protection….A reporter who wrote about Patton's walnut Derby hat let a smart-alecky Republican congressman from Louisiana say that he heard our Governor has a "wooden personality, too." That's a cheap shot, as I can testify.

David Hawpe, The Courier Journal May 8, 2002

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Gov gets a walnut topper

Governor Patton

Hats are always a topic of interest at the Derby, but rarely on male heads. Gov. Paul Patton turned that tradition on its head yesterday, sporting a Stetson-style chapeau crafted by Chris Ramsey of Somerset from one solid piece of walnut. Patton said he thought to himself, "I need a hat like that," when he saw Ramsey's display at the annual Kentucky Crafted market in Louisville six weeks ago. "It's unique. I'd never seen anything like it," Patton said. "It's Kentucky-made, fine workmanship." The hat wasn't a hit with everyone, though, and when U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., heard about Patton's wooden topper, he quipped, "I heard he had a wooden personality, too."

Courier Journal, May 5, 2002

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