View Full Version : Felt quality, then and now.
09-28-2003, 06:48 PM
I just bought another Open Road, its a 3x, light tan hat probably from the 60s judging from the original hat box and the fact that the liner was sewn in and not glued. Mostly 3x hats were every day type of hats for work, so this was not considered in it's day a high quality dress hat. Compared to my Imperial Open Road it is way down the list on quality. But, when I compare the felt to new ones it's still miles ahead. It's just amazing how far down the quality has went on newer fedora's. I don't want to make the Akubra lovers upset, but in comparing this hats felt to my fed deluxe felt is really amazing. My fed deluxe's felt looks rough, as though they stopped the pouncing and sanding process a couple of steps earlier than what's on my Open Road. Also, it is not board hard like the new ones are, you can still shape it to any style you want. I honestly don't think I will ever buy another new fedora. To come close to the quality of an old one you have to spend at least $400. maybe more. The Optimos and some of the custom ones of other hatters are very nice but the price limits most people to just one or 2. Only a few can afford to fill their shelves with those babies. Vintage fedora's take more time to find, but they are like finding a hidden treasure when found.
09-28-2003, 07:02 PM
I am with you. I see nothing but vintage hats in my future. I have already bought 3. The last two are reblock canidates. I am looking forward to reblocking some vintage felt. regards, Fedora
10-03-2003, 04:21 AM
Odly enough, along with you and Walt, I also just aquired an Open Road. I bought it off ebay for $20, what a deal huh. It is a light grey 4x fur felt. I have completely re-bashed the crown in a "fedora" style, the western look was not for me on this lid. I left the brim alone, I liked it the way it is. I will try and post some pics very soon. I am still working on the crown a bit, I have two little tiny spots and want to clear up, slight creases left over from the orginal bash. But I love it, it has a thin grey ribbon on it, the standard. I am considering changing it, opinions????:cool2:
10-03-2003, 08:01 AM
Well here's a thought, I wanted some variety with my Open Road, so I made a removable ribbon and bow. I took a black 1 1/2 inch ribbon and put a double bow on it. I measured the outside circumference of the crown and sewed the ribbon together at that measurement. I have slipped the ribbon over the crown and worked it down over the top of the existing one. It now looks more like an actual fedora, but if I want the original look I can just slip it back off again. It's like having two different hats.
10-03-2003, 08:13 AM
Congratulations on your latest acquisition. Yeah there's no comparison between most new hats and most vintage hats. It is like finding hidden treasure when you find a nice vintage hat. I will say though that it's important (if you can swing it) to buy new fedoras. It would be a shame if the last few remaining custom hatters went extinct. Cheers
10-03-2003, 09:16 AM
I think everyone should own at least one Optimo, (although it's hard to stop at one). If you own a quality vintage fedora, you will see that Optimo is one of the few quality custom hat makers left today that can really emulate the 40s style and quality. Every hat lover would be very pleased with their products.
10-23-2008, 09:17 PM
I agree that today's hats don't appear to have the quality and so many of them don't offer but small, medium and large.
Several years ago at a flea market or antique store for maybe $15, I found a brown xxxx beaver fedora labeled Towncraft Plus (from Penney's of course.) It says hand felted edge. Although Penney's today is a pretty respectable store, I clearly remember the old days when (with luck) you had a main floor and a mezzanine. Mostly all they sold was clothing, cheaper suits, women's housedresses, etc. So I imagine this hat didn't cost much to begin with, but although the sweatband is beginning to show wear, it's still a very solid, clean hat and I wear it more than any other.
So far I have four felt hats, all old, but in very good condition, and one virtually new Dalton homberg with a $10.95 price tag still in it. I've never worn it because although it's my size, it binds a little front to back. My real favorite is my Dobbs Twenty, perfect hat, perfect fit and came with the original box, but I never get a chance to dress up. :(
10-24-2008, 08:00 AM
I don't get many bonafide chances to dress up, either, but you might try wearing your hats with more casual clothes, too. You'd be surprised how well they go with sweaters, jeans, even a decent pullover. And stretch that Dalton a bit, by all means.
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