View Full Version : The Electric Hat Stretcher
02-21-2004, 08:47 PM
Does anyone know how these are used? Does one wet the hat first? And what about the form being kind of bulb shaped?
02-21-2004, 09:14 PM
Yes, they get hotter than hell, can burn straw and felt, and scorch the sweatband.
I assume you are talking about the National Hatters Supply or similar hat stretcher, with the silver dome, hand crank and heat element?
Gently warm it, it should NOT be hotter than you could put your hand on (think metal seat belt buckle in hot car kind of thing). Put the hat on squarely, and gently crank out the knob to stretch the hat ever so gently. You can size up about 1/2 size MAXIMUM. Too much and you should have the hat completely disassembled and reblocked properly..Increasing size usuallly shortens the brim in porportion to the increase in hat size.
Be careful NOT to split the sewn end of the sweatband, by the bow.
Let the hat cool on the "stretcher". Then try it on.
These are great items...most of my hats have a tendency to shirink magicaly in their hat box. Come to think of it, that suit I wore in college seems to have shrunk in the closet over these past years too.....
02-21-2004, 09:14 PM
The electric stretcher serves several needs. To make a hat bigger, or more specifically, a hat body bigger, you wet the body, slide it over the stretcher & expand the felt with the heat & wetness. It is also used to stretch leathers by heating them up lending pliablity to the leather, then I put them over wooden stretchers because the accuracy of the electric is ummm, usually off. You can use this method for quick, small stretches without taking it out of the hat.
02-21-2004, 09:59 PM
Thanks, Andy and Art. Any idea about the rather bulb-like shape?
I got this today at an antique mall. When it heats up, you can't hardly touch the metal of the shape/block part. Seems like heating it up then pulling the plug would be the way to go. I sure wouldn't want to scorch a hat. Anyroad, thanks again.
02-21-2004, 10:24 PM
You DO have to regulate how long it stays on the stretcher Dakota. I have burnt hats before by forgetting it was on heat. Mine has an on off switch. If you want to get fancy I imagine you can add a riostat (sp?) to regulate the electricity , thus regulating the heat. I just watch is carefully!!
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