update in the hat blocking saga, 59lark
LOUNGERS in the continuing saga, of the hat blocking equipment, had a phone call with herman the german who is the one hope of someone teaching us to clean and block the hats. He spoke to me of setting up the equipment to clean and block the hat and he said where are you going to do this. Do you realize cleaning the hats is a cleaning process using dry cleaning soloution and chemicals which are close to gasoline and extremely explosive so next to your furnace and water heater is not a option. So at this point the only option is buying a mini shed and insulating it and running power to it and having a little room for the cleaning process light and fan and doing the rest in the basement. MORE expense for a small side line but sounds like a necessary safety concern when you consider my family live over the workshop . YOU KNOW nothing worth doing is easy.59Lark.
Well, Herman is right. You really do want to be quite careful with that stuff. Up where you live, getting power into the shed is a necessity, I'd imagine, and that does indeed add to the expense. But you have so little invested now. To put it in perspective, just yesterday a single block (with a flange thrown in) sold on eBay for more than a hundred bucks. Sure, that was for a 6-inch No. 52 in size 7 3/8, which is among the more sought-after blocks, but still, contrast that with all you got for less than twice that amount.
One Too Many
This escapade has certainly developed into something of larger proportions than I had imagined it would.
You might be forced to start a business with a setup like this!!!
UPDATE ON BLOCKING AND CLEANING.
Dear LOUNGERS; i am far from doing any yet but i have been searching the net and found a supply place in oregon and they sell stiffer than is not flamable, mix with water, and they sell stain remover and brushes and leatherbands, looks promising for supplies and i dont think you need to go toxic, cleaners and stiffers having gone modern and hermans notions are old and out of date. Water based products wont blow up the furnace. We are going to start organizing the moulds soon. 59Lark
I suggest that before you buy a large supply of any materials and supplies, you first experiment with some beater hats. There's really no substitute for the education you'll gain by taking apart derelict hats and trying to make something good of them. When you make a close study, you'll see how and why some hats are superior to others. While I advise reading up (this site is a good resource, and I recommend the Ermatinger book), there's nothing like hands-on experience. I've said this many, many times before, but it still bears repeating: Hats are simple things. Understanding how they are put together is no great challenge. Any reasonably dexterous knucklehead can do it. (I am living proof of that.) But man, there are innumerable ways to botch those easy-to-understand processes. It seems that my conversations with other hatters almost invariably turn to how we continue to screw up. We're always learning.
Some water-based cleaning methods work quite well on some kinds of stains, but for some other kinds, well, I don't know of any substitute for the nasty stuff. I really wish there were, and I'd love to be proven wrong. I've already taken too many chances with my health and safety and, as I said, those solvents are nasty -- they're flammable and toxic and, in the case of naphtha, quite unpleasant smelling.
I understand that dry cleaners are turning to less hazardous (to people and the environment) methods than those they have traditionally used. How effective they are, and which (if any) of those methods would transfer to hat cleaning, I don't know. But I'm all ears.