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First refurbish/restore. Starting pics and in process shots, need advise!

Discussion in 'Hats' started by retrofashion, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. retrofashion

    retrofashion One of the Regulars

    Hat reforming and cleaning


    Is it a hard thing to reform a hat? Like a hat which has lost a bit of it's shape?

    Howabout hat cleaning?
    Any tips or links teaching how to reform and how to clean a hat from stains, smells etc.

  2. retrofashion

    retrofashion One of the Regulars

    The reason I'm asking is that I bought a Borsalino and it is in pretty bad shape.
    Also have a stetson coming and am about to order a federation soon, not the the federation will need any reforming ;)
  3. Getting someone to refurbish hats is, apparantly, getting more difficult to find. I have not had a hat refurbished but all the folks here seem to recommend Optimo of Chicago for hat work. Art Fawcett stopped doing that last year. Some of our other vendors may be able to help, some may even do refurbishing. Hope you are able to save the Borsalino, they are special.:)
  4. Lots of info on cleaning and reforming hats here on the lounge. First start with the "sticky" topics at the top of the Hats forum, then do a search in the hats forum on "naptha" and one on "Scouts" (for Scouts dark hat cleaner). That should get you started!

  5. retrofashion

    retrofashion One of the Regulars

    Thanks guys.
    Duggap, is sending it out the only way? I was hoping to be able to do it myself. What is involved?

    Tango Yankee, I did look at the sticks but it only talks about brushing and superficial cleaning, but nothing really on stains and refurbishing. I did a search under some terms that came to mind but didn't find much. I always search before asking because it's faster than waiting for somebody to reply to a new thread. But I haven't tried the terms you suggested, as I didn't know them. Will give them a try. Thanks.
  6. mineral

    mineral One of the Regulars

    In terms of the shape, what you can do is this:

    Get a pot (small one) and fill it with a reasonable amount of water. Put it on the stove and get a moderate boil going. Put your hat over the steam and just use your hand to shape it as it gets warm and moist. If the ribbon is creased up as well, stick a knife into the pot and then press the blade onto the ribbon at the trouble spots and use the dull edge as a scrape.

    This at least worked for one of my hats which, when I bought it, looked like a sumo wrestler had sat on it. Good luck with yours!
  7. I second Optimo Hat Co. for renovation, especially for a Borsalino. It's worth the price.
  8. Andykev

    Andykev My Mail is Forwarded Here Bartender

    You need to show what needs to be done....

    You should first either describe the extent of the condition of the hat, or post some pictures.

    In MOST cases, a good brush and steam will work well for a vintage hat that was properly stored.

    If the hat has nasty sweat stains and other discolorations, you have to assess what is really going on. If the hat has been stored properly in a box/ring supporter...it may have picked up some discoloration by the felt being in contact with the cardboard.

    If the hat is sweat stained...it needs proper cleaning. Remember, most fading will not come out.

    I suggest the Naptha solution. That is where the hat is soaked in Naptha (well ventilated, out doors, protective gear/gloves/glasses) and scrubbed in the direction of the the nap of the felt.

    This requires disassembly, ie. removal of the sweat/liner/ribbon.

    Then you need the proper BLOCK to re "Block" the hat.

    With all of that, consider this: IF THE HAT IS A GEM, BUT NEEDS A SIMPLE CLEANING, I STRONGLY URGE YOU TO SEND IT TO A PROFESSIONAL. THAT IS OPTIMO IN CHICAGO. You will get delightful service, and a hat that comes back looking new. If you need ribbon or liner exchange/replacement, again, this is the ticket.

    If this hat is a moth holed wreck..then just grab a bottle of Woolite and soak/scrub/block it back to shape.
  9. i, too recomend Optimo. as for reshaping. on two of my felt hats i just put the part i wanted reshaped under the hottest tap water in my house (120*) and did the reshaping with my fingers. they both came out so well that i am considering purchaseing an unbashed Stetson Open Road the try my luck on...
  10. Hot water will work. You probably chose it because it's closer to steam. However, cold water works, too! With cold, you can dunk the entire hat till it is well soaked. Then you can shape both the crown and the brim. Whatever shape you let it dry in, it will hold from then on. (I do remove the liner, before doing this, but nothing else.)
  11. Lamont Cranston

    Lamont Cranston New in Town

    Hat Cleaning

    Byrnie Utz Hat shop in Seattle has been around since the 1930s.
    If a light color hat has a stain they recommend using Corn Starch to clean it.
    It draws out dirt and oil from the hat.
    The process involves coating the hat with Corn Starch and putting the hat in a bag for a couple of days to let the starch absorb the dirt...
    Then, you vacuum the starch off and brush the hat (Counter clockwise).
    Next, you steam the hat gently.

    This technique will remove some stains, if they are not severe.
    It can not damamge your hat. you can brush off all of the starch.
    They do not like to apply chemical cleaners because modern hats rely on sizing and some kind of powder color treatments that are applied to even out the color.
    I think some of those modern hats are not made to be worn.
    They are fine, just dont get them wet!

    You can use naptha to clean a hat.
    I used Woolite and water on a filthy hat once, but it can shrink your hat.
    Hope this helps
  12. Al_Ojeda

    Al_Ojeda Familiar Face

    More Makeovers ...

    Hello everybody, I just wanted to share with you this new makeover that I did ( myself) to this old fedora size 7... I found in a vintage store. The felt is really lite and is easy to do any kind of dry bash. The Final is size 7 3/8 and the crown is not to tall as I like but that all the felt that I had [huh] . Anyway enjoy I hope you like PD: This time I tried a diferent bow ( "a la Art") sorry Art for the copycat...





    Enjoy your hats!!

    DOUGLAS My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Very well Done:eusa_clap
  14. Very classic looking!!!
    Great job!
  15. VERY NICE!:eusa_clap
  16. Ande1964

    Ande1964 Practically Family


    Fantastic! Can you detail your cleaning process? Do you do any pouncing?

  17. That's cool, Al. As you probably know, you could have gotten more crown by pulling more of the body down the block (assuming you have a sufficiently tall block), thereby turning some of that brim into crown. This would have likely resulted in some serious waviness to the brim, which you would have had to iron out. And the brim would have been narrower, of course. But hey, I expect those tall crowned, relatively short brimmed lids to be hot items come July, when John Dillinger as portrayed by that Johnny Depp fellow is loosed upon the world in just such a hat.

    Your point about "all the felt I had" is well taken. Your available material allows for only so much hat. And when you're turning a size 7 into a 7 3/8, well, that chews up quite a bit of it right there.

    The body color looks like a sage green on this end. It pairs up nicely with that ribbon color.

    What make of hat is (was) it? I assume it also has a new sweatband. Any liner in it?
  18. jimmy the lid

    jimmy the lid I'll Lock Up

    Great job! :eusa_clap

  19. That is simply beautiful work!! Congrats!

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