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Help on hat steaming ?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by HDRnR, May 12, 2007.

  1. HDRnR

    HDRnR A-List Customer

    I'm trying to get the Cattleman's crease out of an Open Road. I used a clothing steamer which blows out a good deal of steam and got it about 95% back to an open crown. Problem is there are still traces of the Cattleman's crease which I can't get rid of, almost like an outline. I want to just do a centerdent Homburg type crease. Would a hat brush help ? Its a 4x OR from I'd say the late 60's, the felt is clearly not as high quality as my older OR's but its still a pretty nice OR. Any suggestions ?
  2. You can try some more brushing and maybe those gummy white sponges a little too. Be sure the hat is dry though, and be gentle! Matt has written some info on cleaning in the sticky at the top of the page called "Felt Hat Basiscs" for your review.
  3. jimmy the lid

    jimmy the lid I'll Lock Up

    For best results, you may want to consider having the hat re-blocked professionally. Short of that, I would bet that a teardrop bash would probably camouflage any remnants of the previous cattleman's bash -- but, don't know if that suits your personal style. Good luck!

  4. While steaming try brushing it gently with an orange hat sponge. The steam will help lift the fibers and the dirt. Along with the sponge try a little of the Scouts "dark" hat cleaner on it. You don't want to use the "light" color cleaner as it will leave a powdery residue and make it look blotchy. The "dark" hat cleaner will sort of foam or lift more of the dirt left in the felt around the former crease without lifting the fibers. With that on I use the orange sponge again to sort of scrub the felt gently, then I use a hat brush. I've done this on several of my hats with fantastic results. No ghosting of the former crease shows up. Most of these hat cleaning supplies can be had at a local Boot Barn or any local western wear store that sells hats.
    If this doesn't work, then Jimmy may be right & you'll have to have it done professionally.


  5. GoneSolo

    GoneSolo One of the Regulars

    Is it necessary to use a hat block for this process? Will using the sponge take ANY creases out?
  6. HDRnR

    HDRnR A-List Customer

    Thanks guys...I'll have to try to find some of this stuff...
  7. jimmy the lid

    jimmy the lid I'll Lock Up

    Nice tutorial -- thanks, Dan!

  8. Davidson

    Davidson One of the Regulars

    I've had the same struggle

    I have one OR and also have converted a number of cattleman crown westerns to fedoras. I think there are a number of things to deal with:

    1. Getting the old block out, to an open crown. Steam can get you there, along with massaging the felt into place. It may take a few passes, though. I'm sure an "open crown" hat block would make it much easier, but it can be done without.

    2. Daniel also deals I think with two of the other issues I have found: First, dirt differentially found along the "ridges" of the crown, where the crown contacts fingers, tables, truck seats, etc. Here the foam cleaner can help. The other that Daniel addresses is the felt texture or nap is different, either from the original block or from usage. Having different naps along in the creases and ridges is quite visible, even in an evenly clean open crown hat. I think the sponges help here also, as does the brushing. In one case I resorted to 320 grit sandpaper to sort of "renap" entire areas to get them to match.

    3. Fading. The sides and top ridges of the cattleman crown fade from sunlight faster than the side and center dents. As far as I know, there's not a thing to be done about this, short of redying the hat. I've tried sanding, and the fading goes surprisingly deep into the felt.

    Hope this makes sense and is helpful.
  9. HDRnR

    HDRnR A-List Customer

    Thanks, you guys have been super helpful. I can't wait to get the gear I need and get to work on this OR.
  10. Thanks, indeed!

    I have several hats I want to change to a fedora bash, as well as a few fedoras with bashes I want to redo. This thread ought to be a sticky, or at least merged with the felt hat basics in my opinion.

  11. Zig2k143

    Zig2k143 Practically Family

    Very noice steam question.. Can I try to steam a cheaper hat?
  12. HDRnR

    HDRnR A-List Customer

    I'm obviously not the expert here but I can't see why not.
  13. Light and Dark Hat Cleaner?

    What is the difference between "light" and "dark"?

    They don't have pigment do they?

    Should I have both?

  14. J.B.

    J.B. Practically Family

    Drawn away from the

    There are many posts in the archives counselling against the use of Scout's "Light"!!

    It is evil, nasty, too horrific to consider, brewed up in the cauldron of be-elzebub, and the ensuing silica-like residue can severely stain your hat, too!

    Scout's "Dark" is fantastic for any color hat, but if you use the "Light" on your hat -- you won't need a hatter for the renovation -- you will need the services of this man... :D


    ...Trust me on this one. I speak from experience. Fortunately after attempting to use the "Light" the first time this kindly old man showed up at my door...


    ...finally, after a mighty struggle between good and evil, Fr. Merrin was able to grasp that shrieking, rotating, vibrating, residue-laden fedora by the brim and sling that bugger in Odd-Job fashion onto a passing honeywagon, thus ridding my household of the hat from hell!! [angel]

    Oh, and I understand that unearthly screams have been heard late at night from the landfill that received the remains of this lid?! :eek:

    So basically, Luke -- the moral is to stray closer to the "Dark" side and shun the "Light"... :) (from a Scout's millinery point of view, of course...) ;)
  15. Mark G

    Mark G A-List Customer

    I agree, I've had the same problems with the light Scouts. The residue it leaves changes the way the hat feels.
  16. At some point in the last few weeks, I saw it mentioned that one should steam using a wide pot of water, and not a steamer or tea kettle, so that there's more steam coverage on the hat at one time. Is this still the preferred method?
  17. Mark G

    Mark G A-List Customer

    I've never been able to get a decent amount of steam from and open pot. I've always used a kettle.
  18. Your basic garden variety hat steamer like the Jiffy J01 or J-4000 have a spout that has an opening of about 1". so a clothing steamer or tea kettle will do the trick more effectively than an open bowl or pot.
    Now for the "light" Scout hat cleaner, I think we can agree to just stay away from it. I had first heard about the problems with it about a year ago from our local hat man at the Boot Barn. He even demonstrated it to me on an old beater hat they put aside for that very demonstration for those smart enough to listen. With the steam, the "dark" hat cleaner & the orange sponge you should be able to lift any remaining dirt from the original creases and have a fairly clean crown.

    Oh, and remember when brushing the crown & brim go in a counterclockwise direction, and the key words are "gentle" and patient. Try to make it sort of a relaxing event and take a couple of hours to do it, you'll be quite pleased with your results.

    Please post any photos of your efforts when done. I'd like to see your results.



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