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Installing A Chin Strap

Discussion in 'Hats' started by AlterEgo, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo A-List Customer

    I got my new dark fawn Akubra Lawson from David Morgan today. Naturally, I immediately stuck it on my head and went out for a walk, which turned into a really long walk--I wanted to sweat it up real good and cause it too start shrinking, since it's still a bit loose even after putting felt 360 degrees around the sweat.

    Though I'm used to cocking my head just so, my brand new hat blew off twice anyway. Up until now, the widest brim hat I owned was a Fed IV Deluxe, and though it's the same size, it fits quite snug after having been worn in the rain many times. Yes, it's true; a three-inch-brimmed hat that fits a tad loose is more likely to take flight! Duh.

    The first time, had I not risked life and limb, it would have been flattened by an oncoming bus whose tires, I noted as they barely missed my foot, were not especially clean. The other time, a grimey street person caught it. Of course, he wanted a finders' fee. Gee, thanks. The joy of urban living.

    With that said, I think I need a chin strap, AKA stampeed string. Being a rugged, strictly casual hat, a wind trolley is just not in keeping with the Lawson.

    This is a Heritage Collection hat, so it does not come with the chin strap hooks that most of DM's Imperial Quality Akubra's do. However, they do include instructions on installing a chin strap. They're quite clear, with photos and everything, and it involves sewing small shirt buttons inside the crown for attaching it and cutting the sweatband stitching at the sides between the sweat and the crown to make a ports for the chin strap ends to thread through. So that the sweat stitching does not unravel, you have to bar-tack or oversew it to the crown on either side of the ports.

    I'm just reluctant to cut on a brand spanking new $150 hat, yet I don't want it damaged or lost, either. Has anyone here ever actually installed a chin strap on a hat not pre-equipped for one? How'd it work out? Any tips?
  2. I the the modern straps, not the Akubra one, just slip in the sweatband and then you bend the cotter pin. No cutting of the felt.
  3. Got the Lawson. Got the chin strap. Didn't install the chin strap. Not looking for homeless to hold hat hostage for finder's fee, but hat fits great so not worried. Please feel free to post tutorial. Stop. :)
  4. s7eng

    s7eng New in Town

    I used to work in a store that sold hats to a lot of rodeo people. Some of them would use paperclips on the sweatband and some kind of cordage as a chin strap. They had to keep their hats on durring events or they would loose points. Just an option where you wouldn't have to cut or sew or punch holes.
  5. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo A-List Customer

    Thanks, everyone.

    I'm inclined to go with the loop-over-sewn-to-crown-button method as opposed to the cotter pin approach because I think the metal would eventually wear through the sweat and might be uncomfortable, too. Plus, I like the hand-braided kangaroo leather chin strap David Morgan offers, the loop type.

    Only thing is, DM's instructions say to sew the "small shirt button to the inside of the crown about 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches above the brim (making sure the stitching will be hidden by the hat band)."

    That's impossible for the Lawson, for the braided hatband is too narrow to conceal the stitching even at the lowest suggested point, 3/4 inch. Further, the buttons, though behind the sweat at that height and so somewhat buffered by it, would punch into the sides of my head.

    I notice that the metal grommets which anchor DM's own hooks are clearly in sight above the hatbands of all its Akubras that come with them, even the 1 1/4-inch ribbon of the Squatter. Do they think such a grommet is not unsightly, while a tiny bit of stitching is? Some folks think the oh-so-obvious grommet is a ventilation eyelet!

    If sewn very neatly using thread that is the exact color of the dark fawn felt, then the stitching would still be apparent but not detract from this hat, which is a strictly casual style, anyway. I'd peel back the lining before sewing so that the stitching would not be attached to it, primarily on general neatness principle, but also in case I ever wanted to remove the lining.

    Again, has anyone here ever actually done this?
  6. shortbow

    shortbow Practically Family

    Based on my experience, your worries about the cotter pin thingy are unfounded. Also, any of the riders I know who have used this likewise have had no problems. Simple, quick, easy, and no alterations. Before cutting up your new sombrero why not try it first and see how you like it. Nothing to lose, eh?
  7. Cotter pins

    For everyday use, in nothing more than a good stiff breeze now and then, the cotter pin method is fine. I've used them in cowboy hats many times, with no extra discomfort at all. You just make sure the cotter pin slides (when together) in between stitches, then bend it down even with the bottom of the hatband. I quit using them on my hats and started punching holes for a loop around the crown type, since at the time I was guiding horseback trips into windy desert canyons, and those cotter pins can come free if enough stress is put on them. I didn't want the horses and guests behind me to be in danger if my hat blew off and went under their horses' hooves. Nowadays, I mostly just make sure I buy the right size and make sure I'm holding my mouth right, and mine never comes off. Thanks, Frank
  8. Frank's right about the difference

    It's sort of like wearing chaps

    If you are doing it for looks or casual protection, the thin suede things are OK

    But if you are really going to get some work done, stick with the old bull-hide batwings

    The pin method is OK for a stiff breeze, but it won't hold up to heavy use
  9. While we're talking about it ... the best answer is to have surgical screws installed in your skull and then mount matching hardwear in the sweats of all your hats

    You'll never lose one againlol
  10. BTW, I do have a cotter pin set of stampede strings around here somewhere but in practical use, I have always gone with a leather punch to the brim method...
  11. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo A-List Customer

    And for my next trick...

    Thanks, everybody.

    Funny story:

    Yesterday, I went out for my usual brisk early morning walk, wearing, of course, my new Lawson. Though it had been raining (NOT in the forecast--how do those guys keep their jobs when they're consistently wrong?), it had unfortunately stopped by the time I got out the door. I say "unfortunately" because I've been waiting for a good rain to soak the hat, for shrinking and slight re-shaping purposes.

    Anyway, the weather was changing rapidly, with a high pressure system moving in, skies clearing, Suddenly, in mid-walk, a stiff gust of wind kicked up, and the Lawson took flight. It went up high, out over the street, and I was about to position myself like a center fielder beneath a Willy Mays pop fly to catch it, only to see a city bus barreling down the curb lane.

    While I love my Lawson and the bus appeared to be braking, I jumped back onto the sidewalk, as buses inevitably win in contests with pedestrians, and froze--eyes rivetted to the bus and momentarily off the hat.

    Well, the bus did, in fact, stop, and just as it did, the Lawson settled onto my head!!! A couple of riders on my side of the bus saw the whole thing, one laughing uproariously, the other with a quizzical, how'd-he-do-dat? look on her face!

    I straightened the hat on my head and took a deep bow.

    I don't need a chin strap!

    And for my next trick...
  12. With such a well trained hat as that, chin straps are not needed, right?

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