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whats everyones opinion on 100%wool fedora's?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by tuco1963, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. tuco1963

    tuco1963 One of the Regulars

    hi gang

    im new to fedora's and just starting my collection and was wondering what the pro's and con's of 100%wool fedora's are?

    my indy jones i got used from ebay could use a reforming to get a dent from the back of the crown can this be done by myself or do i need to get a professional dry cleaner to do it?

    thanks and a merry christmas to all
  2. Lotsahats

    Lotsahats One Too Many

    The general view around here is that wool just isn't worth it--they don't hold up over time, don't handle the elements well, and don't have the same overall feel that fur felt does.

  3. jlee562

    jlee562 My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Welcome to the lounge.

    I'm sure if you do a search, you'll come up with plenty of reading material to last you through the new year.

    In short, the verdict on wool is not good.

    The pros:
    Price - wool felts are value priced
    Availability - more widely available than fur felts

    Lack of durability - wool shrinks, tapers, and generally does not hold up to weather
    Refurbishment - fur felt hats can be reinvigorated by a "reblock" process in which the hat is re-formed on a wooden block, and the felt is re-stiffened and treated with water repellent. Wool hats cannot be reblocked. Well, I suppose they could, but I don't know anyone who would bother, considering that a reblock would cost as much as the hat.
    Accoutrements - fur felt hats generally have better materials, particularly the sweatband, but also the ribbon.
  4. -30-

    -30- A-List Customer

    "what the pro's and con's of 100%wool fedora's are "
    QUOTE: tuco1963.

    Beaver felt - $$$ - $$$$$$$$.
    Beaver/rabbit/hare felt blend - $$ - $$$$
    Rabbit/hare felt - $$ - $$$
    Wool felt - $

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  5. Good to have you here, Charlie. And Merry Christmas to you, too.

    There is place in this world (besides the landfill) for a wool fedora. Wool fedoras and homburgs and such were made back in the "Golden Era," generally as a sort of low-cost offering that allowed the sellers to have something for just about any budget. I happen to have a vintage wool cowboy hat around here somewhere. It's okay, you know. And it's a survivor.

    But really, it's hard for me to call even a very low-priced wool fedora a bargain, considering that, as others have mentioned, they don't hold up as well as fur felts, they don't have anywhere near as nice a hand as anything but the cheapest fur felts, and just about everything else that goes into them -- sweatbands, ribbons, liners -- is usually pretty crummy too. Your money would be better spent on vintage hats, which can still be had for pretty darned good prices, if you train yourself in what to look for. This is probably the best place to get that education, by the way.
  6. If your hat size is below 7 1/4 u can get great prices on vintages hats on ebay
  7. I think beavers and rabbits are the only groups endorsing wool felt hats.
  8. tuco1963

    tuco1963 One of the Regulars

    lmao thanks for the input guy's
    i think that i will wait and try to snipe a bargin on ebay for a fur felt but its gonna be a challenge with my 7 3/8 - 7 1/2 size punkin:rolleyes:
  9. CSG

    CSG Familiar Face

    Is my 25 year old Lite Felt outdoor fedora wool or something else? Because it looks fine, handles the elements well, and hasn't shrunk.
  10. deanglen

    deanglen My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I don't mind them. Fur felt is fine. Wool is its own thing.

  11. A hat with substantial wool content will be clearly marked, whether in vintage times or today; I have never bumped into a wool felt that was not clearly marked as being a wool hat. Most vintage fur felt hats did not state 'fur felt' until a point in time when the fur content became a selling point. Not sure when that break occurred. So, a vintage hat with no indication about felt content was most likely a fur felt. A Royal Stetson does not state anything about the felt content, for instance, but it was a rabbit or hare fur felt.

    Generally, after handling a few fur felts, especially the lighter weight vintage hats, you will never want wool again at any price. It seems to require greater thickness to 'felt,' causing it to be relatively heavy, especially relative to fur felt, to have enough strength to hold a crease. Wool seems to have a mind of its own; where fur felt can be hand shaped in many cases, wool absolutely requires shellac in the felt to overcome that 'independence' that makes it so difficult to work with.
  12. besdor

    besdor Vendor/Sponsor

    Due to the rising costs of fur felt, wool is here to stay ..Unfortunately todays buyer has no idea as to what a hat is made from. They see price $$$.. I am hearing that some of the manufacturers are working on a combination of the two -fur and wool. It should bring th cost down and make the hat somewhat last longer . We will see.
  13. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here


    No, NO,NO!

    It'll make you think you don't like hats, please, give wool a wide berth. It sux, in extremis.
    The only wool I have ever seen that didn't disappoint was a tweed hat and that is apples & oranges. (i.e. tweed is a woven, not a felted material.)

    To reiterate:

    Stay away from wool felts. Period. Paragraph.

    They will make you LOOK & feel foolish.

    What your' $$$ can buy on the vintage market, there is just NO reason to buy wool, unless you're head is 24"+.

    Even then you can still get a fur felt at Burlington Coat Factory for under $50. Often under $30.

    Friends don't let friends buy wool®. ;)
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  14. lewisskimonster

    lewisskimonster Familiar Face

    Greetings. I have a knock around wool fedora from cabelas, but it is just that. Like others have mentioned, you can't change the bash, and it is thicker and heavier than fur. I wear it out in the woods, and don't have to worry about it getting scratched up from branches, etc. For any other application, I wear either beaver, or rabbit fur. There really is no comparison between the two, and once you get a fur hat, you will see why people here will steer you that way.
  15. I have one wool hat that I picked up at the thrift store for $3.99 some time back. When I wear it, it feels like I'm wearing a helmet.
  16. -30-

    -30- A-List Customer

    "I have one wool hat that I picked up at the thrift store for $3.99 some time back. When I wear it, it feels like I'm wearing a helmet. "
    QUOTE: V.C. Brunswick.

    So what we are saying here is -

    Felted fur is a hat; felted wool is just a covering.

    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  17. DiverAdam

    DiverAdam Familiar Face

    Wear what you like! If you want 10 different wool hats and you like them, that is all that matters. Unless of course its one of those cloth jobs, those are fancy rags, granted I do keep one in the car for after dives
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  18. I have a couple wool hats. Got them on the cheap. One, I didn't care for, too heavy and chinsy. It's a Broner. The other is a Scala New Yorker, fairly light for a wool felt, and the build quality is fairly good. The ribbon, sweatband, and liner have all held up well. I'm a pomade user and the liner hasn't even stained. I got the thing for under 30 bucks and have worn it regularly for around 2 years. You won't top fur felt, but if you're in a wool budget, like I frequently am, I'd recommend the New Yorker.
    Jhoff_1979 likes this.
  19. Bird Lives

    Bird Lives A-List Customer

    I loved my wool fedora and tried to be satisfied...but once I held a fur felt and shaped it with my fingers I could not wear my wool hat again....Seriously two completely different things....I bought a fur felt Borsalino that first day I felt it and piffed my wool fedora to a friend that dug how it looked, and it did look good...But no comparison, and since then I've worn the Borsalino in rain and snow...Really no comparison...

    I never wanted to hear this kind of thing when I was wearing my wool fedora....But you really can find vintage hats for good prices, and you'll be much happier in the long run....The way they feel when you shape them, and you can rebash them a number of different ways....They are just another whole thing...

    Now a high quality 100% wool impermeable Super Lujo or Bakkara Beret is another story....They absolutely rock!!
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  20. Actually I have some very nice early 1900s wool Bowlers (Melone) that were made in Germany. Other than being lint collectors they compare very nicely against ones made of fur felt and are very light in weight.

    This one is made of Negretti wool (115 grams!). You will not see a stiff felt hat (fur or wool) of this quality today.




    I also have a couple of soft wool felt hats made in Germany from the same time period that have a different feel than fur felt but have stood the test of time. This German soft wool felt hat is probably around 100 years old.




    There are not any wool soft felt dress hats of this quality being made today.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012

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