A Tale of Two Hats

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Frunobulax, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    16,955
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    I've been meaning to post this for a while, as most of this story occurred a few months ago. I didn't know what thread to put this in, so I started a new.

    As most of you know, I'm still a newbie to this hat thing, especially compared to our more long-time, esteemed FL Members. But I'm an enthusiastic learner and have, as I refer to it, "drank from the firehose" of hat knowledge and gotten myself spun up fairly quickly. My collection has grown commensurately, both vintage and modern. As an engineer by training, one of the things that has made this journey so interesting is learning about the felting process, hat construction, materials - the whole gamut. I'd love to get into a place like the Garland factory to explore, as process engineering is one of the things I've tackled over the years.

    Early on, I decided that I wanted to "work on" a hat, and began fishing in The Bay to find a candidate. Back in March, I found an Adam Executive Pacesetter that you've likely seen on my head a few times. Posted first are the eBay photos. Before:

    Adam Executive 1.JPG Adam Executive 3.jpg Adam Executive 4.jpg Adam Executive 7.jpg Adam Executive 9.jpg

    As can be seen from the pics, it was pretty beat, and the ad even sold it as a "beater." It was stained, the ribbons were also stained, the sweat was completely out of it, some moth damage, the whole nine yards. But it was enough for me to play with.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  2. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    16,955
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    So I get it in my hands and off to the FL to do some research. I read through hat cleaning, ribbon replacement, sweat sewing ,everything I possibly could. So one day, I went out and bought some Coleman Fuel , cleaned out a bucket in the basement, and plopped it in there for several hours, swishing it around a few time during the day. Pulled it out, popped the crown out, and tied it to a flower pot so it wouldn't blow away, and let it sit on the back patio overnight.

    In the morning, my now dry hat was examined. Most of the staining came out of the hat, but the ribbon was irredeemable. I even did a little pouncing across the top to get rid of some discoloring that went around where the crease was. So, I searched Etsy and found some suitable replacement ribbon, purchased a sweat from that Etsy guy that premeasures and sews them for you, and got to work. Here are the results:

    IMG_0927.JPG IMG_0928.JPG IMG_0929.JPG

    I made an attempt at recreating the original sharks gill bow. It was my first bow of any sort, and I refer to it as a "drunken sharks gill." Red E Kilowatt is, of course, an aftermarket item. Obviously, I kept the discolored brim binding. Didn't want to tackle that.

    IMG_0930.JPG

    The sweat went in surprisingly easy, and it's a real nice sweat. The hat turned out to be a great fit, as well.

    IMG_0931.JPG

    It turned out exactly perfect for my intentions, moth holes and all. It's one of my favorite hats and the one I really call mine. It's the hat I'll wear anywhere without a care - concerts, bars, fairs, bawdy houses. If somebody sits on this one, that's what it's for!

    IMG_0887.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
  3. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    16,955
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    OK so this is called A Tale of Two Hats, right? A couple of months later, I pick up a Dalton OR clone (at least that's what I call it). This one was in a bit better shape, as the sweat was still in it, but it had some staining, as well.

    Dalton 1.JPG Dalton 2.jpg Dalton 4.jpg Dalton 5.jpg Dalton 6.jpg

    Because it had some damage to the felt, I was a little more leery of diving into this one. As a Dalton, I knew how old it must be and that made me kinda skeered, as well. And it was a 7 3/8, to boot, while I'm a 7 1/4. I deemed this one to be beyond my ken and mettle, and decided to have a pro look at it. I did, however, tackle a stain on the brim successfully with some campstove fuel, but was afraid to do anything else. Here is a pic of the felt damage from the outside. Someone had "repaired" it with some paper tape, to reinforce it after the fact (on the inside, it's still there). The damage doesn't "breach the hull," but it's definitely seen some stress. Almost looks like coat hook damage.

    IMG_0916.JPG

    So down to Batsakes I go, as Mr. Miller's shop is only about an hour from my house. I walked in carrying my hat in a shopping bag, with the motive of getting a Batsakes box when I picked it up. You know how we're all so careful with our felts and crowns, handling them by the brim and being so careful? I pull this thing out of the bag, Mr. Miller looks at it and gets this look in his eyes. He looks at me and says, "This is a very old hat," reaches out, puts his hand over the crown, and gently crushes it, caressing it. Who am I to tell Gus Miller how to handle a hat? I requested the hat be cleaned and blocked down to a 7 1/4, and to save as much of the hat as possible, but if a new sweat is needed, so be it. I went back a couple of weeks later and picked this up:

    IMG_0903.JPG IMG_0905.JPG IMG_0906.JPG IMG_0907.JPG IMG_0908.JPG

    I'm really fond of this hat, as well. Mr. Miller got the fit right, saved the sweat, cleaned it up and reblocked it, and repaired the ribbon and wind trolley. It's super comfortable.

    At times, I take it off and contemplate whether or not I have Superman's hat.

    IMG_0910.JPG

    Thanks for letting me tell a couple of hat stories. Hope you enjoyed them. I've now tackled a few felts, and am relatively fearless. Even tackled a Milan straw a couple of weeks ago, with some success. I owe it to the knowledge and encouragement I've gotten from you guys, so thanks. I'm interested in hearing your comments on my hats.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
  4. Bob Roberts

    Bob Roberts I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    11,201
    Location:
    milford ct
    Great story my friend! I wouldn't have the patience or skill to even attempt it. Good job. Good Look. BRAVO!

    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk
     
  5. Gunship

    Gunship New in Town

    Messages:
    30
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    Wonderful stories! I'm in a similar boat --- relatively new to the hat game and soaking up as much knowledge as I can.
    The one thing I need to ask about the ribbon on the Pacesetter since I couldn't quite make it out-- is that a logo of Reddy Kilowatt? If so, that really dates me (even asking that question dates me). Great work on the lid.
     
  6. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    16,955
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    Bob, I've never sewed much. A few repairs or a button or two. The Adam was my first sewing project. Never curled ribbon either. But this got the juices going, y'know? And seeing and wearing the finished product is satisfying. Even moreso when somebody passes you and says, "Nice hat."

    Gunship, yup. I learned it as Red E. Kilowatt, but same diff. There used to be one three stories high on the side of one of the power stations here in town. It's a pin I picked up off eBay.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  7. Bob Roberts

    Bob Roberts I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    11,201
    Location:
    milford ct
     
  8. Rogera

    Rogera My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,364
    Location:
    West Texas
    Great stories Fruno! I think the shark's gill looks great!
     
  9. rogerstg

    rogerstg A-List Customer

    Messages:
    325
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    I really like these kinds of stories and love how the hats turned out, including the shark gills. IMO, perfection comes from the minor imperfections of hand made. It denotes character.

    another Roger
     
  10. KingAndrew

    KingAndrew A-List Customer

    Messages:
    312
    Location:
    Shanghai
    I love the stories and the hats.

    What did Mr. Miller do to heal the wound in the Dalton's crown?
     
  11. Fed in a Fedora

    Fed in a Fedora Practically Family

    Messages:
    732
    Location:
    Dixie, USA
    Very nice job on those hats!

    I thought the little red character was Spark E Kilowat.

    Fed - formerly of the Big Easy
     
  12. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    16,955
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    Yeah, that's why I got married! Well, one reason.

    Nothing could be done. The photo of it I posted is after Batsakes worked it. It looks like something hooked it and stressed it. Doesn't look like an abrasion, definitely not mothing. Mr. Miller left the piece of reinforcing paper tape on the inside and told me, "At least you'll always know it's your hat!"

    Fed, Wikipedia sez Reddy so Gunship wins the kewpie doll.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
  13. RJR

    RJR

    Messages:
    10,622
    Location:
    Iowa
    Great story,thanks.
     
  14. shrek

    shrek Familiar Face

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    near albany ny
    Simply outstanding my friend not stories and hats. Good for you doing the work and great refurb. I like the Coleman fuel idea
     
  15. shrek

    shrek Familiar Face

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    near albany ny
    Oops fat fingers the word not doesn't belong sorry
     
  16. shrek

    shrek Familiar Face

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    near albany ny
    Oops sorry fat fingers the word not does not belong
     
  17. moontheloon

    moontheloon I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    8,573
    Location:
    NJ
    wow !!!

    awesome job brother ... I just learned a ton

    I have a few hats that can use a swim in the fuel ... but I've yet to work up the huevos for that

    awesome job Fruno... you are brave and inspirational

    what a great read that was
     
  18. 1mach1

    1mach1

    Messages:
    15,259
    Location:
    Arlington, Virginia
    Looks good Fruno! Great read!
     
  19. DesertDan

    DesertDan One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,578
    Location:
    Arizona
    Those turned out great, well done!
    I really like the sharkgill
     
  20. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    16,955
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    Thanks for the props, guys. Working on them is fun. Seeing them finished is fun. I've got a couple I'm awaiting now that I'm going to put in Optimo's hands to see what happens.

    And of course a disclaimer, especially for my buddy Moon. Be very careful with the fuel. Read all the threads here, wear protection (rubber gloves, safety glasses). Do it outside, away from your house and, for the love of God, don't get it near an ignition source!
     

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