Akubra break-in method?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by tm3, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. tm3

    tm3 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    NC
    forgot exactly where i read this and could not find it with a search.

    someone posted a systematic recommended way of "working in" a new Akubra before bashing. anybody know where this is? i assume that this is to make the hat overall softer, or maybe it makes it easier to bash. does the hat fit or feel better when softened up? i've just done a minimal bash on mine and otherwise left it alone with an "if it ain't broke attitude" but wonder if i'm missing something.

    thanks!
     
  2. Goose.

    Goose. Practically Family

    Messages:
    898
    Location:
    A Town Without Pity
    Hey TM3, I'd like to see that thread too :)

    I have bashed five Akubra hats right out of the box. The only prep was a Bud Light on my desk as I sat down to do them.
    So maybe I've been missing something all this time.
     
  3. Chuck Bobuck

    Chuck Bobuck Practically Family

    Messages:
    715
    Location:
    Rolling Prairie
    1. Bash
    2. Place on head
    3. enjoy :D
     
  4. Thwack

    Thwack Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    here you go

    http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?t=36230&highlight=fed+iv+soft

    I believe that is what you are looking for, origionally posted by Woodfluter. I didn't try it myself, figured I was going to wear it long enough that I wouldn't need to prematurely break it in. I'd do it the good ol' fashioned way but I have noticed the places that get handled regularly are softer and more plyable than the rest of the hat.
     
  5. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

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  6. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

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    17,195
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    Hardlucksville, NY
    Ditto.
     
  7. Pduck

    Pduck One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Goose, you have indeed been missing something if Bud Light is your preferred beer.
     
  8. jpbales

    jpbales Practically Family

    Messages:
    507
    Location:
    Georga, USA
    That thread Thwack linked to is pretty great!

    What I'm probably going to do when my Campdraft comes (yes... I ordered a Campdraft :) ) is 1. make sure it fits/can make fit 2. sand/pounce it some 3. work it with my hands to make it softer.
     
  9. Woodfluter

    Woodfluter Practically Family

    Messages:
    784
    Location:
    Georgia
    Yep, that would be me. I posted some still pictures of the process, but if you'd like to avoid that horror show, try this posting on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LVl7pFrIqQ&feature=related

    The Fed Deluxe shown there is very comparable in flexibility to all of mine - post treatment. I just beat mine up more than what's shown there to get it to that stage. Couple of suggestions:

    1. You don't have to soften them up first - I shaped and creased mine to my liking in most cases, then when entirely dry again after all the steaming, I worked them over. Bright lights and good cop optional, no rubber hoses needed.

    2. Be careful not to over-stress stitching on sweatband, ribbon etc. Apart from than, repeatedly punch the crown down and pop it up, mash the crown from the sides every which way, grab the brim and flop it up and down like you were fanning a fire while moving around the circumference, and keep it up for a good long while - 15 or 20 minutes of this stuff is what I recall.

    3. Do not wring! Apart from that, don't be afraid of damaging the felt. Mine were only better for this.

    4. In my case, the hat persistently pops right back into whatever shaping I'd done before. Only it is soft enough that you can put a diamond into it instead of a center dent, for example, and it'll hold, but it wants to go back to what you've steamed in.

    5. I've softened up three Imperial felt hats also, but they never responded as well and needed a little steaming and reshaping after. The Heritage (deluxe) ones never did.

    Good luck!
     
  10. I give mine a good soaking with distilled water, helps me shape the crease & the brim. It also seems to tighten up the new felt & make the nap lay down as the Campdrafts seem a bit fuzzy at first.
     
  11. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    Yep - also, riding the subway helps. Twiddling/massaging my hat while on the train to and from Manhattan has made my year-old Royal Stetson Ashland quite buttery - don't try it while driving, though!

    Whoops - just realized I talked about a Stetson in an Akubra thread - but I'll be doing the same thing with my Stylemaster when it arrives, so it's OK, I promise...
     
  12. Mr. Paladin

    Mr. Paladin My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,133
    Location:
    North Texas
    Indeed you have...try scotch!:D

    I have not done anything specific with my Camp Draft or my FED IV to break them in. I have jut let natural handling take care of that.
     
  13. tm3

    tm3 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    NC
    that's the one!

    thanks, woodfluter, and everyone else!
     
  14. Daoud

    Daoud One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    My Fed IV just did not fit/feel just right until recently. I got it T-totally soaked- I had wet it down before but not like this- and let it dry naturally. NOW it fits like the rest of my hats do and somehow it looks better. Certainly it stays creased better than a soft bash. I've gotten pretty cavalier about dunking my hats since then. Doesn't hurt them at all, although I haven't tried it on any of my older hats. But I won't be monkeying around with steam or the spray bottle anymore.
     
  15. carldelo

    carldelo One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Astoria, NYC
    Two questions - did you wear it while it was drying or at least put it on a hat rest? How wet did the sweatband get?
     
  16. Daoud

    Daoud One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Oh, the whole thing was soaked, absolutely. And no, I didn't wear it while it dried- I just set it on a folded-up towel and left it overnight. Bear in mind, now, that this was a hat which, as I said, wasn't fitting quite right. So it shrunk just a tad, but enough that the fit became appreciably better. If the hat already fit well, I would have used a hat jack on it while it was drying. Also, I do this in a cool area- the garage works well at this time of year- so the drying takes longer and the risk of undue shrinkage is pretty much zero. And while I know some have experienced tapering in their Akubras after drying, I haven't had any problems myself.
     
  17. MattJH

    MattJH One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,388
    I honestly just wear mine. The natural handling and exposure to the elements does the trick just fine. My personal preference is the organic process. It may take slightly longer to break the hat in, though.
     
  18. Daoud

    Daoud One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    293
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    Well, nothing wrong with that of course. I just got tired of my hat wanting to blow off. If it was just a question of the crease, I wouldn't have done the soaking routine. But Akubra sizes seem to vary considerably, and the size 60 that should have been fine was just staying too loose.
     
  19. pauljmuk

    pauljmuk New in Town

    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    uk
    safest way in my opinion, keep it natural.


    i panicked on arrival of my cattleman, much too large, and posted worried items on here about how to sort it. now it fits perfectly, and took no more than just wearing it for a month.... honest.

    started with some tissue in the sweatband to pad it and soak up excess. wore it a bitin extreme conditions to get a sweat up. added to natural sweat by twice dousing band in distilled water.

    have since removed some of tissue and perfectly happy. h




    have faith and have patience!!!
     
  20. tm3

    tm3 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    NC
    my fed IV was too large when i first got it -- so big it rested on my ears. to avoid being mistaken for goober pyle, i put foam inserts under the band. after wearing it for about a month, i no longer needed the inserts.

    the hat fits great now (and looks great -- what a fabulous hat! i need a few more!). since first reading the original break-in thread i've wondered if i've been missing anything by not trying to soften it up overall.
     

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