Ask a question, get an answer

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Lefty, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,533
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I am a hat fan first and foremost and have hats from a dozen different custom hatters. My experience with pricing and value for money is that it depends a lot on the reputation of the hatter and what the market will bear for a hat with his name on it. Of my custom hats all of them are good to very good to great....but it is not really about the look of the hat. With the truly experienced master hatters the "tell" is in the details. The small touches that only show upon close inspection. I could line up all my custom hats that have price points from $250 to $750 and from 3 feet away i challenge anyone to pick out the most expensive from the cheapest.

    If you were to pick the hat up and closely inspect you could detect the differences but they are still very subtle and hard to pick out. All custom hatters use similar equipment, the same raw materials so it stands to reason that the big picture items will be a match unless the maker is incompetent and there are not that many out there than survive without at least some competency.
     
  2. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,533
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I am in the process of ordering a lighter felt, pouncing it to an even lighter weight finish, ventilating it with both top crown and side vent holes, no liner. It is meant to be a summer felt and the wearer does not have to switch to a Panama. We shall see how it turns out.
     
    Blare likes this.
  3. DBA MD DLFAPA1948

    DBA MD DLFAPA1948 New in Town

    Messages:
    49
     
  4. DBA MD DLFAPA1948

    DBA MD DLFAPA1948 New in Town

    Messages:
    49
    You a d DH should give a seminar with visual examples imho
     
    Blare and Rmccamey like this.
  5. srcphoto

    srcphoto New in Town

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Montreal
    Curious why I would be disappointed? I've only ever held once a pure beaver hat, at JJ Hat's in NYC in feb 2020. It was a very soft and malleable felt, spanish made hat. Pricey too.
    Im definitely not looking for a stiff cardboard cutout hat. I had bought an akubra stylemaster last year, and I kid you not it was so stiff I thought the felt was going to crack in half trying to snap the brim. Took me a few days of beating that hat like a rented mule to get the brim to even snap down, and it still bears the initial sharp dents in the felt from the first snap attempt. For weeks that hat would just look at me the wrong way and I'd have to give it an education with my firsts for the pure gall of the damned thing. The hat finally acquiesced after various blizzards and beatings before becoming soft enough to wear in polite company (needless to say, it was not my favourite hat at first)

    Thank you though for the information and opinions from experience though. Its much appreciated. That's why I was asking about the different felts out there, from the 50x fepsa or your other suggestion of Gannon 100x winchester beaver. I understood that 100x beaver was to be stiffer felt than the blends would be, given a similar weight. This is were I get confused between opinions: some say that 100x pure beaver offers the more robust hat capable of being light and shapable while still retaining shape, and others say that the 30x or 50x offers the better option for sucha felt, and reserving the 100x for the finer finish of a dress hat that never gets its hands dirty.
     

  6. None of the Winchester felts that I’ve seen are as re-shapable as the 50X FEPSA felt. The 100X FEPSA also isn’t as re-shapable. If you need a hat that can be “rolled” I don’t think any of them are ideal, but the 50X FEPSA is closest. Gannon usually uses a shallow flange so that’s a inline with what you want, but the 100X beaver from Winchester are just different from anything FEPSA makes. The best option is to call the hatters on your shortlist and tell them what you want.

    A 2 1/4 inch brim is flirting with the “stingy” range and not a favorite of mine. Personally, I think most everyone looks great with a wider brim, but some faces can certainly pull off the short brims better than others. The important part is that you’re happy with the hat.
     
    srcphoto, Zombie_61, Blare and 2 others like this.

  7. As for the possibility of being disappointed with a pure beaver from Gannon: it all depends on what you want from your felt. I’m certainly disappointed with pure beaver western felt from Winchester.

    One of the Gannons I received last year had such thin felt that I could literally blow dents into the crown. I loved it, but some people might not. Some might want a felt that is pounced very smooth, is very soft, but also has more body. If you want to put a crease / bash in a hat and have it stay just like you put it in then my Gannon is not for you. In my very limited experience, the fedoras from Northwest have thicker felt with more body. Both Gannon and Northwest use the exact same felt from the same source, but they work it differently and my hats from the two hatters are very different. While the hatter can do a lot, the nature of the felt as felted also plays a part in what’s possible. No amount of skill or time or tools will make a Winchester beaver felt into FEPSA 50X/100X or vice versa.

    Almost all hatters have access to the same felt and felt colors. Ribbon is another story. Vintage grosgrain is the best ribbon and quantities are limited.
     
    Zombie_61, Blare, belfastboy and 3 others like this.
  8. I read that and my mind went here:

    upload_2021-1-16_5-47-37.png
     
    Zombie_61, Blare and hatsRme like this.
  9. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,533
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Okay, that is tooo big a picture!
     
    Zombie_61, Blare and BobHufford like this.
  10. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,533
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    It is a maddening aspect of hat acquisition that a definitive answer is hard to come by. I have an Akubra Sydney (same as stylemaster, same price point) and a 25 year old Madison that came open crown and super soft hand....easy to bash. So it is confounding that yours came so stiff. Same thing holds for a custom as each hatter has their way, their approach to feel/structure....and they too are bound by the raw material delivered to them. So in my experience it is hard to say what exactly is the "right" answer. I suggest you choose a hatter and talk to him at length about what you seek, what uses for the hat, what feel......and gauge their input and willingness/patience to work with you. I have 2 hats from Art @VS..both 100% beaver. One has a softness to it the other is western stiff. Other hatters are known for producing hats on the stiff side, while others are more willing/able to get a hat softer and closer to your desires....but may have to sort through multiple felts to find you a softer one to begin with. For me right now I am a big fan of the Sunrise nutria......robust yet soft.....I just wish they had a larger colour selection in the 150gram
     
  11. DBA MD DLFAPA1948

    DBA MD DLFAPA1948 New in Town

    Messages:
    49
    Nice crease well done!
     
    TheOldFashioned likes this.
  12. srcphoto

    srcphoto New in Town

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Montreal

    My Fedora's (sydney for usa folk) all came soft, and I much prefer them to the stylemaster. They are not floppy, not stiff, and have a softer fuzzy hand, with a longer nap. I love my modified one. I pretty much live in the hat. I bashed them with water, rather than steam, due to the thickness of the felt, and found they shaped and held up far better that way.

    Ive fired off emails to Gannon, Hufvud, and Hornskov, to see what sticks. Mikael has been the most communicative. Style-wise, I am fond of the Gannon look (at least from a photo standpoint) as they appear the most classic. Hornskov is certainly the most social media focused.
     
  13. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,533
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    You cant go wrong with a Gannon....he is next up for me
     
  14. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    I currently own eight Akubra hats. Seven are Imperial Grade felt, one is Heritage Grade felt which, for the purposes of this discussion, shall be removed. Of the seven remaining, the level of stiffness of their felts was pretty much even except for two. One of those two was/is so soft that I'd be surprised to learn they used any stiffener at all on it. But the other...hoo boy. When I received it, it was easily as stiff as four of my other Akubras combined. It actually took a good deal of effort to snap the front of the brim down the first four or five times, and it immediately popped right back up. I don't pretend to know exactly how they do things at Akubra, but read enough of these threads and you'll learn their quality control is all over the map, especially when it comes to the stiffness of their felts. That hat eventually got softer, but it took several re-creases and quite a bit of handling to do it.
     
  15. DBA MD DLFAPA1948

    DBA MD DLFAPA1948 New in Town

    Messages:
    49
    I recently blocke
    I recently blocked a bushman after studying these threads and YouTubes. I also admired the video of Roy Rogers blocking his stiff as a board Stetson in the shower with his iconic double telescope teardrop.
    I used distilled water in a mist bottle. Fortunately, I had a hat rack to mold a bubble in the crown, after setting the tight pinch in the front and the rear angle taper.
    The crown of the bushman was softer than the brim. Fortunately I was not looking for a dramatic curl but a gentle dip in the front as seen in my avatar. Something between a snap down and a flip up. Spraying the brim took some work. Kevin from JJ hats gave me some advice after I shaped the brim and that confirmed that I was ok. There are some crinkles on the top of the crown similar to one of our colleagues pointed out occurred when his Bushman was in the rain. They are not awful but do not brush out. I’m cool with it but if anyone has a suggestion for the future, I’m not opposed to improving. This as you guess was my first foray into bashing my felt hat although I used similar techniques with my palm and Panamas.
     
    Blare, deadlyhandsome and Zombie_61 like this.
  16. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    I don't have any equipment that would provide a proper amount of steam, so distilled water in a mist/spray bottle is all I've ever used to re-shape my hats. I'm guessing the heat associated with steam would help to soften the felt(s), but soaking them with distilled water has worked out pretty well for me.
     
  17. srcphoto

    srcphoto New in Town

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Montreal


    Thank you Brent, for the detailed information so far. I've reached out to Michael Gannon, and he said for a warm weather hat he'd pounce the felt thin. The 2 1/4 in brim may seem smaller, but on my frame its certainly not stingy. For the Akubra fedora hat I have, I find it suits better for the balance of proportions with my face shape and crown height. Also, as I would wear my hat while on filmsets shooting, too large a brim would just be a huge pain in the ass to navigate, while swapping cameras equipment, or just trying to keep a lower profile working behind the scenes. I am certain if I waltzed on set with a 7in crown and 3.5in brim I would have to fight both the unwieldy nature of the hat as well as the tirade Gandalf or Pimp jokes from crew, or angry cast bemoaning the noise in their eye-line.

    Im thinking 5 3/4in with up to 2 3/8 brim. I favour the tallish crown, so maybe more if whichever hatter suggests what works best. I've been deep diving more on the lounge of late. There was one photo I saw of a hat Anthony (moon) had gannon make for him that just struck me. But I imagine the look is as much that style of diamond he put in all his hats.

    (The only downside I fear from gannon is the postage cost, at least $50usd to ship to Montreal which is some bitter medicine compared to the europeans postage included... not his fault though, as I've noticed a painful sharp increase in usps costs to canada over the last couple years, so much so that I hardly ever order online from US nowadays)
     
  18. srcphoto

    srcphoto New in Town

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Montreal
    Wow, that hat looks like a real hipster dumpster find, complete with soiled rags and vintage matchstick. Do you think it comes from the box smelling like old railroad ties and stale liquor? If so, that hobo-chique could be worth a fortune. Why, I bet there are plenty of rubes out there with more dollars than sense who would be happy to pay a ransom for such a thing. ;-)
     

  19. Sounds like you’re on the right track. My own preferences have changed over time to wider brims, but there is such thing as taking that too far on a fedora. I wear lots of brim widths and go down as low as two inches.

    I’m really liking the modest brims (3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inch) westerns at the moment. I can completely understand the need for a hat that doesn’t interfere with your work: keep it quiet, but I wear ball caps at work sometimes.

    Shipping has gotten out of control these last few years. I have eight hats in Canada right now that I’m not looking forward to paying the shipping for.
     
    Blare and DBA MD DLFAPA1948 like this.
  20. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,533
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    A smaller brimmed hat is much cheaper to mail if the box is less than 14x14x8" or so...Brent can you chime in on this? I can send a hat south for $20 in a 14x14x7" and I think USPS allows 1 extra inch for their cheap rate.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.