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

  1. SHatfield

    SHatfield New in Town

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    Purchased this Falcon Park, Weekender 100% beaver hat back in 2011. I learned that I had actually ordered it too small (my mistake with a measuring tape.) but I've been wearing it anyway. I am planning on trying to stretch it from approximately a 7 1/8 to a 7 1/4 so not much, with some steam and a hat stretcher. Admittedly I have not cared for it as I should have so you can see in the pics where it has worn smooth on the crown where I have grabbed it over time.

    My question is ... can the worn smooth places be repaired? I emailed Parker at Falcon Hats but he hasn't responded yet. hat1.jpg hat2.jpg hat3.jpg
     
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  2. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,582
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    A caution: Do Not let the steam hit the leather sweat. A direct shot of steam on the leather and you risk curling it like a rasher of bacon or like salt on a slug. With your hat you face an additional hurdle in that you have to stretch not just the felt, the leather sweat but also the leather hat band. One full size up is stretching it a lot .....a fat 1/2" is a big chunk of real estate in a hat.

    You may be best served sending it back for a resize and refurb if you like the hat a lot.

    If the crown wear is just surface you may try a little 1000 or 1200 grit sandpaper and try to raise the nap with that. But use a very light hand and let the sandpaper do the work not you. If the area has thinned then be very cautious lest you wear right through.
     
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  3. SHatfield

    SHatfield New in Town

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    I fear I may have tried a brush on the crown and knocked a slight bit of it off. I tried to contact Falcon Park and they haven't responded yet.
     
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  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,582
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    It is a tough call as a refurb may cost you close to the amount of a new hat. Worth it if you love the hat.....maybe not if you are indifferent. Perhaps keep it as is, accept you got your monies worth out of it (you have worn it out!) and treat yourself to a new one that fits. A brush, unless it is incredibly stiff coarse bristled, will not damage the felt....or at least you would have to really work at it.
     
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  5. I've seen that style, with the circular seam that runs over the top of the brim, referred to as a "pub cap". One company that makes them is called Wigens/Wigéns, and I found this website that is selling that style of cap in a number of colors. Of course, that's just one example by one manufacturer; if you look around you'll probably find the cap you're looking for at a more reasonable price.
     
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  6. glider

    glider One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    258
    That is an Ivy.
     
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  7. SHatfield

    SHatfield New in Town

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    I got a response from Falcon Park Hats. Parker said he'll put an upgraded better quality leather headband in it and do his best with the felt marks and charge $100 which includes return to me shipping. I think it could be worth it so that's what I'm doing. Thanks for your advice.
     
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  8. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,582
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I think that is a very fair price.....and worth it to save a hat you like!
     
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  9. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Add this to one of those things I thought I knew but later decided I did not know at all. Did the old homburgs (1900 -1930'ish) have more symetric, smooth pencil roll style brim curl or did they have the more asymmetric, folded D'Orsay-ish brim curl?
     
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  10. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,582
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    The closest I have is a 1940's Mossant homburg. It has the symmetrical bound brim not the D'Orsay curl
     
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  11. blewnote

    blewnote New in Town

    Messages:
    10
    Ok hat enthusiasts... here's my question: How do you tell a quality fur hat?

    I'm a musician in New Orleans, bought a lame Capas lite-felt black fedora when I first moved to town and never really wore it (except on tour with the Squirrel Nut Zippers). I liked the idea of wearing hats though, and ended up with a lot of flat caps and a few straw hats of increasing niceness, the most recent being a Dobbs shantung vented centerdent fedora (purchased from Meyer the Hatter and which has been great to wear in the summertime heat).

    I've been out of work for basically a year and a half because of Covid but am about to start touring again and wanted to finally get a nice hat to wear. I went back to Meyer because even though I had done a bunch of research on here and elsewhere and thought that an Akubra Stylemaster might be a reasonable thing to check out first, I think it's good to support local businesses, it's nice to try something on before you buy it, I had a $75 giftcard from the Christmas right before the world ended, and I thought the carbon grey color David Morgan stocks might be too dark and I can't wait for something to get shipped here from Australia. I went there thinking that I would maybe buy either a Stetson Chatham or Temple in Caribou (the Whippet they stock is the low quality wool felt variety), and even though I know people here poo poo Stetson's rabbit fur quality as of late, it is an iconic American brand and Meyer is a trustworthy business so I figured if they sold it they must not think they're awful.

    To my surprise the hat the sales associate first had me try on was the one I liked the most, a Selentino Sterling in steel grey. It's a centerdent, like the shantung I own, and a similar brim width and shape so I think it was familiar. The proportions on the Chatham looked off to me, and the crown on the Temple that the SA pulled out of storage upstairs seemed like it was tilting a little to one side. The sales associate told me that the rabbit fur hats at that price level are basically all the same quality and that the Stetsons were no better or worse and to pick whichever I liked. I bought the hat, and went home. I was curious to learn more about the hat though because it was not on my radar for what I was thinking of buying so I went home and looked it up, but perhaps I should not have opened that can of worms.

    This is my first fur felt purchase so although I am comfortable wearing a fedora I don't really know what the fur felt hat should feel like. The Selentino (which is panned pretty hard by at least one user on here who reports buying them for $25 a pop out of the back of some dude's truck) seems like a nice hat? I gather Selentino is just a re-branding but the hat is made by the respected hatter Tonak in Czechoslovakia. The crown is malleable and the brim stays put when you snap it up or down. The felt seems solid, but is not bulky and is softer in the crown than the brim. It feels firm, but soft to the hand.

    However, it was rather more expensive than the Akubra (and even slightly more expensive than the Stetsons oddly enough), and even with some felt to keep it from sitting too low on my head, the crown is touching or almost touching the back of my head... and also my wife thought something about it looked off when I tried it on for her before I had fully dialed in the proper fit with some felt.

    So I went ahead and ordered the Stylemaster from David Morgan and got it today. It's definitely dark, but not that much darker than the one I purchased. It is surprisingly tighter than the 59s from Selentino or Dobbs, almost fitting perfectly out of the box. The brim is slightly stiffer, but the rest of the hat is so firm that it feels almost like paperboard as opposed to felt. It looks good on me, and the teardrop is high enough that it doesn't touch the back of my head at all.

    Now, I read time and time again that when you handled a good hat you "just knew" because it felt better in the brim and the body. But leaving aside the crown touching my head (which I think might be an easy fix with a slight rebashing), I would say that the "poor" quality Selentino feels like a better hat than the "good" quality Akubra which feels a bit like it's made out of paperboard. Based on this I would lean towards keeping the Selentino, but I do like a bargain and I've also read time and time again that these Akubras take a beating and keep on keeping on, which seems important for a hat that will be braving the rigors of the road. Our tour takes us through Eugene on this first leg, so I think I'll stop in at Northwest hats and custom order something, but I do need something for now as well.

    So all that to say, how does one tell a decent quality fur felt hat? It's what has held me back from buying one until now, and is still perplexing me. Thanks in advance for any help y'all can give!
     
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  12. A lot of us will tell you that none of the hats in question are great hats. Akubra makes a good hat for the price and they can take a lot of wear without looking shabby, but it’s not great felt. It’s sturdy and decent, but not great. Akubras also have a lot of variation where the felt can be very different from one hat to the next even when the color and model are the same.

    Selentino Sterling hats are the lowest grade of Selentino. I agree that the felt isn’t bad and if you like the shape and fit then there’s nothing wrong with it. I prefer that felt over the Stetsons you mentioned as far as dress hats go. What I don’t personally like with the Sterling are the proportions, but that’s a personal thing. To my way of thinking, you need to either go custom or vintage to get felt that you immediately know is something special. All the hats you’ve mentioned are compromise hats. It’s not reasonable to expect them to be the equivalent to hats costing three times as much or more.

    Several of us here bought Selentino Sterlings when The Burlington Coat Factory closed them out and sold them VERY cheap. There were also caches that popped up at stupid low prices. Those deals are long gone.

    To come full circle, you either commission a custom hat with the expense and wait or you find a vintage hat on the used market. Otherwise you understand that you are making compromises and you won’t get the kind of felt that you “just knew” was high quality. I guess another option is to try one of the “Pure” hats from Stetson…maybe the Stratoliner? The felt might be what you’re looking for, but the build quality is still not great.

    We all wish there was an option where you get outstanding felt, solid build quality, and a classic shape from an off-the-rack hat at affordable prices, but we’re living seventy years too late for that. Don’t get me wrong, some of those modern “compromise hats” are very serviceable and wearable, but you won’t mistake them for better custom or vintage hats.
     
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  13. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,582
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Now that you have done some leg work; trying on different hats, purchasing a few you have an idea of what works for you. Next purchase have a look at some custom hat makers. Many custom hatters will make you a rabbit felt hat at a price not that much higher than an off the shelf Stetson. And from a custom maker you get a good quality felt, proportions of your choosing, good quality grosgrain ribbon all put together with great skill and care.
     
  14. jlee562

    jlee562 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,778
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Not to get too high minded about it, but in some respects, good is relative to your hat needs. Akubra primarily makes working hats for the outback, they just also make dress felt hats. So good hat if you plan on wearing it in a lot of rain. Not a good hat if you want a high end hat (to be clear Akubras *are* good hats, but you will find factory hats with nicer components and finishing). To echo Brent, if you like it on your head, it's a good hat.

    Since most of us here are vintage hat enthusiasts, in a very general sense, what "good felt" constitutes is more akin to those old open crown hats that were meant to be shaped by the wearer. With modern factory hats it's a little bit different since almost all hats come pre-creased now. The hat still should respond to steam though if you are making adjustments. You should also be sure the color is nice and even throughout. The felt should be nicely finished with no rough spots or divots. Avoid hats with s-m-l-xl sizing. Glued in liners are not great, sometimes this is unavoidable in modern hats. Stiffness or lack thereof is not necessarily an indicator of felt quality.
     
  15. Reminds me of an recurring disagreement I’ve had on the quality of Winchester’s modern western felt. The working cowboy loves it and has declared it to be close to perfect for his uses. I’m very critical of it as it’s too stiff/firm and nothing like the vintage felt I prefer. The very traits that make it ideal for the cowboy make it feel cheap and harsh for me. It’s not a matter of one being right and the other wrong: it’s about matching the felt or the hat to your application and preferences.

    I don’t care for the Selentino Sterling. It’s not a bad hat, but the components are not to my liking and the blocking isn’t what I like either. For me, the Akubra is a clear winner over the Selentino.
     
  16. glider

    glider One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    258
    I think that there is a little snobbery at work here. There are a lot of hat experts on this forum, guys that really know there hats but 90 percent of the people that you come into contact with can't tell the difference in a 200 dollar hat and a 600 dollar hat. I'm not a tightwad but value is important to me. I hate to feel like I've paid way more than I need to for anything. Personally, I'm completely happy with a nice Akubra or Stetson or any number of other brands. I don't want wool felt, actually fur felt is about all I will consider and I've had good luck finding beaver on the used market. The quality of the build is right in front of you to see in a hat shop. If a hat is fur felt it will say so, at least on new hats it will. Some of the vintage hats don't say what the felt is but it is assumed that they are fur. Bottom line, if you like the hat and are satisfied with the quality then buy it and be proud to wear it. You don't need anyone to approve your purchase !!
     
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  17. Bill Hughes

    Bill Hughes Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,645
    Location:
    North Texas
    I don’t see any snobbery at all. The question was “How do you tell a quality fur hat?” How can that be answered without stating personal preferences? Is it snobbery that you won’t consider wool? No, it’s personal preference. So part of your answer is in effect wool is not quality. I would never call that snobbery!
     
  18. glider

    glider One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    258
    That comment was a little tongue in cheek, thought I would get a rise. Actually I do stand by the comment and you are right about my preference for fur felt. There certainly are wool felt hats that are fine hats, most bowlers are wool. I suppose wool is like fur in that there can be a very wide standard. I think the jest of the post is about right though.
     
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  19. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

    Messages:
    16,741
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    That's how I took it. I've often referred to myself as a "beer snob." I think I'm a "hat snob," too.
     
  20. carouselvic

    carouselvic I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,344
    Location:
    Kansas
    I know I'm a hat snob. I try to be mindful of this affliction. I would never dog a man about his hat, it's such a personal thing. Being a long time hat wearer as well as a collector it makes it possible for me to have and wear many fine hats. Not everyone shares my passion or has my ability to blow money on my interest. When someone asks for my opinion on their hat, I give it. I don't sugar coat it but I am very direct.
     
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