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

  1. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    My mother, who worked in an abattoir/meat packing plant in her youth , when I asked her what was in a hot dog......she replied, "Don't ask, you don't wanna know."
     
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  2. Sonero

    Sonero Practically Family

    Messages:
    820
    Location:
    San Diego / Tijuana
    My lowest quality hats have been the most durable and easy to wear.....just saying :) If I were to do it all over again I would own a total of maybe 5 hats.
    1 Panama
    1 black 1 brown straw
    1 black 1 brown short brim Homburg
     
  3. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Felts/hats are like any other commodity there is a general correlation between price and quality with the usual exceptions that complicate things. In a very general sense the cheaper fur felt hats will be stiffer through the generous use of stiffeners to make up for the lack of substance in the felt itself. Beaver felt while considered the top of the food chain there still exists quality levels within that category......which part of the beaver does the felt originate? Location makes a difference. I would say trust what you see, trust what you feel in your hand and if you like it buy it. Accept you may err and buy a hat that doesn't stand up but at the end of the day you are not talking a huge $$ outlay. I have modern Stetsons that are made with a wonderful feeling felt that didn't stand up at all, weren't a 'good' buy. The first bit of moisture and the brim went all wonky, not a felt issue per se but a construction issue and one that cannot be discerned holding it in your hand in the store. Only time/wear and tear will reveal that to you. Buy what you like, buy what pleases you and takes your chances.
     
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  4. My least expensive hats have tapered, shrunk, and fought my attempts to shape them while also looking like cheap junk. Even some of my cheap fur felt hats have been huge disappointments.

    Still, some of the low to mid-grade westerns from the 1960s through 1980s have become some of my favorites. My better vintage and my best custom hats are orders of magnitude better than any of the cheap felt hats I’ve owned or seen.
     
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  5. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    One other aspect I neglected to mention is the the weight of the felt. The weight can vary greatly. I have felts that range from 100gr lighter weight millinery grade, to 120, 140, 160 and topping out at 210gram western weight. I can make a stiff hat out of the 120 gram but it requires a fair bit of stiffener to give it structure. I have 210gr western weight beaver that are very substantial felts but not overly stiff as the weight of the fibre itself gives it ample substance/stiffness.
     
  6. JeffOYB

    JeffOYB Vendor

    Messages:
    183
    Location:
    Michigan
    Thanks!

    So beaver is better. Sounds like it wears really well. Does it look different? Could a passerby tell? I mean, I *like* seeing anyone wearing a good Panama hat. Is it as nice seeing a good felt hat? Does beaver breathe different from wool while being worn? Will beaver stand up to being rained on?

    My Stetson is a Soverign. I've had it 30 yrs, wear it a dozen times every autumn/winter/early spring. Likely cost around 100.

    ...I have two hats from my grampa -- maybe from the 20s-30s. A bowler and top hat. Wonder what they're made of... Bowler is Dunlap Superb, a dull smooth look. Top hat is shiny and a bit "hairy".
     
  7. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,869
    Location:
    Central Texas
    We'd love to see pictures!

     
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  8. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    The answer is..."it depends". A good quality beaver felt will stand up to just about anything you can throw at it and while not water proof it is water resistant. Take care of it and it will last two lifetimes, abuse it and will look like crap quickly......so it depends.
    We were in Costco yesterday and a man walked by wearing a hat....my wife asked "do you like his hat?". I grunted and said no as it is a cheap wool hat. My wife (who wears hats a lot) asked "how did I know?".

    So the likely answer is the average joe on the street will not be able to tell you if it is wool or rabbit or beaver or.........you ask them the answer is likely to be...."Its a hat"
     
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  9. The top hat is likely silk plush. The bowler/derby could be fur felt or it could be wool felt.

    Beaver is not always better. Many of the fantastic vintage hats we hunt so hard for are rabbit and/or hare. When you’re choices are modern felts then beaver starts showing it’s advantages. For a fedora, I like one felt makers 50% beaver 50% ??? (rabbit or hare) felt better than their 100% beaver. It’s not fair to say that beaver is always better than other fur felts.

    If hats are one of your “things” you will be able to tell good hats from cheap hats pretty easily. You usually can’t distinguish the type of felt of passing hat wearers.
     
  10. glider

    glider A-List Customer

    Messages:
    315
    No one has commented on Nutria and how it compares . I'd be interested to know if clear beaver is actually much better than say a 6X beaver open road . Actually , what does clear beaver mean ?
     
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  11. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    16,952
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    Its always been my impression clear beaver was reserved for the belly fur.
     
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  12. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    7,896
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    I have 2 vintage Stetson Nutria hats, love the felt but I am not sure if it is 100% nutria or some % blend. I have also worked on 2 modern Winchester Nutria felts and love them. They are great to work with and make wonderful hats. The felt is soft, dense, plush. If I could get a regular supply of these felts I would focus on them. I have also worked on the Sunrise Nutria felts and like them a lot less. They are hard to work with, stiff and I have yet to work on one that didn't mottle at some point early in the pouncing process. Both the Sunrise and Winchester are 100% Nutria but are very very different iterations.
     
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  13. I have (might have sold it?) a fairly modern Stetson 6X Open Road. It is a completely different felt than the the three 7X Clear Beaver hats that have come through my hands. The 7XCB is head and shoulders better using just about any metric you can think of. In fact, they are about as far apart as two fur felt hats can be. The 1960s and more recent Stetson 10X Beaver through 3X Beaver hats can be decent or better hats, but the samples I’ve owned aren’t anything like the vintage 7XCB.
     
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  14. I think this is a consistently issue with nutria felts from Sunrise. Some come with a lot of stiffeners and some with a lot less. There’s also the dyeing of the felt: I’m not sure that Sunrise’s all natural dyes are as effective as what other felters use. That said, I have three Sunrise nutria western hats that are near perfect in feel, stiffness, and in-mottled finish. My last 100% nutria in dress weight is also about perfect. I can blow a crease in the crown it’s so thin and soft, but it’s also dense and perfectly smooth. The color is consistent too. It’s a very different hat from beaver. I have no doubt that the current nutria felt from sunrise is less consistent than beaver for Winchester or FEPSA.

    As far as vintage nutria and vintage 5XCB or 7XCB, I don’t have enough experience with them to comment.
     
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  15. I know there are a number of "asked and answered" posts somewhere here on The Lounge that address the subject of re-sizing oversized hats on the cheap by placing folded paper towels and such behind the sweatband to take up that extra space. My question is a little more specific, and I'm hoping someone here can help. I recently bought a hat online, and it's generic sizing meant it was a bit of a gamble size-wise. I like the hat but, sure enough, it's up to a full size too large. I was thinking of using foam weatherstripping behind the sweatband, but as I've not done this before I'm left wondering which thickness might work out best to snug a hat down one full size? 1/8"? 1/4"? 3/8"? Perhaps more? If anyone has any first-hand experience with this, I would truly appreciate your advice and/or suggestions. Thank you in advance!
     
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  16. Blare

    Blare I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Oh... Sounds like the only answer is to hand it off to Brent @deadlyhandsome right away!

    My experience had only been with using felt strips. Always liked the idea of weather stripping. But never tried that one. Would be interesting if there was an appropriate conversation. But it would definitely depend on how much weather stripping was used. For example. 4 inches of 1/2 inch vs 8 inches of 1/4 inch
     

  17. I’ve heard of it being used before. I believe the consensus was to not peel off the backing exposing the adhesive.
     
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  18. jlee562

    jlee562 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,804
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    When I took the last 7 1/8 Boss Raw Edge from JJ, they sent me a pair of these Cap Ban Nu to size down. They're a bit more expensive than stuffing some paper towel, but effective and pretty comfy. Also available on a popular e-commerce site named after a South American rainforest.
     
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  19. That would probably be the best and easiest solution. The only problems are that, if I remember correctly, he regularly wears two hat sizes larger than me, and he isn't a big fan of Porkpie hats. I could be wrong, and, Brent, if you read this and want the hat, send me your shipping address and I'll get it off to you A.S.A.P.!

    That's pretty much the one thing I do remember--leave the backing on to make it easier to replace the weatherstripping if/when I need to.

    Nice, and thank you Jared! I'll look into those before I decide which course of action to take.
     
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  20. glider

    glider A-List Customer

    Messages:
    315
    You can get leather strips from a leather supply store, there are a lot of different sizes so just get one about the width of the sweat band and put it behind the sweat band. That's the best solution I have found to downsize a hat. The leather will stay in place, easy peasy .
     

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