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Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,247
Location
Central Texas
I'll let the expert hat makers chime in but I think you may be asking too much from a modern felt with a machine pressed crease.. Either that, or the cost may be such that you can find a vintage hat in just your style for less money.

I have a 2021 Stetson Catera 5X (100% fur felt - I presume rabbit). It is a 7 5/8 regular oval. (My "Crash Test" Catera that has been posted in the Stetson Gun Club Catera thread: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/stetson-gun-club-catera.25961/post-2913530 ). The open crown is about 5 1/2" tall and the brim is 3 1/4"

The felt is actually pretty doggone good. The blocked shape (tapered), sweatband and size are pretty doggone bad. I don't know how I managed to mis-measure my head at the time I got this hat, but my actual head size is 7 3/8 long oval.

I want to have this hat rebuilt/reblocked to be a 7 3/8 long oval, straight block (no taper), at least a 6" open crown and at least 3" of brim (if not more).

Is it possible to downsize this hat by two sizes; change a tapered crown to straight; and have enough felt to do all that and heighten the crown without losing much brim?
 

Dr.John

New in Town
Messages
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Messages
16,653
Location
Central California
I have a 2021 Stetson Catera 5X (100% fur felt - I presume rabbit). It is a 7 5/8 regular oval. (My "Crash Test" Catera that has been posted in the Stetson Gun Club Catera thread: https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/stetson-gun-club-catera.25961/post-2913530 ). The open crown is about 5 1/2" tall and the brim is 3 1/4"

The felt is actually pretty doggone good. The blocked shape (tapered), sweatband and size are pretty doggone bad. I don't know how I managed to mis-measure my head at the time I got this hat, but my actual head size is 7 3/8 long oval.

I want to have this hat rebuilt/reblocked to be a 7 3/8 long oval, straight block (no taper), at least a 6" open crown and at least 3" of brim (if not more).

Is it possible to downsize this hat by two sizes; change a tapered crown to straight; and have enough felt to do all that and heighten the crown without losing much brim?


I think you would be money ahead if you sold your hat on eBay and commissioned a new custom hat.

Resizing your current hat would require stripping it down to just the felt, re-blocking it, re-flanging the brim, cutting and sewing the sweatband back in (I’d recommend a new higher quality leather sweatband), and redoing the ribbon and bow work.
 
Messages
16,243
Location
Nederland
Nice thin ribbon Borsalino! I’m no expert, but based on the lack of serrations on the ends of the size tag I’d suspect 1960s. Again, I’m no expert. Post the photos here and some real experts will be able to help:

https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/the-borsalino-brotherhood.13133/page-461
The serrations are only missing on one side of the label. We cannot see the other side (left), but all the examples of the ta/ludora models we've seen are from the 1954-1960 period. So highly likely the label is serrated on the left side.
 

ILB Frank

One of the Regulars
Messages
144
I think you would be money ahead if you sold your hat on eBay and commissioned a new custom hat.

Resizing your current hat would require stripping it down to just the felt, re-blocking it, re-flanging the brim, cutting and sewing the sweatband back in (I’d recommend a new higher quality leather sweatband), and redoing the ribbon and bow work.
Yes. I want to do just that. Basically use this as my "raw" hat body. Two reasons - 1) It would (should) save a couple hundred dollars to buy a hat body. 2) The felt is really good (in my limited experience).
I appreciate the replies you and others gave as it helps me refine my question/concern - would the rebuild destroy the felt (by tearing or reducing the quality or perhaps stretching it too thin in some way)?
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,859
Location
vancouver, canada
I'll let the expert hat makers chime in but I think you may be asking too much from a modern felt with a machine pressed crease.. Either that, or the cost may be such that you can find a vintage hat in just your style for less money.
I think it would be iffy. My experience is taking a tapered crown and reblocking on a no taper/straight sided block eats up a lot of brim.

The saving grace is; as you are downsizing the two sizes it may help get the brim/crown dimensions you want. It would be pricey to do this as the hat has to be torn down and treated as a raw felt.

There is always a risk when working with mass produced hats and the work undertaken with the caveat that the felt could be damaged in the process.

Just last week I had a decent Stetson western tear along the stitch line of the sweat band. The stitching was done far too closely and the felt tore a good 6 " along the stitch line as if it were perforated paper. I happened when it was being reblocked without even much tension put on the felt. A very good quality Ukraine rabbit felt can be had for $60 plus shipping and the build of the new hat would not cost much more than the cost to reblock/resize your hat. The amount of work would be the same either way.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,859
Location
vancouver, canada
Nice thin ribbon Borsalino! I’m no expert, but based on the lack of serrations on the ends of the size tag I’d suspect 1960s. Again, I’m no expert. Post the photos here and some real experts will be able to help:

https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/the-borsalino-brotherhood.13133/page-461
I have a Borsalino exactly the same as this......even same colour. Mine is from the 1960's as purchased but has no markings and the original sweat is gone. But I do like the hat.
 
Messages
16,653
Location
Central California
Yes. I want to do just that. Basically use this as my "raw" hat body. Two reasons - 1) It would (should) save a couple hundred dollars to buy a hat body. 2) The felt is really good (in my limited experience).
I appreciate the replies you and others gave as it helps me refine my question/concern - would the rebuild destroy the felt (by tearing or reducing the quality or perhaps stretching it too thin in some way)?


Rabbit hat bodies are usually quite a bit less than $100 and most beaver is less than $200. I can highly recommend Wolfbrae Custom Hatters @belfastboy
 

jlee562

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,920
Location
San Francisco, CA
Yes. I want to do just that. Basically use this as my "raw" hat body. Two reasons - 1) It would (should) save a couple hundred dollars to buy a hat body. 2) The felt is really good (in my limited experience).
I appreciate the replies you and others gave as it helps me refine my question/concern - would the rebuild destroy the felt (by tearing or reducing the quality or perhaps stretching it too thin in some way)?
For whatever it is worth (from someone who can count their number of full teardown hat renovations on one hand) I agree with the above posts.

If you want to continue to experiment, consider investing in a block and some basic tools and just going for it. It'll be fun! The cost savings of sending your 5x out for a full rebuild vs. sourcing your own body for a new custom is not that much. Millinery Warehouse has a handful of 230g rabbit western felts for $80, for example (that couple hundred dollars could get you a top quality FEPSA beaver felt though).

A straight sided block will take up more felt than a tapered block of the same height. So if you're trying to go 1/2" up in height and trying to retain 3" of brim, even if everything works perfectly (which is not a given) and you can directly translate the 1/4" excess from the brim and 1/4" extra in circumference to the crown height, the extra felt to fill out the crown shape still needs to come from somewhere. And because you're working with a body that was originally blocked with a crease, you're not necessarily working with the same amount of felt that an open crown hat would have had at the same height. Same principle as filling out the straight sided blockshape from a tapered one.

The original Premier Stratoliner I got from DelMonico was discovered to be from a batch that mistakenly got made with Royal quality blanks intended for the blocked in crease version. That hat started to taper up on its first light sprinkling of rain. I eventually got it replaced from Stetson courtesy of Mr. Deckard and it was explained to me that a contributing factor to the premature tapering was that the bodies had been over stretched by being made as open crown hats.

Working backwards and deducing from that, I would think trying to add 1/2" to this particular HatCo body is just going to be an uphill battle. I don't know how the Royal quality compares to the 5x, but both are the grade just above wool in the quality scale on their respective dress/western sides and just below what I would argue is the 'standard' modern Stetson quality (i.e. The OR comes in Royal Deluxe or 6x and higher, no wool version. The Temple is offered in wool but the 'nice' version is Royal Deluxe or pure beaver, if that makes sense).
 

Who?

A-List Customer
Messages
436
Location
Vernon, CT
@deadlyhandsome @belfastboy @jlee562
Thank you, gentlemen. Very good Intel. I have handled exactly 4 real hats in my recent life, so my knowledge of this is slim-to-none.
You have talked me back from the edge of the cliff.
Sigh.... Pleasant wife or new hat? (That's not a real question.. Don't answer that ;))
Don’t feel bad, I only own five (5) “real” hats, which puts me far, far away from even the average here.

I will also wear the same hat for weeks at a time, rather than several in a day.

But I continue to hover on the periphery of this hat world.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,859
Location
vancouver, canada
@deadlyhandsome @belfastboy @jlee562
Thank you, gentlemen. Very good Intel. I have handled exactly 4 real hats in my recent life, so my knowledge of this is slim-to-none.
You have talked me back from the edge of the cliff.
Sigh.... Pleasant wife or new hat? (That's not a real question.. Don't answer that ;))
Based on my history......I tend strongly towards the new hat.......but that is just me!
 

jdouglasj

Familiar Face
Messages
58
When I spoke to my new hat maker over the weekend, he asked if I wanted to receive the hat with the crown already shaped and steamed.. At first I thought, "of course I want it shaped and steamed! Why would I want an unfinished hat."

He explained to me that a lot of his customers like to do that part themselves to get it exactly right. Hmm. Well I have an iron that shoots steam, will that do the trick? Yes, he said, no fancy tools required (or at least that's how I understood it).

So my question for this group is, "Is there a disadvantage to receiving a hat with the bash already steamed in?"

That is, if I don't like what I get, can't I just steam it out and redo it? Or is it better not to steam it multiple times?

- Doug
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,859
Location
vancouver, canada
When I spoke to my new hat maker over the weekend, he asked if I wanted to receive the hat with the crown already shaped and steamed.. At first I thought, "of course I want it shaped and steamed! Why would I want an unfinished hat."

He explained to me that a lot of his customers like to do that part themselves to get it exactly right. Hmm. Well I have an iron that shoots steam, will that do the trick? Yes, he said, no fancy tools required (or at least that's how I understood it).

So my question for this group is, "Is there a disadvantage to receiving a hat with the bash already steamed in?"

That is, if I don't like what I get, can't I just steam it out and redo it? Or is it better not to steam it multiple times?

- Doug
If I read your earlier posts correctly you are pretty clear on the bash you want. You have pictures if not the hat itself. In light of that I would suggest you get Michael to do the bash for you. He will replicate the bash in your example. And as he is a great hatter his skill level will be magnitudes higher than your first attempts. Now there is a high degree of fun in doing it yourself but if you want if done well leave it to the professional. Unless you want to have the fun of playing with it til you get it right. No right answer, just the answer that feels right for you.
 

jdouglasj

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Actually...after looking at all the photos of Michael's hats over the weekend, I no longer want another Open Road. I'm not sure what I want. I have pondered over all his hat photos for hours and I have narrowed down my favorites, but how those favorites will look on me is a different matter.

I suspect I will ask him to do the initial bash and then give it a test drive. As long as there is no downside to redoing it myself, I could give it a go, but I'd hate to damage the hat in some way.
 

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