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Brim Trim - Will 1/8" Make a Noticeable Difference?

Deeeluxe Definitely

Familiar Face
Messages
90
If I were going to chop 1/4" off a hat for some reason, I would also have it reflanged.

Just sayin.

Good advice, probably. Kevin himself suggested this as well in an email correspondence earlier today.

Perhaps my favorite thing about upgrading to a nicer felt hat is a good flange. Never did find that in the cheaper wool varieties (maybe I wasn't looking in the right places).
 

Deeeluxe Definitely

Familiar Face
Messages
90
You'll be happy (or indifferent) to hear that I have decided to keep trying to acclimate to the 2-1/2" brim. This is partly due to the suggestion here to give it some time to grow on me, and partly due to the outrage from my dad and brother who apparently really love the hat as it is. I was surprised at how adamantly they don't want me to alter it.

Maybe I'll try something less permanent like getting it flanged more deeply first, if I really can't cope with it.

I did find a relatively local western shop that would trim and flange it for a great price, but still. I think I need to defer this decision and just wear it as is for the remainder of this cold season.
 

Boomerang

One of the Regulars
Messages
202
Location
Washington State
You'll be happy (or indifferent) to hear that I have decided to keep trying to acclimate to the 2-1/2" brim. This is partly due to the suggestion here to give it some time to grow on me, and partly due to the outrage from my dad and brother who apparently really love the hat as it is. I was surprised at how adamantly they don't want me to alter it.

Maybe I'll try something less permanent like getting it flanged more deeply first, if I really can't cope with it.

I did find a relatively local western shop that would trim and flange it for a great price, but still. I think I need to defer this decision and just wear it as is for the remainder of this cold season.
Adding another hat or two to your collection will give you options and might take the pressure of perfection off the hat in question. Just a thought.
 

1961MJS

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,343
Location
Norman Oklahoma
Hey, to me a 2 3/4 inch brimmed Fedora is a stingy brim, but I'm 6'2" and weigh about 210. I have larger friends who will probably never be able to use Dress felt because you can only get a 5 3/4 inch open crown and a 3 inch brim if that. Guys that are 6'5" can wear a fedora shaped hat that's built from a 6 1/4 inch crown and 3 1/2 inch brim.
At some point you'll buy a larger or smaller hat and it will give you an idea as to if you did the right thing or not.
Later
 

Deeeluxe Definitely

Familiar Face
Messages
90
I spent a mere $8 getting my brim cut down 1/8" by someone with a lot of experience, using the Boston brim cutting tool.

I spent $15 getting my hat flanged and the crown fixed up (one top pinch was very tightly pinched and the other not enough). They did the opposite of what I requested on both the flange and the crown pinches, but they did clean the dickens out of it.

So being that it was now sans dust, I felt better about the notion of steaming it myself. After many hours, I restored the crown to exactly what I want (looks freshly purchased) and flanged the brim as best as possible.

I was feeling quite good about the hat, wearing it today (proud of my work steaming it back to new: a vast improvement from its dirty, stained, misshapen origins) but something felt amiss with the brim still.

Unfortunately something went wrong, and the brim is still its original 2 1/2" on one side and as low as 2 5/16" in the back. I know I tend toward being obsessive, but this is just too much variance. (It was not a dimensional brim before, and the measurements are now all over the place.)

It looks like the only solution is to get it cut down to 2 5/16" (or, if not, 2 1/4") by someone using a rounding jack.

I'm honestly extremely disheartened at this stage, but I'm not going to give up. Yes I may have wasted some money, but the hat was obtained for $22.50, and the $15 I can justify for the deep clean. I'm still only at $45, so I have a bit to go before I feel I'd be overpaying for the finished product. The crown and ribbon are exquisite, the felt is very soft and pliable but thick, and the condition is immaculate. It looks like something someone paid a lot of money for.

But I need to get this brim sorted. A lot of time and energy has gone in, and I don't want to quit now.

I guess the take-home point is that if a hat means a lot to you, and you feel it needs modified, don't be tempted to cut expenses. (Also, don't be taken advantage of, as a hat alteration needn't cost that of a new hat.)
 
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Deeeluxe Definitely

Familiar Face
Messages
90
Hi all,

I'm desperate at this point, and any response would be greatly appreciated.

I emailed JJ Hat Center and they quoted me the full, normal $90, even though I mentioned that my ribbon isn't tacked on and can be slipped off easily, and surely that would factor into the price (a significant part of the job), as a ribbon replacement costs a person $25. That no detachment or reattachment would be required. I think they must have just skimmed my email, as they left most questions unanswered.

I'm wondering if any members here who do hat work could use a rounding jack (and not the Boston brim cutter) to get the brim to an even 2-1/4" throughout. Or if anyone knows someone who could. At this point I don't even care about reflanging it.

$90 is nearly enough for another hat on etsy or eBay, and my friend was suggesting I just buy a new hat. But I am not big on the idea of the fact that I poured extra money into my hat just to end up throwing it away. So if I could get it trimmed for a reasonable price, it is worth it to me.

Plus it's not just a matter of finding another hat- it took me many years of searching to find an affordable one where the material and condition are excellent, the crown and sizing are a perfect fit, etc

Any help is hugely needed and valued
 

glider

A-List Customer
Messages
327
Cutting the brim down isn't that big of a deal. mark your line with a pencil, carefully cut with scissors and finish with sanding paper. If you send it to someone you'll have 30 bucks or more in shipping. You're just being a pain in the ass about this. Wear it like it is and buy a new hat. Don't be offended I'm just trying to be helpful with some good advice. I predict you will have several hats at some point
 
Messages
17,452
Location
Funkytown, USA
Hi all,

I'm desperate at this point, and any response would be greatly appreciated.

I emailed JJ Hat Center and they quoted me the full, normal $90, even though I mentioned that my ribbon isn't tacked on and can be slipped off easily, and surely that would factor into the price (a significant part of the job), as a ribbon replacement costs a person $25. That no detachment or reattachment would be required. I think they must have just skimmed my email, as they left most questions unanswered.

I'm wondering if any members here who do hat work could use a rounding jack (and not the Boston brim cutter) to get the brim to an even 2-1/4" throughout. Or if anyone knows someone who could. At this point I don't even care about reflanging it.

$90 is nearly enough for another hat on etsy or eBay, and my friend was suggesting I just buy a new hat. But I am not big on the idea of the fact that I poured extra money into my hat just to end up throwing it away. So if I could get it trimmed for a reasonable price, it is worth it to me.

Plus it's not just a matter of finding another hat- it took me many years of searching to find an affordable one where the material and condition are excellent, the crown and sizing are a perfect fit, etc

Any help is hugely needed and valued

I really do believe you're overthinking this considerably. In retrospect, I think you should have listened to the advice above and just let it alone for awhile. The brim width would have grown on you and you likely would have been happy in a couple of months once you saw yourself in it a few times. Instead, it appears you plowed ahead and got some incompetent to crap it up for a fee. I believe a few folks informed you of the need for a rounding jack, yet you insisted on going with somebody with a Boston brim cutter. That's two very good pieces of advice you ignored and now you are unhappy.

If you still want to monkey with it, take glider's advice and dig out a good pair of scissors and some sandpaper. If you're unwilling to take the advice given, why are you asking for more?

It's just a hat. You're not choosing your spouse for life or investing in a new house. Put the darn thing on your head and go about your business.
 

jlee562

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,845
Location
San Francisco, CA
A few thoughts come to mind....

  • Richard Swales of Herbert Johnson (in)famously carried out brim trims with scissors. If it's good enough for the hatters to the British Crown, it's good enough for your $20 thrift store hat.
  • You seem dead set on having those shorter proportions no matter what we say, nor apparently what your dad, or brother say. If that's the case, just buy a custom hat. Buying vintage for the sake of vintage isn't of much benefit if we are talking about a hat with a pressed in crease or a lesser brand.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost
 
Messages
15,275
Location
Central California
I suggest you use scalloped scissors to hide any imperfections in the edge:

F69D2A1D-FE07-427B-8BA4-CCBFF3BF19A1.jpeg


:)
 

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,060
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
Although this thread has taken a turn toward the humorous (as it should by now), get a sharp scissor and give it a go.

I have trimmed a few raw-edges in my time and you can't tell that anything was done. I've had hats where the width of the brim (in proportion to the crown height/shape) screamed TOO WIDE at me that now, with an eighth removed, sit quietly and contentedly on my head.

I situate a pencil in my hand so that the point is 1/8" inch from where my middle finger touches the edge of the brim, and then trace around, leaving a line 1/8" in. Then trim with scissors, and finish up with sandpaper where needed.
 

glider

A-List Customer
Messages
327
I think part of the problem here is that he is worried about what other people think about his hat instead of what he thinks. Can't do that, no, no, no, won't work!!! Same reason some folks don't wear a hat, they're to self-conscious, if you like it wear it and don't worry about what other people think. You'll be surprised when you get compliments.
 

Deeeluxe Definitely

Familiar Face
Messages
90
I think part of the problem here is that he is worried about what other people think about his hat instead of what he thinks. Can't do that, no, no, no, won't work!!! Same reason some folks don't wear a hat, they're to self-conscious, if you like it wear it and don't worry about what other people think. You'll be surprised when you get compliments.

I'm actually getting a custom, well really a reblocking/reflanging/resizing of a vintage dress felt, done by belfastboy currently. Ironically, the brim size will be 2½".

The problem with the last one was that the brim was too flat (wouldn't hold a flange well despite a couple efforts) and didn't snap down well in the front.

The new one will be made of higher quality felt with a good flange, with the added benefit of being rid of the taper present in every hat I've owned up to this point.

It's been a strange road arriving at it, but I have a good feeling about the forthcoming hat!
 
Messages
11,338
Location
Southern California
If I were going to chop 1/4" off a hat for some reason, I would also have it reflanged...
I used to think the same thing. Then I decided to take 1/2"-3/4" off of the brim of my Moonstone Fed IV and give it a non-dimensional 2" brim. The end results won't get me any jobs as a custom hatter, but they're good enough for me and I was surprised that the brim now seems to have a deeper flange than before:

Before:
svTHxiJ.jpg


After:
9lktEcG.jpg
 

scottyrocks

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,060
Location
Isle of Langerhan, NY
I used to think the same thing. Then I decided to take 1/2"-3/4" off of the brim of my Moonstone Fed IV and give it a non-dimensional 2" brim. The end results won't get me any jobs as a custom hatter, but they're good enough for me and I was surprised that the brim now seems to have a deeper flange than before:

Before:
svTHxiJ.jpg


After:
9lktEcG.jpg

Can we see that on you snapped down in front (same poses)? It's hard to compare with it up all around like that.
 
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