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Buffalo felt

K.D. Lightner

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,354
Location
Des Moines, IA
Buffalo

I noticed this week, while browsing fedora and cowboy hat sites, that some sellers are advertising hats made from buffalo fur felt. Mostly seems to be cowboy hats.

I know about beaver and nutria, wild hare and rabbit fur and some other exotic materials, but this one is new to me. What is Buffalo fur felt like?

karol
 
Messages
10,042
Location
My mother's basement
If it's similar to wool, jpdesign, ought a person then infer that it doesn't make a decent hat felt? I suspect it doesn't. The idea does indeed smell of a gimmick.
Somewhat different (but related) topic: Had a couple of pair of buffalo-hide shoes once. They looked GREAT in the store, but didn't wear for a darn. Doubt it was the poor bison's fault. The leather itself seemed good enough, so perhaps it was the workmanship that was lacking. Left me thinking that the shoe manufacturer was selling the novelty of the hide and let other considerations slide.
 

jpdesign

Vendor
Messages
235
Location
Glen Rose, TX
the hide is generally pretty durable, when treated right. And a hair on hide is great insulation against cold weather. you have to remember, the buffalo was the main sorce of leather for the Indians. It was the covering for teepee's, and the utility hide they used most. For clothing that was worn against the skin, they generally used deer, but most other leather was Buffalo, until the Army started trying to wipe out the Buffalo in order to subdue the indians.
 
Messages
10,042
Location
My mother's basement
If you haven't done so already, you may wish to read Larry McMurtry's short biography titled "Crazy Horse," in which he touches upon how the Plains Indians' struggle to preserve their way of the life (the "buffalo economy") was all but lost by the time of Crazy Horse's victory over Custer at Little Big Horn. It's a worthwhile book.
 

besdor

Vendor/Sponsor
Messages
1,726
Location
up north
A big user of Buffalo felt is Stetson on the western hats . They call it 3x quality . I'm not sure of the durability but we have sold some as a novelty item . :cool2:
 

Havana

One of the Regulars
Messages
249
Location
South Carolina
Buffalo / Bison felt?

Has anyone had any experience with bison felt? Stetson, Resistol and some others are using this in some of their western hats. I am wondering about the quality of this material and how prone it is to shrinkage.
 

genphideaux

New in Town
Messages
45
Location
Biloxi, Mississippi
I got to see and handel several over the holidays at the Hatco Outlet in Garland Texas and Ryan's in Abilene Texas, to me they are heavy, shaggy and very unfinished looking IMHO. Many years ago Abilene Hatters used to do a felt called the grizzly and I had several of them, they looked far better than the Bison, I do understand that is comparing a custom to a factory but still you would think that the Bison could be a little better finished and far lighter.
 

J.T.Marcus

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,354
Location
Mineola, Texas
Unlike rabbits, beaver, and even (gasp) sheep, every bison I've ever seen was so filthy and mangy looking that I was left with absolutely no desire to put a wad of its hair on top of mine.
 
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Havana

One of the Regulars
Messages
249
Location
South Carolina
That's sort of what I was imagining. Bison hair is so coarse, tangled and usually matted into clumps. I couldn't imagine a quality felt coming from this fur. A buddy of mine in the construction business said bison felt is sometimes used as an underlayment pad for carpet in certain parts of the country. That doesn't exactly scream quality hat material.
 

Not-Bogart13

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,501
Location
NE Pennsylvania
Based on the buffalo felt Resistols I examined recently, they feel like very dense wool felt to me. They are coarse and seem kind of cheap. I would buy one at half the price they are usually sold for, and I'd use it for times when I might damage a hat, and thus wouldn't care if something happened to it. [huh]
 

Prairie Shade

A-List Customer
Messages
394
MY TWO BITS

I have been curious about these hats and recently was able to touch both the Resistol and Stetson version at the Outlet. The Resistol wasnt worth taking out, the Stetson had a higher finish and felt "better" to the hand. The tag was 70.00 and it was a "version" of the Boss of the plains. Open crown, bound etc. etc. Didnt buy.
 

L HATLEY

One of the Regulars
Messages
132
Location
Flatlands West Tennessee
BISON FUR HAT

I DID HAVE ONE MADE BY BAILEY... DID RALLY LIKE THAT HAT ,UNTILL
WE GOT RAINED ON BAD SEVERAL TIMES, IT SHRUNK A LOTS, LOST ITS BRIM SHAPE AND LOOKED LIKED IT WAS NEEDING A SHAVE VERY BAD.
THE FELT IS NOT A SMOOTHE FELT AND LIKE WAS SAID IT IS ROUGH.
 

dhermann1

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,156
Location
Da Bronx, NY, USA
I would guess that bison fur would not be ideal for hats. I believe the best fur comes from small rodents like beavers and hares, whose fur has little hooks on it to make it matt up. This helps protect the small animals from not only cold, but moisture. It is very fine and silky material. I would assume that the bison hair, while having an undercoat that makes good insulation, does not have those little spurs on it that make beaver and hare so good for felting. But that's just a guess.
 

Sam Craig

One Too Many
Messages
1,356
Location
Great Bend, Kansas
They make it out of really tiny Bison, the fur is combed out by beautiful maidens and then the itsy-bitsy buffalo is released to once again enjoy its frolic across the Great Plain.

Seriously ... I had a cowboy buddy who had one of the early Bison-wool Stetson and it wore OK at first. In the long run, he said it wore about like a dyna-felt blend ... in other words, not nearly as well as good fur felt.

More of a novelty

And buffalo leather is second to none ... if it is prepared properly

They're really tasty, too.

Sam
 

azshawn

Familiar Face
Messages
94
Location
Chandler, AZ
They make it out of really tiny Bison, the fur is combed out by beautiful maidens and then the itsy-bitsy buffalo is released to once again enjoy its frolic across the Great Plain.

Seriously ... I had a cowboy buddy who had one of the early Bison-wool Stetson and it wore OK at first. In the long run, he said it wore about like a dyna-felt blend ... in other words, not nearly as well as good fur felt.

More of a novelty

And buffalo leather is second to none ... if it is prepared properly
They're really tasty, too.

Sam

The fur is definately "wooly". The hide was considered the premium leather for industrial belts in the 19th century.
 

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