Electric stretcher - what do I do now?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Snrbfshn, May 20, 2006.

  1. milandro

    milandro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    I am sure that most of these machines, if not provided with a working thermostate ( I still have to verify how good it is the action of the thermostate for the time being I am already happy that there appears not to be an electric circuit or that I don’t electrocute myself ) are heating way too much and possibly too quickly to have any practical application, but again, the non expanding dome must have had a function when new otherwise there would have never been so many around.

    Today I have been using the “ stretcher” (for lack of a better term, again the modern products are sold under the commercial name of portable hat or cap blocking machines) to stretch or shape some of my hats and it worked very well.

    I have a boater which is already a rather long oval and has a very rigid structure. I gently expanded it in the width ( turning the hat 90º ) and it has given me a better shape (is this a possibility that other people have explored?).

    If I ever come across an affordable aluminum block ( they are really sold at rather high prices for their decoration value and they normally sell only the bottom bit which really looks like a hat while there is also a top negative mold) I will buy it and have a go. I will put the bottom half on the heated adjustable dome of the “ stretcher” and then put a wetted felt in then and see what happens if heated at a not too high temperature
     
    steur likes this.
  2. milandro

    milandro One of the Regulars

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    194
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    The Netherlands
    Thank you very much for this link. I have downloaded it.

    Today I have also stretched a Failsworthworth derby hat ( what's in a name! :) ) at least one whole size ( was a 60 is now more than a 61) and it fits very well (still very hard a hat anyway)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
    hatsRme and steur like this.
  3. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    Sweatbands will separate, stitches will pop, and the top edge of the sweatband can cause a line to appear in the felt as the inside diameter of the crown is less at the sweat than it is at the felt above. As long as you know and accept the risks, happy stretching...the world needs more 61cm hats.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  4. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    A great explanation.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  5. deadlyhandsome

    deadlyhandsome I'll Lock Up

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    A great explanation.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  6. milandro

    milandro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    194
    Location:
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    I quickly went through de book and, Oh my!, Things have changed since 1919! First of all the advert of your complete “ Starting Kit” which would cost you a mere $75 and you are in Business, I am sure the same kit is worth many folds these days, also the description of many painstaking and lengthy procedures, made me realize how much the workmanship of the time ( and the prices) relied on the very low hourly rates. If these days one wants to be realistic and spend at least €50 an hour in Europe for the services of a good artisan ( my car dealer charges actually more), hats renovation quickly reach in labour and materials prices higher than most averagely priced hats reach, making their renovation only possible through labor of love but not a commercially viable enterprise.

    More to the point, at Page 105 the book mentions : “
    Either gas or electric ironing shell may be used, depending on whether gas or electricity is available in the shop. Before applying the shell to the hat the body should be dampened with a wet sponge while revolving on the machine. The effect is the same as that obtained by shrinking the body originally in hot water in the back-shop.

    It must be remembered that the tighter the felt the better the hat, and as every finishing operation has atendency to open the felt, means should be taken to counteract this during the various processes.

    You will soon learn by experience.
    ..”

    Although this doesn’t seem to be a direct reference to the machines above I think that this makes me think that the electric stretcher is part of an ironing system and that the stretching was mainly meant to counteract the effects of the shrinking due to abundant wetting.

    I still intend to carry out, if I ever will find an inexpensive double mold (top and bottom) an experiment with my machine.
     
    M Hatman, steur and DOGMAN like this.
  7. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

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    Pssshhhttt.....all this talk, talk, talk about hatters tools. Who needs fancy doo dads like an electric hat stretcher, or a hat block and a brim flange and other so-called hatters tools. I don't use any of that stuff and look how good my hats turn out...

    [​IMG]

    ...Good as new, and all hand made!
     
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  8. humanshoes

    humanshoes Vendor

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    Where's the matchstick?!
     
  9. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    I forgot the matchstick! Thanks Rick! Hope ol' Nick doesn't get mad!
     
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  10. milandro

    milandro One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    I have emailed a shop in the UK which sells both electric heated hat stretchers and wooden non heated ones.
    http://hatblockstore.co.uk/millinery-equipment/
    A Mr. Steve answered me :

    “ ..The electric heated version is superior to a cold wood stretcher .
    The electric version is running on a thermostat all the time so is ready for action at a moments notice to stretch a hat easily using its heat ( it’s primary use )
    It is also a nice tool to use for ironing and setting the inner headband in the hat and also useful for those finishing touches like puting the very important label in the back . It gives a more general professional look to any work done on the hat
    The wood version will do all the above but with more time , effort and in the end arguably not as nicely as the electric version.
    Think of it as trying to iron a shirt with a cold iron - it’s generally harder
    We sell both and it depends which the client prefers and of course budget constraints ..."
     

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