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Felt deterioration or just dust?

wiscohatguy

New in Town
Messages
1
Hey all,

This is my first post on TFL, but I've been lurking here for several months and I really appreciate all that I've learned from your community. I've run into an issue recently that I couldn't find a clear answer to through my searching, but I do apologize if this is basic stuff...

I recently acquired a vintage Resistol that I got for what I think was a great deal ($45) on ebay. I don't know for sure, but I think it's from the 1970s, judging by the haberdasher's stamp on the leather sweatband. It's marked 4X beaver, and the color listed on the tag is Chamois, but to me it's basically Silverbelly (an aside: when I google "resistol chamois" I see a lot of brown felts, but there are also a handful of silvery white ones that seem to be in line with what I've got here). Anyway, when I first received the hat, I brushed the heck out of it, and I could very quickly see a difference. This thing was dirty! and there were clearly plumes of dust coming off of it. I thought I got the hat clean, but as I've been brushing it more (typically each time I wear it), I continue to see little plumes of "dust" coming off, and the black bristles of my brush are clearly coated in a silvery substance. This has got me worrying a bit -- Is there such a thing as the fur felt deteriorating, and that's actually what I'm mistaking for dust? Or do you think this hat is just exceptionally dusty? If indeed this could be the felt itself brushing off, is there anything I can do to condition it to make it last longer?

Thanks all!
 
Messages
10,389
Location
vancouver, canada
Hey all,

This is my first post on TFL, but I've been lurking here for several months and I really appreciate all that I've learned from your community. I've run into an issue recently that I couldn't find a clear answer to through my searching, but I do apologize if this is basic stuff...

I recently acquired a vintage Resistol that I got for what I think was a great deal ($45) on ebay. I don't know for sure, but I think it's from the 1970s, judging by the haberdasher's stamp on the leather sweatband. It's marked 4X beaver, and the color listed on the tag is Chamois, but to me it's basically Silverbelly (an aside: when I google "resistol chamois" I see a lot of brown felts, but there are also a handful of silvery white ones that seem to be in line with what I've got here). Anyway, when I first received the hat, I brushed the heck out of it, and I could very quickly see a difference. This thing was dirty! and there were clearly plumes of dust coming off of it. I thought I got the hat clean, but as I've been brushing it more (typically each time I wear it), I continue to see little plumes of "dust" coming off, and the black bristles of my brush are clearly coated in a silvery substance. This has got me worrying a bit -- Is there such a thing as the fur felt deteriorating, and that's actually what I'm mistaking for dust? Or do you think this hat is just exceptionally dusty? If indeed this could be the felt itself brushing off, is there anything I can do to condition it to make it last longer?

Thanks all!
Hard to give a diffinitive answer. I restore vintage hats and have not seen what I would call a deteriorating felt. But then folks don't pay to have inexpensive hats restored. Have you vacuumed it? Use a vacuum with a brush attachment and give it a thorough but gentle vacuuming. If it is a decent vacuum it should remove most of the dust. Hats ,if left out, are truly dust magnets. If you vacuum it and there is still dust flying off then you likely have an issue with the felt.

As a finishing touch on dark coloured felts I do what is called "luring" which is applying a coat of fractionated coconut oil to replentish the natural oils that leach out in the processing or in the case of vintage just the drying out over time.

Hats from the 1970's are not the greatest felt. It was a time when hat wearing was not hip and quality crashed. It could be you have a crap felt and it is turning to dust. But on the bright side you only paid $45 for it.....so clean it up best you can and wear the hell out of it. Wear it out, buy a better one.
 
Messages
17,576
as I've been brushing it more (typically each time I wear it), I continue to see little plumes of "dust" coming off, and the black bristles of my brush are clearly coated in a silvery substance.
Resistol patented a cleaning & finishing powder. With the 4X hats & during the 1970’s it was used heavily to even out felt colors. I forget the patent number but you can easily find it online. The felt is not deteriorating. As Robert suggested use the small furniture duster brush that typically comes with a canister vacuum cleaner to remove it from your hat. Until you remove it typically the powder can stain your hands when working with a wet or steamed hat.
 

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