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Fur felt types?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by MisterGrey, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. MisterGrey

    MisterGrey Practically Family

    Messages:
    526
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Are there other kinds of fur felt used to make hats other than rabbit? If so, how can I tell the difference, if it isn't blatantly stated? I'd personally really rather not wear a rabbit hat.
     
  2. MattJH

    MattJH One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,388
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    This thread that I recently posted may help you.

    If there are fur felts made out of anything other than rabbit or beaver, I'm not familiar with them.
     
  3. Beaver & rabbit are most common but new felts have come out lately = Buffalo & kangaroo. Nutria (sp) were used a while back as well. Blends of all of these together & with wool exist as well. HTH... gtd
     
  4. DBLIII

    DBLIII One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    229
    Location:
    Hill City, SD
    A hatmaker in Colorado has a hat where the felt was made from hair brushed off his Golden Retriever. That's about as strange as I can think of (but a neat looking felt, too).
     
  5. rrog

    rrog A-List Customer

    Messages:
    430
    Location:
    East Tennessee

    That would be a never-ending supply! I've got a border collie and australian shepherd that shed tons of fur almost year round. Who do I send it to? And more importantly, how much money do I get? ;)

    rrog
     
  6. warbird

    warbird One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,171
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    All rabbit or rabbit blend is the most popular today. Beaver is still the best and all beaver is the most expensive.

    I believe some are still using nutria and they should use it a lot more. There millions of those pesky little fur balls creating havoc on the gulf.

    Other furs are also used to a lesser extent, including buffalo, mink and others to a much lesser extent.

    If you do not want to use animal fur, which is fine by me, less competition for hats, then you essentially have one option, wool. And for the most part wool hats today are crap. They are cheap, fade in the sun, shrink when they get wet. I still have a few wool fedoras but won't buy anymore. They do make for good driving caps, newsboys, ballcaps, etc, just not fedora and cowboy hats.
     
    -30- likes this.
  7. MisterGrey

    MisterGrey Practically Family

    Messages:
    526
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Now, see, buffalo or kangaroo I wouldn't mind.

    I'll admit that I'm a terrible hyporcite. I'm not a vegetarian, I wear leather shoes and belts, but, I have certain, very arbitrary standards about what animals I'll eat and wear and which ones I won't. The fact that I've had a pet rabbit probably contributes to my uneasiness about wearing one as a hat-- ditto for happy memories of watching beavers frolicking in the ditches near my home after they got washed downstream by a flood. I still feel a strange sense of guilt when I see/hear about people who have potbellied pigs as pets.

    A buffalo, though, I tend to think of more along the lines of a cow or a chicken-- something you eat and then use the rest of to wear. And I'm not sure how accurate their assessment is, but I've known a few Australians who've told me that kangaroos are somewhat analagous to armadillos: something you're more apt to find lying dead in the middle of the road than anywhere else.
     
  8. Dinerman

    Dinerman Super Moderator Bartender

    Messages:
    10,562
    Location:
    Bozeman, MT
    The buffalo felt hats I've handled (at a hat shop, mind you, so no long term experience), felt more coarse than wool felt, but at a fur felt price.

    I have a borsalino with Pine Marten (sable) felt. There's not much of a noticeable difference in feel from regular rabbit felt.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. MisterGrey

    MisterGrey Practically Family

    Messages:
    526
    Location:
    Texas, USA
    Coarseness aside, would you say that the buffalo hats have the same level of durability as other fur felts?
     
  10. Dewhurst

    Dewhurst Practically Family

    Messages:
    653
    Location:
    USA
    You've never eaten a pair of coneys? For shame! :cheers1:

    Alright, neither have I. Ya got me. [huh]
     
  11. I checked out some Resistol Buffalo hats in OKC this past week. I meant to go by Sheplers to see a Stetson Buffalo but never made it, figured HatCo used same stuff for both. The felt did feel coarse & stiff like a pressed wool hat that I sent back to Cabelas. The coarseness to me means water will get in & wreak more havoc than a smoother feeling felt. I'm not sure it'll draw like a wool will when it dries but I don't think a lot of outdoor outfitters, ala Cabelas & Orvis, would be selling them if they had to deal with complaints by their target customers, who should put a hat thru the ringer. IMHO... gtd
     
  12. Riot Earp

    Riot Earp Familiar Face

    Messages:
    82
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Be careful with Stetson Buffalo fur hats. I think the lower priced ones have wool mixed in. The higher end ones -- well, I'm not sure. I took my Stetson to a custom hatter to be reshaped and he immediately said, "This hat has wool in it." I was shocked, but based on how quickly it lost its shape, I think he was right. Or maybe buffalo fur simply isn't very good.
     
  13. Bird's One View

    Bird's One View One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    120
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I would guess that buffalo felt would behave more like wool felt than like lagomorph or rodent fur felt.
     
  14. Fatdutchman

    Fatdutchman Practically Family

    Messages:
    559
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I wonder myself why nutria isn't used much, if at all, anymore. By most accounts, the quality of nutria can easily be as good as beaver (and some consider it better). I think probably the reason it isn't used is because it would mess up the felters pricing structure... You can't have a cheap felt that is as good as beaver and keep the rabbit fur producers in business...or the beaver fur producers...
     
  15. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,114
    Location:
    Oakland, CA, USA
    Another good reason to buy vintage. Would it bother you less
    if the felt was made (and the animal killed) long before you were born?
    It exists, and there's not much you or I can do about it.
    If keeping those vintage hats in circulation prevents you or someone
    else from buying a new fur felt hat, well...
     
  16. mayserwegener

    mayserwegener

    Messages:
    13,301
    Location:
    Maryland
    What about velour? Is velour always rabbit / hare based felt?
     
  17. Tony in Tarzana

    Tony in Tarzana My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,276
    Location:
    Baldwin Park California USA
    As far as I know, the hares used in Akubra hats aren't cute bunnies, they're a non-native species to Australia and a pest.

    I would also like to see Nutria make a comeback.
     
  18. Makes sense & I was told that most fur for felts are from remnants of the clothing business. Not sure where nutria fits in clothing use... gtd
     
  19. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

    Messages:
    7,097
    Location:
    My mother's basement
    Is the species introduced to Australia, the one that I hear has proliferated to the point that it has become quite the pest, a rabbit or a hare?

    And, is that indeed the species from which Akubra makes their felts? That's what I've heard, and I don't doubt it, but if anyone in a position to confirm would do that, well, it would be all to the better.

    I've gathered, from what little I've read on the subject, that the jackrabbit of the American West is actually a hare. For whatever that's worth.

    As to nutria ...

    The one lid of mine that I have good reason to believe is an all-nutria felt is indeed a superior hat. I've heard it fairly convincingly argued, by experienced people not known for talking out of their hats, that beaver is better yet. But if that is indeed the case, its superior qualities are largely wasted on me. This is not to suggest that nutria is superior, but even in a side-by-side comparison with all-beaver bodies, the nutria holds its own. As has been observed before, though, there are factors other than the fur content that affect the quality of a finished fur felt.

    So I, too, am left to wonder why we don't see nutria felts being made these days. Is it more costly or troublesome to harvest than beaver? My intuition says otherwise, but my intuition has a spotty (as best) history.
     
    -30- likes this.
  20. mayserwegener

    mayserwegener

    Messages:
    13,301
    Location:
    Maryland
    I like the feel / look of velour. Is it possible to have a beaver felt velour? If not what is the reason?
     

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