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gam

New in Town
Messages
17
Location
Ontario
Practice hat #4.

I picked up a Royal Deluxe Stetson some weeks ago and the seller also had a Smithbilt that I really didn't want as it looked like wool, and I've read lots of bad things about wool hats here (can't re-block or re-shape them, stink when wet etc.). But the seller really wanted it gone so I took it. Size was 7 1/4 and I'm 7 3/8 so I'd need to stretch it.

I've always admired those wooden antique full-bodied stretchers, but I'm past the age where I'm buying new tools and I have a lifetime of accumulated junk here, so I made a facsimile. At least it has an antique doorknob.

stretcher.jpg


The Smithbilt - fits most of the criteria for a low-quality hat, wool, vinyl hatband with tin conchos, paper-backed vinyl sweatband without a reed).
original.jpg


Soaked it in warm water and stretched and re-blocked it in one operation. I was concerned that there would be an imprint of the open area on the top and sides, but other than the top of the crown having some wrinkles it seemed fine. By the way it did not smell ant all when wet.

After dry for 2 days and string removed.
on stretcher.jpg


Off the stretcher I put it on my full block and between Ironing and hand massaging I got the top of the crown in shape. Ironed the brim flat and set the brim break. Didn't want to put the cheap sweat back in and didn't want to buy a new sweat for what's essentially a beater hat (there's an old saying about a silk purse and a sow's ear that some of you may remember), so I made a reeded leather sweat from stuff I had around, made my own liner (not very good - needs practice) and use the polyester 'grosgrain' for the ribbon. Lastly, ironed the brim on my belly board.

finished.jpg

sweatband.jpg
liner1.png




And a question - how do I keep the thumbnails from appearing on the bottom of the post?
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,862
Location
vancouver, canada
I held a hat making class this weekend. A woman who works in the film industry and is the owner of many hats. She wanted to scratch the itch of making her own. I cautioned her that I work solely making classic mens & womens fedoras and she was OK with that. She did bring in a few of her hats made my contemporary Bohemian hatters....ya know the ones with distressing.
I truly did not know whether to laugh or cry as she showed me one of them made by a local hatter that had moth nibbles in the crown. They were not REAL moth nibbles but ones the hatter had put into the felt to replicate moth nibbles. I told my student to go back to the hatter and tell her that in my work refurbishing vintage hats I spend hours upon hours trying to hide such mothing and here she is making the effort to replicate it. Folks, we do live in a topsy turvy world these days.
On the brown hat it has what looks like splotches of glue splattered on the felt in random spots.
The blue one is misshapen as the owner attempted to upsize it and just ended up distorting the crown and the brim.
CIMG0688.JPG
CIMG0690.JPG
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,862
Location
vancouver, canada
This third hat comes from London....made by a renowned milliner. It is interesting as instead of a leather sweat band it has a very thick roll of foam. This has allowed the hatter to make the crown hugely oversized.....perhaps as much as a 64 or 65cm in
CIMG0695.JPG
size. My student is a 58cm and with the foam the hat does fit her but the crown is outlandishly large. Weird for me to say but it actually looked great on her.
CIMG0696.JPG
 

TWKundrat

New in Town
Messages
39
I have a question about pouncing. In several videos I've seen including one with Art Fawcett and one with Nathaniel Funmaker they go to town with an electric sander when pouncing. Nathaniel even mentions reducing the thickness of the felt. In my experience it doesn't take much to over pounce a hat body with fairly minimal hand sanding. Is there a secret to doing this? In Art's video he mentions using alcohol when hand pouncing but it's hard to hear what he says at that point of the video. I know shellac is alcohol soluble so I was wondering if that might help the shellac to dissolve back into the felt and fix the "over pounced" look? I know I've seen Mr. Fawcett on this forum. I thought I'd post this question here in case others are interested instead of PMing him. Paging @Art Fawcett. Thanks in advance for any replies
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,862
Location
vancouver, canada
I have a question about pouncing. In several videos I've seen including one with Art Fawcett and one with Nathaniel Funmaker they go to town with an electric sander when pouncing. Nathaniel even mentions reducing the thickness of the felt. In my experience it doesn't take much to over pounce a hat body with fairly minimal hand sanding. Is there a secret to doing this? In Art's video he mentions using alcohol when hand pouncing but it's hard to hear what he says at that point of the video. I know shellac is alcohol soluble so I was wondering if that might help the shellac to dissolve back into the felt and fix the "over pounced" look? I know I've seen Mr. Fawcett on this forum. I thought I'd post this question here in case others are interested instead of PMing him. Paging @Art Fawcett. Thanks in advance for any replies
Yes, you are on the right track. Over pouncing is an issue for me and a fear for me whenever I begin the process. Some manufactureers felts are more prone than other's are. I do not use my orbital sander preferring to hand sand (cupping the paper in my hand without the sanding block when pouncing the crown, sanding block for the brim.

I am not in a great rush, enjoy the process and get more controlled results. For me the risk of over pouncing is sanding the felt and exposing the shellac core and creating that mottled appearance. For that the denatured alcohol does work to drive the shellac down deeper but there are limitations. If it is a dark felt the luring process also works. I used luring just today to rid a black felt of mottling. On the black felt the luring also produces a great lustre to the felt.....a sheen to the fur. Another technique used if you really want to thin the crown felt without the risk is to block it inside out, pounce the hell out of the "inside' to thin it and then block it again right side out and give it a final pounce to produce the finished look to the felt.
 
Last edited:

gam

New in Town
Messages
17
Location
Ontario
Practice hat #5

Biltmore Senator (made in Canada, so probably 2005 - 2011, their last hoorah) Seems a decent felt for modern - soft and pliable.

Pic from the net as I neglected to take a 'before' picture.
biltmore senator.jpg


Liner.jpg


2 inch brim with 1/4 in overwelt , tapered crown, decent sweat and real grosgrain ribbon.

My preference is for wider brims so I picked out the stitching on the overwelt, and wet-blocked it on my straight-sided block and shrunk it from 7 1/2 to my 7 3/8 size.
On Block.jpg


left side.jpg


final bash.jpg


I'll need to source some grosgrain for an edge binding as I doubt the ghosting of the overwelt will ever disappear.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,862
Location
vancouver, canada
Practice hat #5

Biltmore Senator (made in Canada, so probably 2005 - 2011, their last hoorah) Seems a decent felt for modern - soft and pliable.

Pic from the net as I neglected to take a 'before' picture.
View attachment 466819

View attachment 466825

2 inch brim with 1/4 in overwelt , tapered crown, decent sweat and real grosgrain ribbon.

My preference is for wider brims so I picked out the stitching on the overwelt, and wet-blocked it on my straight-sided block and shrunk it from 7 1/2 to my 7 3/8 size.
View attachment 466821

View attachment 466823

View attachment 466824

I'll need to source some grosgrain for an edge binding as I doubt the ghosting of the overwelt will ever disappear.
VintageTrims or FiniRibbon on Etsy sell very good vintage grosgrain by the yard. Super service from both and they have lots of greys and black widths available.
 

TWKundrat

New in Town
Messages
39
Yes, you are on the right track. Over pouncing is an issue for me and a fear for me whenever I begin the process. Some manufactureers felts are more prone than other's are. I do not use my orbital sander preferring to hand sand (cupping the paper in my hand without the sanding block when pouncing the crown, sanding block for the brim.

I am not in a great rush, enjoy the process and get more controlled results. For me the risk of over pouncing is sanding the felt and exposing the shellac core and creating that mottled appearance. For that the denatured alcohol does work to drive the shellac down deeper but there are limitations. If it is a dark felt the luring process also works. I used luring just today to rid a black felt of mottling. On the black felt the luring also produces a great lustre to the felt.....a sheen to the fur. Another technique used if you really want to thin the crown felt without the risk is to block it inside out, pounce the hell out of the "inside' to thin it and then block it again right side out and give it a final pounce to produce the finished look to the felt.
Thank you for the reply. I have had luck evening out mottling by luring as well. I have only ever used millinery warehouse rabbit felts so I'd be curious to work with felts from other sources. Not that it's easy to find them in stock anywhere these days.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,862
Location
vancouver, canada
Thank you for the reply. I have had luck evening out mottling by luring as well. I have only ever used millinery warehouse rabbit felts so I'd be curious to work with felts from other sources. Not that it's easy to find them in stock anywhere these days.
Winchester is impossible unless you can find a hatter that is able to buy direct and willing sell you one or two...but they are in short supply/late deliveries so hatters don't want to part with what they have. I have been buying FEPSA from @purebeaver. They are pricey but are great felts that come pounced from the factory. They sell both beaver & rabbit and I love working with both types and he has some blends coming in soon. Tonak is only rabbi. it is good to work with but the capelines run small so hard to get tall crown/wide brims from them.

I like all of the Millinery Whse felts, rabbit, beaver and the blends. I have taken to double blocking/double pouncing them to get a softer hand. Still experimenting and finding out where is the line, where is the limit.
 
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Art Fawcett

Sponsoring Affiliate
Messages
3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
I have a question about pouncing. In several videos I've seen including one with Art Fawcett and one with Nathaniel Funmaker they go to town with an electric sander when pouncing. Nathaniel even mentions reducing the thickness of the felt. In my experience it doesn't take much to over pounce a hat body with fairly minimal hand sanding. Is there a secret to doing this? In Art's video he mentions using alcohol when hand pouncing but it's hard to hear what he says at that point of the video. I know shellac is alcohol soluble so I was wondering if that might help the shellac to dissolve back into the felt and fix the "over pounced" look? I know I've seen Mr. Fawcett on this forum. I thought I'd post this question here in case others are interested instead of PMing him. Paging @Art Fawcett. Thanks in advance for any replies
Hi TWK, Belfastboy has answered much about pouncing by hand so I won't need to go there. I used the orbital sander with a super fine grit in order to get the softest finish possible but trust me, this takes some serious practice so as a hobbiest, stay with hand pouncing. The only time I used alcohol was to drive down the shellac in the felt, away from the surface. As you pounce, the felt gets closer to the shellac core of the body, often producing the "motteling" so, to minimize that, I used alcohol to push it back from the surface, then lured it with fractionated cocoanut oil to bring ther luster of the felt back. Hope this helps
 

TWKundrat

New in Town
Messages
39
Hi TWK, Belfastboy has answered much about pouncing by hand so I won't need to go there. I used the orbital sander with a super fine grit in order to get the softest finish possible but trust me, this takes some serious practice so as a hobbiest, stay with hand pouncing. The only time I used alcohol was to drive down the shellac in the felt, away from the surface. As you pounce, the felt gets closer to the shellac core of the body, often producing the "motteling" so, to minimize that, I used alcohol to push it back from the surface, then lured it with fractionated cocoanut oil to bring ther luster of the felt back. Hope this helps
Thanks for the additional explanation. I will plan on sticking with hand pouncing but just out of curiosity, what grit would you consider "super fine" in case I ever find myself wanting to practice on a expendable felt? Also, what is the advantage of "fractionated" coconut oil vs regular. Thanks again. I really do appreciate the knowledge that you guys who know what you are doing are willing to share.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,862
Location
vancouver, canada
Thanks for the additional explanation. I will plan on sticking with hand pouncing but just out of curiosity, what grit would you consider "super fine" in case I ever find myself wanting to practice on a expendable felt? Also, what is the advantage of "fractionated" coconut oil vs regular. Thanks again. I really do appreciate the knowledge that you guys who know what you are doing are willing to share.
My understanding is 'fractionated' means it has much of the coconut aroma removed. So you don't go around smelling like a Pina Colado!...unless you want to!
 

RBH

Bartender
Hi TWK, Belfastboy has answered much about pouncing by hand so I won't need to go there. I used the orbital sander with a super fine grit in order to get the softest finish possible but trust me, this takes some serious practice so as a hobbiest, stay with hand pouncing. The only time I used alcohol was to drive down the shellac in the felt, away from the surface. As you pounce, the felt gets closer to the shellac core of the body, often producing the "motteling" so, to minimize that, I used alcohol to push it back from the surface, then lured it with fractionated cocoanut oil to bring ther luster of the felt back. Hope this helps

Damn Art!!!! Great to hear from you!!!!
Hope yall have a great Thanksgiving!!!!!
 

ChicagoWayVito

Practically Family
Messages
695
My understanding is 'fractionated' means it has much of the coconut aroma removed. So you don't go around smelling like a Pina Colado!...unless you want to!
While true that fractionated coconut oil is odorless and tasteless the main pro for is hatters is that it will never return to a solid state as the fatty acids have been removed. Regular coconut oil is solid at room temp as the fat has a higher melting point.

One can also use Vaseline to lure with but you need to wick it through a cloth by heating.

Pretty sure another odorless, colorless, oil could be substituted as well.
 

Art Fawcett

Sponsoring Affiliate
Messages
3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
Damn Art!!!! Great to hear from you!!!!
Hope yall have a great Thanksgiving!!!!!
Thanks Rusty, I wish I could say it was a good Thanksgiving but it was spent in the Hospital with my wife. Emergency Tuesday night and not home till Sunday. She'll be fine so despite the lack of turkey, I'm immensly grateful.
Cheers
 

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