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Making a Western hat by hand?

mattsteinfeld

New in Town
Messages
19
First of all Art would never dry block a felt. I work with mostly dress weight and anything other than the 95gr FEPSA which I still give a very generous spritz plus lots of steaming I wet block.

That includes the Winchester, Ukraine 160gr and Tonak 140 gram bodies i use. I just get a much better blocking without having to wrestle the damn felt.

The cord must be absolutely non stretch. If your cord has any stretch to it then it relaxes and you lose tension. I mostly use the silicon blocking springs. I find they work ever so much better and regardless of whether I need to steal crown from the brim can block a felt in minutes with minimal effort. I rarely have to use a puller downer.
This is Art blocking dress weight with minimal water and light steam
at 2:00
For a Western, what he is doing is dry blocking, at least to me, as there is no saturation.

Is any water use considered a wet block? I’ve never seen someone block with zero moisture/steam :) Have you? This clearly isnt an option with Western capelines.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,803
Location
vancouver, canada
This is Art blocking dress weight with minimal water and light steam
at 2:00
For a Western, what he is doing is dry blocking, at least to me, as there is no saturation.

Is any water use considered a wet block? I’ve never seen someone block with zero moisture/steam :) Have you? This clearly isnt an option with Western capelines.
If you buy yourself a steam machine like Art's then yes, you can get away with a spritz. Those machines produce much more steam than a standard Jiffy Steamer like I use. That is not light steam in the video. Art is the one that taught me how to block.
 

Yahoody

One Too Many
Messages
1,079
Location
Great Basin
> I’ve never seen someone block with zero moisture/steam :) Have you? This clearly isnt an option with Western capelines.

Yes, I have. No steam or water. Dozens of Winchester, western, beaver blanks have been done that way. It is an option. Just not a very practical one IMO.
 

mattsteinfeld

New in Town
Messages
19
> I’ve never seen someone block with zero moisture/steam :) Have you? This clearly isnt an option with Western capelines.

Yes, I have. No steam or water. Dozens of Winchester, western, beaver blanks have been done that way. It is an option. Just not a very practical one IMO.
@Yahoody Wow! Very interesting.
 

mattsteinfeld

New in Town
Messages
19
If you buy yourself a steam machine like Art's then yes, you can get away with a spritz. Those machines produce much more steam than a standard Jiffy Steamer like I use. That is not light steam in the video. Art is the one that taught me how to block.
@belfastboy It is easy for me to forget about the machines others use (like you mentioned Art’s plating machine) and wonder why they might do the other steps differently.

Art seemed like a cool, helpful guy. He says in that video he was coming up on 5000 hats. Any anecdotes from him to share?
 

Yahoody

One Too Many
Messages
1,079
Location
Great Basin
>Wow! Very interesting.

Every hat built in Roy's Elko hat classes are done dry. You can guess as to why that is how he teaches.
 

glider

A-List Customer
Messages
376
I think Winchester felts is owned by Stratford hats out of Chicago, the guys that do the uniform hats. I may not be spelling them correctly but they do make fine hats and I would guess that they get there pick of the felts.
 

mattsteinfeld

New in Town
Messages
19
I made this one yesterday afternoon in Ukrainian Rabbit (Anthracite).
5.5” crown
4” brim
1/8” black ribbon
 

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Messages
18,049
Location
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I think Winchester felts is owned by Stratford hats out of Chicago, the guys that do the uniform hats. I may not be spelling them correctly but they do make fine hats and I would guess that they get there pick of the felts.


I have one of the Stratton custom 100% beaver homburgs. It’s a nice hat, but it doesn’t stand out. I was thinking of ordering another, but I’ve decided other hat makers get me more of what I prefer. It’s odd that we don’t see more Stratton’s in something other than their uniform hat line.
 

glider

A-List Customer
Messages
376
I suppose their uniform line of hats is their bread and butter. They offer about anything anyone could want and the quality is very good. I guess they just don't really market their custom line. I have spoke to them and was told I was welcome to stop by to order and for custom sizing. I need to make a trip to the Windy City. Stop by Eagle grips, Stratton Hats, Portillos and have some pizza.
 

yestahh

New in Town
Messages
6
I use special gloves that can handle heat and give me good grip. If the felt is hot enough to burn your hands then you are approaching the right way. If you can handle it without special gloves then it ain't steamed enough.
Newb here, what kind of gloves work best in this kind of application of hot water and steam?
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,803
Location
vancouver, canada
Newb here, what kind of gloves work best in this kind of application of hot water and steam?
Not sure what they are called but I paid $10 per pair. elastic glove with neoprene facing on the palm and fingers. Gives some heat protection but also add good grip as well. I just went to a local tool/hardware supply that had a wall of work gloves and picked out something that looked like it would work.
 

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