My new found passion

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Emilis, Apr 18, 2020.

  1. Emilis

    Emilis Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Hello everyone, let me introduce myself.

    My name is Emilis. I'm 23yo student. I was looking for my passion since I've finished highschool. I tried many different jobs, was good at some, but had no passion for none of them. One day I was travelling in Europe, and I bumped into this amazing hat shop in Denmark, and it was love from first sight! Long story short - the process of men's felt hatting was so interesting for me, I decided to try it for myself. Sadly, in my country there is almost no information on how to do it and no one sells any tools. Or if I find something lets say in the U.S., it's super expensive, and I'm on a tight budget (full time student). So here I am, asking for all of your help in regards to:

    1) Videos on how to make men's felt hats;
    2) Information in regards to tools (which ones are the essential) and who sells for the best price (hat blocks, brim cutters etc)
    3) Which felts are the best to practice on

    Thank you in advance for you answers!

    All the best,
    Emilis
     
    T Jones, steur, Edward Reed and 2 others like this.
  2. jlee562

    jlee562 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,605
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Although we collectively have some knowledge on hat making, the primary purpose for the forum is on documenting and appreciating vintage hats as opposed to being a repository of hatter's tips and tricks.

    That having been said, you will want to start with Scientific Hat Finishing, an old, old, pamphlet on setting up a hat refurbishment shop. It's available freely in the internet.

    https://archive.org/details/scientifichatfin00erma

    Most hatters keep their cards close, so to speak, but Art Fawcett allowed most of the hat making process to be filmed:


    You may also find these threads informative
    https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/the-conversion-corral.22306/
    https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/photos-of-hatters-tools.27503/

    You may find these links helpful:
    https://hatterssupplyhouse.com
    https://www.hatsupply.com
    https://www.hatblocks.co.uk
    https://www.jwrhats.com
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/decoustudio
    https://www.tonak.cz/hatbodies-en/
     

  3. Welcome, Emilis. I like your passion and I hope you stick around. We have an “Ask A Question, Get an Answer” thread as well as threads dedicated to making bows, replacing ribbons, sewing on sweatbands, etc. You’ll have to spends many hours searching, but there is a lot here. It’s always appreciated when new members put in their due diligence and look for existing information. We also don’t start new threads here when a closely related thread already exists, so expect that a site moderator will merge your thread into some other thread.

    The Fedora Lounge isn’t a hat makers information exchange, and most of us don’t make hats. There is some hat making information here, but that’s not our focus. If you really want to learn hat making you should find a reputable hatter and do an apprenticeship.

    As a primer, watch this video:



    Good luck,
    Brent
     
  4. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,209
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    For blocks and other tools check out:
    Guy Morse-Brown he is in the UK
    HatBlocksDirect UK
    HatBlocksPoland…..Lodz, Poland - I have purchased my blocks from him and am waiting delivery. He offered the best price. I continually search Ebay for flanges and blocks. Managed to score a full set of long oval flanges out of Quebec for a great price. Keep looking and have patience.
    There is another block/flange maker in Latvia. You will find them on www.Etsy.com. They were close in price to the Polish guy.
    Agnoulita ...for felts, leather sweat bands, ribbon and liners. Find them on FaceBook or Etsy

    I have the ability to make at least part of a block but not the rounded dome top. Jerzy in Poland is making me block toppers that I can mount on my blocks for the smaller sizes. It is saving me about 60%.
    Tools - the best price is from our Humanshoes here in The Lounge. Essentials in my view are: rounding jack, tollicker, puller downer, pusher downer, a decent steamer and a good iron and of course blocks and flanges. It is very very hard to make a hat without proper blocks and flanges. To even try Icannot imagine the level of frustration. Hat making can be frustrating enough even with good equipment.

    My view is if you are serious about this start working with fur felt. There are many suppliers of the Tonak rabbit felts in Europe. The price is reasonable. Suggest you find a few friends willing to help out and they may be interested in owning a hat if you offer to make them one at your cost. That way you get to make hats, learn the skills, and all it costs is your time....plus it puts pressure on you to produce a decent product.
     
    T Jones, Short Balding Guy and steur like this.
  5. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,686
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    Well, I think the best I could offer, advice wise, is to get only the stuff you need for your size and practice making hats for yourself for now. Hat tools can get expensive so there's no need to spend tons of money at this point in the game. You'll need a hat block, (your size), a brim flange to go with the block, a rounding jack to cut the brim to size, puller downer, and a few other assorted hand tools. Try to look for old Western hats on eBay, Etsy, etc. to practice on. You'll also need ribbon, (good luck finding some), sweatbands,.....dang! This is getting expensive already, and it's just for one size! Anyway, you get the idea.
     
  6. I recall Art Fawcett stating that hatters quickly get to the point where it’s the lack of tools and equipment that limit them. While you can make a basic hat with a few tools, to make great hats you need a much larger investment. No matter how much time you put in with “hand work,” you can’t get around the need for specialized tools.

    There is also the economy of scale: If you want to pay yourself $50 an hour, and if your raw materials (felt, sweatband, ribbon, liner, threads) cost you $100 and to be competitive as a new hatter you need to sell your hats for a maximum of $300 dollars, you will have to have a maximum of four hours into a hat. If you’re doing it all by hand you can have several times that number of hours into the hat. Do you pay yourself less? You really can’t charge more because then you’re at or above what some of the established master hatters charge and your hats won’t be as good. Ultimately, to be successful as a business, not just a hobby, you need to invest a lot of money so you have the tools that allow you to make a hat in less time and to make a better hat while you’re at it. Those tools cost a lot and you need to make a lot of hats to amortize those expenses to where they make economic sense. I believe that apprenticing with a hatter and slowly acquiring your own tools is the best way to go. You learn the trade and the tricks/shortcuts, and you also get to see if it’s something you really want to spend years or decades doing.

    I’m all for more hatters. I wish you luck, but there is a lot of learning and a lot of investing. Hats are deceptively simple things, and to distinguish yourself and become successful you need to really know your stuff and have spent a lot of money. Some hatters inventories of grosgrain ribbon alone is in the tens of thousands of dollars.
     
    1967Cougar390 and Rmccamey like this.
  7. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,209
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Yes, it is humbling.....if I were to be selling my hats to earn a living....right now I would be making somewhere around $3 per hour. And that is with my wife helping me with her great sewing skills as mine suck!
     
  8. 1967Cougar390

    1967Cougar390 Practically Family

    Messages:
    609
    Location:
    South Carolina

    Thanks guys for sharing that link about Art. I sure wish I had one of his hats. It was great seeing a true craftsman at work. His hats are works of art, no pun intended.
    Steven
     
    Rmccamey and deadlyhandsome like this.

  9. Art is out of the hat making business and his signature liner has been retired, but VS is still running and making excellent hats. I think it will take some time before we can compare VS under Art to VS under David, but I can attest to David’s skill.
     
    1967Cougar390 likes this.
  10. jlee562

    jlee562 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,605
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
  11. Emilis

    Emilis Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    T Jones likes this.
  12. T Jones

    T Jones I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,686
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    I know that Brian of Sullivan Hats was but I don't know for sure if he's still doing that or not. He might, still. Best way to find out is to call him, but he's here in the States and you said you're in another country (?)
     
    1967Cougar390 likes this.
  13. Emilis

    Emilis Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Yes, I'm located in Lithuania, Europe. But if a person would be willing to teach me, I would do everything I can to get to him.
     

  14. I know Vintage Silhouettes took apprentices in the past. Reach out to David Gibson and see what he says.
     
    1967Cougar390 likes this.
  15. Emilis

    Emilis Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Just wrote to Mr. Gibson, I hope he responds!
     
    deadlyhandsome likes this.

  16. You also might try JW Custom Hats. Sadly, JW is no longer with us, but in the past the shop not only trained hatters, they make and supply hatters with specialized equipment. They still sell the equipment, but I don’t know about the training.
     
    Emilis likes this.
  17. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,209
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    And David's shop is located in Central Point Oregon one of my favourite small towns in the west.
     
    Rmccamey and Emilis like this.
  18. jlee562

    jlee562 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,605
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    hatsRme and T Jones like this.
  19. Emilis

    Emilis Familiar Face

    Messages:
    65
    Thank you so much gentelman! I hope atleast one responds!
     
    deadlyhandsome likes this.
  20. You might also consider Agnoulita in Greece. It’s more of a small scale production shop; although, they do make custom hats too.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.