Want to buy or sell something? Check the classifieds
  • The Fedora Lounge is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

My trip to JW Hats for Mentoring and Hat making

ChicagoWayVito

Practically Family
Messages
699
A few weeks ago I took JW of JW Hats up on an offer of his to visit and get some training making hats. I spent a Friday and Saturday in his shop blocking and shaping 10 hats. 9 of the hat bodies were from Winchester and 1 from Fepsa. Prior to this trip I had never made a hat and the only other felt hat that I have owned is an Akubra Snowy River. I am hoping to learn more about hat making and get the necessary tools to turn it into a business in a few years as I want to plan now while in my late 30s for the day that I want to retire and hope to have an extra source of income during that time.

Please note that I did not have time to do the brim shaping at his shop in the time I was there and I do not have any flanges. I do have two curling shackles and then I shape by hand for now. A couple of the brims have yet to be shaped as I am still deciding what shape I want for them. There is one western that I will reshape the crown as I was getting tired and noticed that one dent is higher than the one on the opposite side.

1 of 10
View attachment 32136
View attachment 32137
View attachment 32138

2 of 10
View attachment 32139
View attachment 32140
View attachment 32141

3 of 10
View attachment 32142
View attachment 32143
View attachment 32144

4 of 10 - Need to shape brim
View attachment 32145
View attachment 32146

5 of 10 - Need to reshape crown due to uneven dents and brim shaping needed
View attachment 32147
View attachment 32148

6 of 10 Homburg
View attachment 32149
View attachment 32150
View attachment 32151

7 of 10 Indy Inspired Fedora, need to touch up the brim
View attachment 32152
View attachment 32153

8 of 10 Fedora
View attachment 32154
View attachment 32155

9 of 10 OT
View attachment 32156
View attachment 32157

10 of 10 For my 3 year old daughter
View attachment 32158
View attachment 32159


Again these are all my first attempts and hat making and shaping. I already have plans for a 5 day trip to JW hats and JW is onboard with it. Just need to buy my plane ticket and order some more hat bodies. Also, JW had minimal involvement in my hats. He showed me some basics and then turned me loose in his shop for 2 days. It was up to me to ask him how to do something if I got stuck. I also got to try out a Singer 107-1 sweatband sewing machine, it is a little difficult to get used to. The sweatband doesn't want to feed through at the same rate as the felt and you have to really hold it in place and make sure they move together.

I hope you like what I have done so far. The westerns brims sizes were inspired after seeing some pics of @Joao Encarnado brims. They range in size from 3 5/8" to 4 5/8"; I do want to get something up to 6" in the coming months.

Cheers,

Kevin
 

ChicagoWayVito

Practically Family
Messages
699
Sorry, just discovered that I need to make the images even smaller to get them to display in line.

1 of 10 Western
DSC_0108.jpg DSC_0109.jpg DSC_0110.jpg

2 of 10 Bowler
DSC_0111.jpg DSC_0113.jpg DSC_0114.jpg

3 of 10 Western Gus
DSC_0117.jpg DSC_0118.jpg DSC_0119.jpg

4 of 10 OT Need to shape brim
DSC_0121.jpg DSC_0123.jpg

5 of 10 - Need to reshape crown due to uneven dents and brim shaping needed
DSC_0125.jpg DSC_0127.jpg

6 of 10 Homburg
DSC_0129.jpg DSC_0130.jpg DSC_0131.jpg

7 of 10 Indy Inspired Fedora, need to touch up the brim
DSC_0134.jpg DSC_0136.jpg

8 of 10 Fedora
DSC_0137.jpg DSC_0138.jpg

9 of 10 OT
DSC_0139.jpg DSC_0141.jpg

10 of 10 For my 3 year old daughter
DSC_0144.jpg DSC_0145.jpg
 

Joao Encarnado

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,776
Location
Portugal
I hope you like what I have done so far. The westerns brims sizes were inspired after seeing some pics of @Joao Encarnado brims. They range in size from 3 5/8" to 4 5/8"; I do want to get something up to 6" in the coming months.

I see a great work and a big promise in hat making.
Also didn't know I was such a big influence in TFL!
Keep perfecting it!
 

Knotten

Practically Family
Messages
829
Location
Salt Lake City
I'm really glad to see this thread. I live only a couple of miles from JW and have always wondered whether I should have him build me something. Your work is impressive. I want JW to teach me now, but I'm afraid I couldn't do anywhere near as good work as you've shown here.
 

javadave61

Practically Family
Messages
891
Location
Harrisburg, PA
Great work, and thanks for sharing. That's why I enjoy this hobby. The potential from one piece of felt is near endless. Theres a lot to be learned and a big canvas to work with. And an even bigger canvas if you're following in Joao's footsteps, which I highly recommend.
 

ChicagoWayVito

Practically Family
Messages
699
What FEPSA felt quality have you worked with?
How does it compare with Winchester's?

I have only used one Fepsa hat body, it was the first one that I ever bought and because they had a website that I could use to purchase. So I wouldn't be a good judge to compare quality. Fepsa does have a lot of options when buying and the finish on the one that I bought was pounced whereas the Winchesters do not come that way. I am sure though that Mr. Greg would be happy to do that finish before sending to me. Keep in mind that in total I have only worked with 10 hat bodies to date, so still a noob. The only disappointment that I had with Fepsa is that shipping cost me more than the hat body :(
 

ChicagoWayVito

Practically Family
Messages
699
I'm really glad to see this thread. I live only a couple of miles from JW and have always wondered whether I should have him build me something. Your work is impressive. I want JW to teach me now, but I'm afraid I couldn't do anywhere near as good work as you've shown here.

Thank you for the encouragement! JW is a good guy.

Nice photo essay. Keep Hatting!

Thanks Bob! I definately will. Hope to have more hats to post in September. I have learned that hatting is expensive but sooo much fun. I am amazed at all the people I know that now want hats. :)

Great work, and thanks for sharing....if you're following in Joao's footsteps, which I highly recommend.

Thank you! Yeah, more large brims are in my future. Just need to find a larger hat body. The brim on the Gus is 4 5/8" there was very little felt cut off the brim.

No need to 'fix' #5, just add a leather wrap and say it's the Rooster Cogburn hat!

Funny you say that, it was meant to be the John Wayne Rooster Cogburn hat. The only thing is that I couldn't find a good reference photo so I though both sides needed to be symetrical.

I never in my life imagined I'd ever want to wear a gus hat, but that one is spectacular.

Wow, thank you. :eek:
 

Joao Encarnado

I'll Lock Up
Messages
7,776
Location
Portugal

T Jones

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,708
Location
Central Ohio
So long J W.

James C. Whittington
March 10, 1936 ~ November 9, 2017
No Way! Damn it! JW was a great guy. I had several nice conversations with him and was planning to make it up his way before the end of the year. I got my sweats from him too. I spoke with somebody who took some training from him and she said that he had been sick for a while. He also had a lady who was managing his shop for him the last I spoke with them earlier this Summer. Wonder if she'll be taking it over. Damn shame. JW'S gone.
 
Last edited:

ChicagoWayVito

Practically Family
Messages
699
So long J W.

James C. Whittington
March 10, 1936 ~ November 9, 2017

@RBH I read your post a few hours ago and felt completely numb. Hoping that you somehow had received bad information, I spent several hours searching Salt Lake news websites and anything else that might prove the information wrong. Nothing, no mention of his passing. Unfortunately, it was Facebook that confirmed what I had feared. https://www.facebook.com/JW-Hats-1603903046599784/

I started this thread two and a half years ago, after my first trip to JW Hats. I am lucky enough to have considered Jim a friend. After that first trip he wouldn't let me stay in a hotel or rent a car. Instead he put me up in a spare bedroom in his house. Picked me up and dropped me off at the airport. When we would go out for food, he wouldn't let me pay...I finally had to tell Jim that we were going to dinner and I was paying. In writing this I am going through a lot of emotions right now. It is interesting that it was the passing of another hatter (Alexander Conley) that go me interested in hat making and it was Jim who offered to mentor me if I could get myself down to Salt Lake. I called Jim just looking to get a couple of sweatbands and after explaining that I was attempting to teach myself hat making he invited me down.

Jim and I talked about every two months in between my trips to Salt Lake. At the beginning of this year he suffered a heart attack. I talked with him a couple months after and he told me that after the initial heart attack while in the hospital he suffered more and that he had to be resuscitated a couple of times. He felt better and on the mend and was hopeful. In the past two months he and I talked probably three times, would always ask how he was doing. It was in one of those last conversations that he said things were bad. Three weeks ago, our last conversation and not much had changed about his health. He still managed to have the good folks he employed at his shop get me a sewing machine table made and shipped. Just last Friday, I had this nagging feeling that things were not right with Jim but put feeling off; Friday was the 10th. I had hoped this day wouldn't have come.

Jim got married to his third wife (Shawn) a little over a year ago. She seemed to have taken over the management of the shop as he was only able to make it in once a week on a good week. A couple of years ago before he remarried he told me he was planning to leave the shop to his step-son from his second marriage, although Jim felt that the shop would only last about 2 years after he passed. His step-son is not a hatter.

----

Folks, life is short. Live life to the fullest with no regrets. Tell those that mean something to you how you feel about them.

----

Jim, may you have found rest from this world. You are missed! Thank you for taking me under your wing and getting me started. I tip my hat to you!
 

T Jones

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,708
Location
Central Ohio
@RBH I read your post a few hours ago and felt completely numb. Hoping that you somehow had received bad information, I spent several hours searching Salt Lake news websites and anything else that might prove the information wrong. Nothing, no mention of his passing. Unfortunately, it was Facebook that confirmed what I had feared. https://www.facebook.com/JW-Hats-1603903046599784/

I started this thread two and a half years ago, after my first trip to JW Hats. I am lucky enough to have considered Jim a friend. After that first trip he wouldn't let me stay in a hotel or rent a car. Instead he put me up in a spare bedroom in his house. Picked me up and dropped me off at the airport. When we would go out for food, he wouldn't let me pay...I finally had to tell Jim that we were going to dinner and I was paying. In writing this I am going through a lot of emotions right now. It is interesting that it was the passing of another hatter (Alexander Conley) that go me interested in hat making and it was Jim who offered to mentor me if I could get myself down to Salt Lake. I called Jim just looking to get a couple of sweatbands and after explaining that I was attempting to teach myself hat making he invited me down.

Jim and I talked about every two months in between my trips to Salt Lake. At the beginning of this year he suffered a heart attack. I talked with him a couple months after and he told me that after the initial heart attack while in the hospital he suffered more and that he had to be resuscitated a couple of times. He felt better and on the mend and was hopeful. In the past two months he and I talked probably three times, would always ask how he was doing. It was in one of those last conversations that he said things were bad. Three weeks ago, our last conversation and not much had changed about his health. He still managed to have the good folks he employed at his shop get me a sewing machine table made and shipped. Just last Friday, I had this nagging feeling that things were not right with Jim but put feeling off; Friday was the 10th. I had hoped this day wouldn't have come.

Jim got married to his third wife (Shawn) a little over a year ago. She seemed to have taken over the management of the shop as he was only able to make it in once a week on a good week. A couple of years ago before he remarried he told me he was planning to leave the shop to his step-son from his second marriage, although Jim felt that the shop would only last about 2 years after he passed. His step-son is not a hatter.

----

Folks, life is short. Live life to the fullest with no regrets. Tell those that mean something to you how you feel about them.

----

Jim, may you have found rest from this world. You are missed! Thank you for taking me under your wing and getting me started. I tip my hat to you!
Any idea if his current wife is going to continue with managing his shop? I think she was the one I spoke with a couple of months back. I'd hate to think of his shop closing up. It's been around for a lot of years.
 

ChicagoWayVito

Practically Family
Messages
699
Any idea if his current wife is going to continue with managing his shop? I think she was the one I spoke with a couple of months back. I'd hate to think of his shop closing up. It's been around for a lot of years.
Unfortunately I don't know what the fate of the shop will be. Things very well could end up for auction or on eBay too.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
107,955
Messages
3,050,919
Members
53,250
Latest member
abrockie96
Top