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Panama Hat Thread

Bill Hughes

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,131
Location
North Texas
I hesitate to show this - but I have five montecristi semi-calado bodies just waiting to be finished out. I have them all commissioned ie they are mine! I’ve been working on ideas for crown and brim shapes. Also been getting some interesting ribbons. All the work will be performed by Mike Miller at Northwest Hats. I’m going to have a fantastic hat summer.

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The third hat body has been blocked / built and is on the way to me.

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Lukacs

New in Town
Messages
36
Messages
19,005
Location
Central California

circle_t

New in Town
Messages
12
New to the lounge, but wanted to share this vintage Stetson Panama I scored recently. Came with the original (I assume) shipping box and receipt so we know it’s from 1976. A full 3” brim and nearly 5” crown as creased. Would love to learn more if anyone has any other info!
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The brim is a lot wavier than the photo suggests and my initial steaming didn’t do much. I’ll give it another go with some stiffener. The leather sweat is dry but still in one piece and thankfully the 7 3/8 seems to be a long oval so it fits pretty well! Hopefully just wearing it some will re-hydrate the sweatband, and if not I’ll look into getting it replaced.
 
Messages
19,005
Location
Central California
New to the lounge, but wanted to share this vintage Stetson Panama I scored recently. Came with the original (I assume) shipping box and receipt so we know it’s from 1976. A full 3” brim and nearly 5” crown as creased. Would love to learn more if anyone has any other info!
View attachment 522665
View attachment 522666
View attachment 522667
The brim is a lot wavier than the photo suggests and my initial steaming didn’t do much. I’ll give it another go with some stiffener. The leather sweat is dry but still in one piece and thankfully the 7 3/8 seems to be a long oval so it fits pretty well! Hopefully just wearing it some will re-hydrate the sweatband, and if not I’ll look into getting it replaced.


I’d stay away from liquid based leather conditioners. If the sweatband has dry rot, a VERY common issue, moisture will cause the leather to expand, delaminate, and shrivel. Sweat can do the same thing, but no need to add fuel to that fire.

I use Pecard Antique Leather Dressing all the time without any issues. If there is dry rot no conditioner will help, but at least Pecard won’t make it worse.
 

circle_t

New in Town
Messages
12
I’d stay away from liquid based leather conditioners. If the sweatband has dry rot, a VERY common issue, moisture will cause the leather to expand, delaminate, and shrivel. Sweat can do the same thing, but no need to add fuel to that fire.

I use Pecard Antique Leather Dressing all the time without any issues. If there is dry rot no conditioner will help, but at least Pecard won’t make it worse.
Thanks Brent. I don't think it's dry rotted as there's no flaking or obvious cracks, so hopefully good news? The leather is quite stiff, and I don't feel comfortable trying to flip the sweatband down to apply any sort of dressing/conditioner. How do you feel about applying Pecard to the finished side of the sweat? Any worries with that making contact with skin and hair? Also, I see they recommend the Antique stuff for pre-1970s leather, and this is a mid-70s hat. Think I should stick with their classic formula?
 
Messages
19,005
Location
Central California
Thanks Brent. I don't think it's dry rotted as there's no flaking or obvious cracks, so hopefully good news? The leather is quite stiff, and I don't feel comfortable trying to flip the sweatband down to apply any sort of dressing/conditioner. How do you feel about applying Pecard to the finished side of the sweat? Any worries with that making contact with skin and hair? Also, I see they recommend the Antique stuff for pre-1970s leather, and this is a mid-70s hat. Think I should stick with their classic formula?


All I use is Antique.

In my sad experience, leather sweatbands can be completely rotten and not give any indication until they shrivel up like bacon when exposed to water. Steam is a real killer!
 

circle_t

New in Town
Messages
12
All I use is Antique.

In my sad experience, leather sweatbands can be completely rotten and not give any indication until they shrivel up like bacon when exposed to water. Steam is a real killer!
Copy that. I’ll order some Pecard Antique and hope for the best. I’m fully prepared for this sweat to be toast, but may as well give it a go. Really appreciate the knowledge sharing on this forum! I will certainly report any results.
 

circle_t

New in Town
Messages
12
Took @deadlyhandsome ’s advice on Pecard antique leather dressing, and while it definitely softened the band up, I think it also revealed that it may actually be pleather? Or at least a very cheap leather. And I guess as this is kind of the beginning of the end of Stetson’s heyday (1976) I shouldn’t be too surprised. However! It is, as mentioned, much more supple than before and was the excuse I needed to try streaming again.

Was able to get the brim a lot straighter, added some very subtle pinches to the front, and put a little dent to the center crease for my big head you better fit. Feeling like it’s ready to wear outside, and greatly enjoying my further steps in the hat journey!
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Messages
19,005
Location
Central California
Took @deadlyhandsome ’s advice on Pecard antique leather dressing, and while it definitely softened the band up, I think it also revealed that it may actually be pleather? Or at least a very cheap leather. And I guess as this is kind of the beginning of the end of Stetson’s heyday (1976) I shouldn’t be too surprised. However! It is, as mentioned, much more supple than before and was the excuse I needed to try streaming again.

Was able to get the brim a lot straighter, added some very subtle pinches to the front, and put a little dent to the center crease for my big head you better fit. Feeling like it’s ready to wear outside, and greatly enjoying my further steps in the hat journey!
View attachment 526618
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I’m glad the Pecard dressing helped.

The quality of Stetson was in steep decline by the late 1950s and they went out of business in the late 1960s. The hats made after that with the Stetson name were made by various companies other than Stetson and the quality could be shockingly poor in the period. There were some good hats made during the last decade of Stetson, but they were few.
 
Messages
10,519
Location
vancouver, canada
I’m glad the Pecard dressing helped.

The quality of Stetson was in steep decline by the late 1950s and they went out of business in the late 1960s. The hats made after that with the Stetson name were made by various companies other than Stetson and the quality could be shockingly poor in the period. There were some good hats made during the last decade of Stetson, but they were few.
Yes, I have come across some shockingly terrible sweat bands on Stetsons. I think the term is 'genuine leather' that indicates it is made from the crap leftover from the tanning process and it is pressed crap and named 'genuine'.
 

Juhani

New in Town
Messages
26
Location
Finland
As others have noted I wish they used blocks that were taller. A lot of factors go into making the crown higher.
I'm planning to get a new Panama hat for next summer, and I've been searching for images and reviews of Panama Hats Direct. There might be other options too. I'm always troubled with crown heights, and I went to ask them if they had higher blocks. Their Trilby model is said to be 4.75 inches / 12 cm tall, and that might do well if the hat is decent otherwise. Could you please recommend places where to get Panamas with higher crowns?
 

Lukacs

New in Town
Messages
36
I'm planning to get a new Panama hat for next summer, and I've been searching for images and reviews of Panama Hats Direct. There might be other options too. I'm always troubled with crown heights, and I went to ask them if they had higher blocks. Their Trilby model is said to be 4.75 inches / 12 cm tall, and that might do well if the hat is decent otherwise. Could you please recommend places where to get Panamas with higher crowns?
I don't see many recent posts to this forum. I think it's worth reminding Juhani and others that Panama Hats Direct is still running their sale. Casey keeps sending emails. and the latest is offering a 30% discount on custom or stock hats. The pricess are very nice. Can you get nicer blocking or sweatbands? Yes. Can you get a better genuine Montecristi Panama Hat at these prices? Nowhere I've seen. I've ordered twice from PHD, and Casey is making me want to place another order. Btw, remember, you can talk with PHD directly on the phone, and they'll send you pics of stock hats and during the process. If you pull the trigger, let us see!
 
Messages
10,519
Location
vancouver, canada
I'm planning to get a new Panama hat for next summer, and I've been searching for images and reviews of Panama Hats Direct. There might be other options too. I'm always troubled with crown heights, and I went to ask them if they had higher blocks. Their Trilby model is said to be 4.75 inches / 12 cm tall, and that might do well if the hat is decent otherwise. Could you please recommend places where to get Panamas with higher crowns?
I am bringing in Panama blanks for this spring. My plan is to offer decent quality weave counts for a reasonable price, vintage grosgrain ribbon and roan leather sweats. I will know this week for certain and can set my selling price. If still in the market drop me a note in a few days.
 

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