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Shaping a fedora?

Messages
14,964
Location
Central California
Thank you for the response kind Sir.
I’m a fan of a “smaller” hat if you will. I’m not a stingy brim fella but I’m comfortable with a more modest crown height and a brim under 3 inches. I looked around for a hat for some time. I couldn’t find any that suited my desired specific look. I tried on an Open Road and immediately knew I couldn’t wear it. It just wasn’t me. So, I went with the Chatham with plans to make it what you might call a “mini” Open Road. Today I stumbled upon the Stetson Roadster online and it’s calling my name. Loudly. I like the western nod it offers. I’m a bit of a hillbilly/country boy but definitely not a cowboy.

Some of the guys here have similar hats; a short brimmed Open Road clone. I know some went by the “Auctioneer” name.

The closest I have is a raw edge Etchinson with a 2 1/4” brim:

9DFD482F-4978-43FD-858B-8B786319261C.jpeg
F683C9B1-E773-47C8-93BD-5BB3B9E652A7.jpeg


My biggest complaint with the Open Road is that the brim is just a bit too small (modern versions also have too short of crowns). We all have our own preferences. Please share with us whatever hat you end up with.
 

BIGG SHOW

Familiar Face
Messages
66
Location
Boston
Wow! That hat is Bad A&$ Sir! I like it. Exactly what I’ve been seeing in my head. I’ll post a pic of my Chatham with modifications when it comes back from the shop.
 

jviss

Familiar Face
Messages
79
Location
Massachusetts
Greetings, fellow Millineryophiles!

So, I am new to all of this, and just completed a rash of eBay purchases culminating in a collection of vintage Fedoras, a Homburg, a Jiffy steamer, and a heated aluminum hat block in my size (22", 7 1/8, 57cm - it's marked 22", which is a 7, but while I buy and wear 7 1/8, my noggin is actually a tiny bit smaller).

One of the hats I bought is a brown Dobbs fedora that was creased such that my head pushed up the middle. I didn't like it, the center crease was too deep, and the pinches were extreme. Also, there's some staining on the liner, probably from a hair product.

I decided to start over by opening the crown all the way. But, these creases have apparently been there for 50 years, and are tough! I've gone through three steaming sessions, and I'm making progress, yet some creases and crease evidence persist. I'm waiting for the arrival of the hat block before the next steam session. I found misting with water helped a lot; it's important, I think, to have a spray bottle that won't emit droplets, and produces a very fine mist.

So, the ask:

1. How would you blow out a 50-year creased Fedora to an open crown?

2. How would you clean the lining?

Thanks!

jv

Before:

2.jpeg

Progress to date:

Brown Fedora progress 2022-01-24 11.15.06.jpg

You can see the creases still present in this.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,131
Location
vancouver, canada
Greetings, fellow Millineryophiles!

So, I am new to all of this, and just completed a rash of eBay purchases culminating in a collection of vintage Fedoras, a Homburg, a Jiffy steamer, and a heated aluminum hat block in my size (22", 7 1/8, 57cm - it's marked 22", which is a 7, but while I buy and wear 7 1/8, my noggin is actually a tiny bit smaller).

One of the hats I bought is a brown Dobbs fedora that was creased such that my head pushed up the middle. I didn't like it, the center crease was too deep, and the pinches were extreme. Also, there's some staining on the liner, probably from a hair product.

I decided to start over by opening the crown all the way. But, these creases have apparently been there for 50 years, and are tough! I've gone through three steaming sessions, and I'm making progress, yet some creases and crease evidence persist. I'm waiting for the arrival of the hat block before the next steam session. I found misting with water helped a lot; it's important, I think, to have a spray bottle that won't emit droplets, and produces a very fine mist.

So, the ask:

1. How would you blow out a 50-year creased Fedora to an open crown?

2. How would you clean the lining?

Thanks!

jv

Before:

View attachment 397626

Progress to date:

View attachment 397627

You can see the creases still present in this.
Often to rid the felt of the shadow creases you have to tear the hat down and wet block. A good soak in warm water loosens the felt and in all but the toughest you can rid the shadows. But when you reblock it be extra careful to block it evenly or you risk an uneven measure on the brim. Also if your block is a different profile than the hat you will lose either some crown height or brim width.....and then it is harder to get the brim exactly even. Before you wash if you sew a basting stitch along the brim break in a white thread that gives your marker to hit. Lining I wash in luke warm water using a mild soap. Either a Dr Bronner's castille soap or I steal some of my wife's lingerie soap. ....depending on how brave I am feeling.
 
Messages
14,964
Location
Central California
Greetings, fellow Millineryophiles!

So, I am new to all of this, and just completed a rash of eBay purchases culminating in a collection of vintage Fedoras, a Homburg, a Jiffy steamer, and a heated aluminum hat block in my size (22", 7 1/8, 57cm - it's marked 22", which is a 7, but while I buy and wear 7 1/8, my noggin is actually a tiny bit smaller).

One of the hats I bought is a brown Dobbs fedora that was creased such that my head pushed up the middle. I didn't like it, the center crease was too deep, and the pinches were extreme. Also, there's some staining on the liner, probably from a hair product.

I decided to start over by opening the crown all the way. But, these creases have apparently been there for 50 years, and are tough! I've gone through three steaming sessions, and I'm making progress, yet some creases and crease evidence persist. I'm waiting for the arrival of the hat block before the next steam session. I found misting with water helped a lot; it's important, I think, to have a spray bottle that won't emit droplets, and produces a very fine mist.

So, the ask:

1. How would you blow out a 50-year creased Fedora to an open crown?

2. How would you clean the lining?

Thanks!

jv

Before:

View attachment 397626

Progress to date:

View attachment 397627

You can see the creases still present in this.


I have one of those heated aluminum “blocks.” It has not been useful at actually reblocking my hats, and I wouldn’t want a block in that shape anyway. It has been very useful as an anvil to push against as I work out old creases. I don’t use the heater and you risk damaging the felt and more likely the leather sweatband using heat. I’ll sometimes use the back of a stainless steel spoon to message out old crease lines. I’ll heat the spoon with my Jiffy Steamer so I know it’s not too hot, and with the aluminum block to press against, I’ll message the old crease lines.

The valleys of old creases collect dirt. They also weren’t exposed to sun bleaching the way the rest of the felt was. Sometimes the old crease marks won’t come out no matter what you do. However, they can usually be minimized and once a new crease is put in they often don’t stand out.

If you’re going to do an actual reblock you’ll need to strip the hat of the ribbon/bow, sweatband, and liner. That’s a lot of work putting it back together with no guarantee that the results will be what you want. Lastly, my liner cleaning attempts have often resulted in a faded liner with the markings looking washed out. YMMV.
 

jviss

Familiar Face
Messages
79
Location
Massachusetts
I have one of those heated aluminum “blocks.” It has not been useful at actually reblocking my hats, and I wouldn’t want a block in that shape anyway. It has been very useful as an anvil to push against as I work out old creases. I don’t use the heater and you risk damaging the felt and more likely the leather sweatband using heat. I’ll sometimes use the back of a stainless steel spoon to message out old crease lines. I’ll heat the spoon with my Jiffy Steamer so I know it’s not too hot, and with the aluminum block to press against, I’ll message the old crease lines.

The valleys of old creases collect dirt. They also weren’t exposed to sun bleaching the way the rest of the felt was. Sometimes the old crease marks won’t come out no matter what you do. However, they can usually be minimized and once a new crease is put in they often don’t stand out.

If you’re going to do an actual reblock you’ll need to strip the hat of the ribbon/bow, sweatband, and liner. That’s a lot of work putting it back together with no guarantee that the results will be what you want. Lastly, my liner cleaning attempts have often resulted in a faded liner with the markings looking washed out. YMMV.
Thanks very much for your reply! I did take the lining out and will try to carefully wash the areas with the stains. I'm not attempting a re-block, I just want to smooth the old creases as well as I can, clean them and then crease it to my taste. Not taking the sweat or the ribbon yet. My block should be here Thursday. I really just need something about that size to pull the crown against, as I'm currently using the rather small brass ball on my brass bed for that!
 

jviss

Familiar Face
Messages
79
Location
Massachusetts
I’ll sometimes use the back of a stainless steel spoon to message out old crease lines. I’ll heat the spoon with my Jiffy Steamer so I know it’s not too hot, and with the aluminum block to press against, I’ll message the old crease lines.
I like this, I will try it.
 
Messages
11,190
Location
Southern California
...I'm not attempting a re-block, I just want to smooth the old creases as well as I can, clean them and then crease it to my taste...
I've creased and re-creased most of my hats two or three times. I don't have anything I can use to apply steam to the felt(s), so I spray my hats with distilled water until the felt is pretty well soaked. I find it better to return the hat to open crown before re-creasing, and in order to do that I use a stainless steel mixing bowl similar to these...

CwQCc6Q.jpg


...because [on ours] the curvature of the middle bowl is fairly close to that of the crowns of my hats. So I hold the bowl inside the wet crown and use it as a "block" of sorts to eliminate as much of the old crease(s) as possible. It's not perfect, but by the time the felt dries, I spray it again, then re-crease the hat, any minor traces of previous creases are hidden by the new crease. Well, most of the time, anyway. Not perfect, but so far it has worked for me.
 

jviss

Familiar Face
Messages
79
Location
Massachusetts
I've creased and re-creased most of my hats two or three times. I don't have anything I can use to apply steam to the felt(s), so I spray my hats with distilled water until the felt is pretty well soaked. I find it better to return the hat to open crown before re-creasing, and in order to do that I use a stainless steel mixing bowl similar to these...

CwQCc6Q.jpg


...because [on ours] the curvature of the middle bowl is fairly close to that of the crowns of my hats. So I hold the bowl inside the wet crown and use it as a "block" of sorts to eliminate as much of the old crease(s) as possible. It's not perfect, but by the time the felt dries, I spray it again, then re-crease the hat, any minor traces of previous creases are hidden by the new crease. Well, most of the time, anyway. Not perfect, but so far it has worked for me.
That's great! I swear, I was racking my brain, looking around the house trying to find something to use, and the stainless mixing bowls never occured to me!
 
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