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Story of a Fedora Behaving Weirdly...

Castor Dioscuri

New in Town
Messages
16
Location
USA
A long story to begin for context:

So I have a beautiful grey beaver fedora from Adventurebilt that I recieved from Steve around 2010... When December would roll around, I'd wear it daily for the entire month of December when I was off the ski slopes, through rain and snow... And I was almost shocked that through it all, it never tapered or shrank with nary a reblock in sight.

Around 2019, I packed up and moved cross country in the summer, and looked ridiculous driving a tiny sedan full of hatboxes. I did worry about my seven day trip, with temperatures hitting 80 degrees, but figured 'if delivery companies shuttle hats in the summer, guess these guys should be fine...?'

Then Covid hit, and I sadly had to stop wearing my favorite fedora since 2019.

Anyway, fast forward to 2022. Today, I pulled my hat out of storage, and thanked my lucky stars that there was no sign of moth damage.

And then, I put it on.

The brim looked... askew. So, I did what I've done for years to no ill effect. I tugged the front of the brim down and...

Wait. This is weird.

Instead of having 'bounce' for lack of a better word, and having the entire front half of the brim bend forward like I've seen all my hats do over the years, this time I was left with a finger sized dent where I had tugged on the brim.

Imagine seeing a fedora viewed from the front. Now imagine if the curve of that brim suddenly made a half inch V dent...

Uh oh.

I tried to smooth it over, and eventually it did, by basically running my fingers back and forth while pinching the sides of the brim.

But wait, there's more...

Then, the entire brim became wonky. Tug one bit up, and just that bit of the brim gets raised. Pinch a different area down, and... you get the picture. It essentially had become too pliable, as if it were made out of clay.

If I put it on, the brim would slant sideways. So I straightened it, shaping it to look norma. I then wore it for an hour, took it off, and put it back on, and again it looked crooked. Basically, it had no memory, as if it had just been taken off a steamer... but refusing to set.

I apologize for the long story, and thank you if you've sat through all that... But does anyone know what on earth is going on? I swear this never happened before, and it depresses the heck out of me. This has been with me for over a decade... heck, it was practically best man at my wedding!

Has this happened to you? Is this what hats look like when they need a reblock? Is it the stiffener going bad? Is it heat damage from a long car ride? Years of moisture finally catching up? Or perhaps a long haul consequence of Adventurebilt's pre-aging of the felt?

And more importantly, is there a fix?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
Last edited:

Bill Hughes

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,128
Location
North Texas
A long story to begin for context:

So I have a beautiful grey beaver fedora from Adventurebilt that I recieved from Steve around 2010... When December would roll around, I'd wear it daily for the entire month of December when I was off the ski slopes, through rain and snow... And I was almost shocked that through it all, it never tapered or shrank with nary a reblock in sight.

Around 2019, I packed up and moved cross country in the summer, and looked ridiculous driving a tiny sedan full of hatboxes. I did worry about my seven day trip, with temperatures hitting 80 degrees, but figured 'if delivery companies shuttle hats in the summer, guess these guys should be fine...?'

Then Covid hit, and I sadly had to stop wearing my favorite fedora since 2019.

Anyway, fast forward to 2022. Today, I pulled my hat out of storage, and thanked my lucky stars that there was no sign of moth damage.

And then, I put it on.

The brim looked... askew. So, I did what I've done for years to no ill effect. I tugged the front of the brim down and...

Wait. This is weird.

Instead of having 'bounce' for lack of a better word, and having the entire front half of the brim bend forward like I've seen all my hats do over the years, this time I was left with a finger sized dent where I had tugged on the brim.

Imagine seeing a fedora viewed from the front. Now imagine if the curve of that brim suddenly made a half inch V dent...

Uh oh.

I tried to smooth it over, and eventually it did, by basically running my fingers back and forth while pinching the sides of the brim.

But wait, there's more...

Then, the entire brim became wonky. Tug one bit up, and just that bit of the brim gets raised. Pinch a different area down, and... you get the picture. It essentially had become too pliable, as if it were made out of clay.

If I put it on, the brim would slant sideways. So I straightened it, shaping it to look norma. I then wore it for an hour, took it off, and put it back on, and again it looked crooked. Basically, it had no memory, as if it had just been taken off a steamer... but refusing to set.

I apologize for the long story, and thank you if you've sat through all that... But does anyone know what on earth is going on? I swear this never happened before, and it depresses the heck out of me. This has been with me for over a decade... heck, it was practically best man at my wedding!

Has this happened to you? Is this what hats look like when they need a reblock? Is it the stiffener going bad? Is it heat damage from a long car ride? Years of moisture finally catching up? Or perhaps a long haul consequence of Adventurebilt's pre-aging of the felt?

And more importantly, is there a fix?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I believe all you need to do is steam the hat. Especially the brim. It will kinda reactivate the stiffeners.
 
Messages
19,192
Location
Funkytown, USA
A long story to begin for context:

So I have a beautiful grey beaver fedora from Adventurebilt that I recieved from Steve around 2010... When December would roll around, I'd wear it daily for the entire month of December when I was off the ski slopes, through rain and snow... And I was almost shocked that through it all, it never tapered or shrank with nary a reblock in sight.

Around 2019, I packed up and moved cross country in the summer, and looked ridiculous driving a tiny sedan full of hatboxes. I did worry about my seven day trip, with temperatures hitting 80 degrees, but figured 'if delivery companies shuttle hats in the summer, guess these guys should be fine...?'

Then Covid hit, and I sadly had to stop wearing my favorite fedora since 2019.

Anyway, fast forward to 2022. Today, I pulled my hat out of storage, and thanked my lucky stars that there was no sign of moth damage.

And then, I put it on.

The brim looked... askew. So, I did what I've done for years to no ill effect. I tugged the front of the brim down and...

Wait. This is weird.

Instead of having 'bounce' for lack of a better word, and having the entire front half of the brim bend forward like I've seen all my hats do over the years, this time I was left with a finger sized dent where I had tugged on the brim.

Imagine seeing a fedora viewed from the front. Now imagine if the curve of that brim suddenly made a half inch V dent...

Uh oh.

I tried to smooth it over, and eventually it did, by basically running my fingers back and forth while pinching the sides of the brim.

But wait, there's more...

Then, the entire brim became wonky. Tug one bit up, and just that bit of the brim gets raised. Pinch a different area down, and... you get the picture. It essentially had become too pliable, as if it were made out of clay.

If I put it on, the brim would slant sideways. So I straightened it, shaping it to look norma. I then wore it for an hour, took it off, and put it back on, and again it looked crooked. Basically, it had no memory, as if it had just been taken off a steamer... but refusing to set.

I apologize for the long story, and thank you if you've sat through all that... But does anyone know what on earth is going on? I swear this never happened before, and it depresses the heck out of me. This has been with me for over a decade... heck, it was practically best man at my wedding!

Has this happened to you? Is this what hats look like when they need a reblock? Is it the stiffener going bad? Is it heat damage from a long car ride? Years of moisture finally catching up? Or perhaps a long haul consequence of Adventurebilt's pre-aging of the felt?

And more importantly, is there a fix?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Photos of your problem would help, but Bill is correct. It doeasn't sound like you've tried to steam it for reshaping yet. Probably the most drastic thing you may have to do is have it reflanged.
 

Castor Dioscuri

New in Town
Messages
16
Location
USA
Thank you for the suggestions!

As I don't have access to a steamer, I ended up creating a makeshift sauna in the bathroom and sitting there for 10 minutes with the hat on and shaped to my preferences. After that, I let it cool for 10 minutes.

Seems to have done the trick! ...for the most part, anyway! Now it actually holds its shape when I take on and off the hat, but it now behaves like those bush hats that have a thin wire in the brim. Will look into getting it professionally reflanged when I get a chance.

With that said, I'm not sure how much pictures would have helped much before I tried "steaming", as the problem was literally the brim just being super pliable.

Just imagine a brim made from clay that did not set: If you push on the felt, it would leave a finger-sized dent that would not bounce back. If you use a finger and push down on the edge of the brim, you'd have a finger-sized "V" on the edge of the brim.
 
Messages
10,472
Location
vancouver, canada
Thank you for the suggestions!

As I don't have access to a steamer, I ended up creating a makeshift sauna in the bathroom and sitting there for 10 minutes with the hat on and shaped to my preferences. After that, I let it cool for 10 minutes.

Seems to have done the trick! ...for the most part, anyway! Now it actually holds its shape when I take on and off the hat, but it now behaves like those bush hats that have a thin wire in the brim. Will look into getting it professionally reflanged when I get a chance.

With that said, I'm not sure how much pictures would have helped much before I tried "steaming", as the problem was literally the brim just being super pliable.

Just imagine a brim made from clay that did not set: If you push on the felt, it would leave a finger-sized dent that would not bounce back. If you use a finger and push down on the edge of the brim, you'd have a finger-sized "V" on the edge of the brim.
An iron with the 'burst of steam' feature works well as a steam source.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
24,827
Location
London, UK
An iron with the 'burst of steam' feature works well as a steam source.


First time I steamed an open-crown hat, I boiled the kettle and filled a pyrex jug with boiling water, used the steam rising off that. Since then, I just boiled the kettle and held whatever hat I'm shaping over the spout as the steam rises. Just have to be careful to keep your fingers out of the way of the steam or you'll get burned. (Is it scalded with steam, or does that only apply to liquids rather than gases? thirty-three years since I last studied science...).
 

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