Stretching a hat - advice please....

Discussion in 'Hats' started by jdbenson, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. jdbenson

    jdbenson One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Cincinnnati, OH
    I'm currently seeking out a quality hat stretcher. I've been following a few on ebay, but most of what I see are sized 6 3/4. I wear a 7 3/8 long oval, or a 7 1/2. Will a hat stretcher that small do me any good?

    I measured accrosse the opening of my hats (front to back) at 8 1/2". Will at 6 3/4 hat stretcher expand that far?

    Thanks for all your good advice.
     
  2. NonEntity

    NonEntity Suspended

    Messages:
    281
    Location:
    Southeastern U.S.
    It would be helpful to us to know exactly why you need the hat stretcher and what kind of hat(s) you need it for.

    If you just need to keep your fur or wool felt already in your size from shrinking after it gets wet or to return it to its original size, the Hat Jack is a good one. They come in S, M, and L. Being a 7 3/8 Long Oval, you would go down one size in this stretcher from a M to a S.

    davidmorgan.com carries them for $21.00 + $7.00 S & H UPS Ground.

    If the hat is more than one size to small to begin with, have it stretched my a professional.
     
  3. Bud-n-Texas

    Bud-n-Texas Practically Family

    Messages:
    975
    Location:
    Central Texas (H.O.T.)
    jd, the hat stretching topic is an ongoing topic around here. Many tell you that you can't go up more than 1 size. That is bunk. I use a vintage stretcher purchased off of ebay like the one pictured. I have SUCCESSFULLY stretched a size 7 Stetson, a size 7 1/8 Borsalino and a size 7 1/4 Adams up to my 23 1/8th noggin. Time, water, Lexol and patience are required. My stretcher is a size 7 if that helps.

    [​IMG]
     
    Hat and Rehat and Dm101 like this.
  4. jdbenson

    jdbenson One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Cincinnnati, OH
    stretch

    I have two fedoras that are both 7 3/8 but since I'm a long oval they feel tight across my forehead. I just want to stretch them a bit longer. I don't really need to go up a full size, just about halfway.

    My concern is that the smaller sized hat stretchers (6 1/2 or 6 3/4) may not extend to a full 8 1/2 inches that I need...Any recommendations for the size I need?

    I've seen the Hat Jack, but I've read concerns about them in other threads, so I thought I'd grab a vintage stretcher.

    Anyone have any tips?
     
  5. carouselvic

    carouselvic I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,262
    Location:
    Kansas
    Hat Stretcher

    For your needs a Hallett brand stretcher would do just fine. From size 6 1/2 to 9. They sell every day on ebay.
     
    Dm101 likes this.
  6. Bud-n-Texas

    Bud-n-Texas Practically Family

    Messages:
    975
    Location:
    Central Texas (H.O.T.)
    jb my size 7 vintage goes up to 7 3/4 on the size scale. this may give you some insight as the range a stretcher size will go. Based on your comments concerning size, a size 7 or 6 7/8ths vintage stretcher should work fine for you. I have a Hallet and that is why I bought the vintage one. My Hallet now resides in a box, while my vintage gets exclusive use. If I came on a little strong in my prior post please accept my apology. I just grow tired of mis information being spread. My comment are based on actual experience not what I have heard.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  7. jdbenson

    jdbenson One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Cincinnnati, OH
    No foul

    Bud -

    No apologies needed. In fact, after reading the so-so reviews of the Hallet (and Hat Jack) stretcher, I agree with you. I've pretty much got my heart set on a vintage. The only fedora I own that actually fits well is a new one purchased from Batsakes which Gus Miller steamed and stretched a bit to fit my big ol' haid. Try as I might, he wouldn't sell me one of his stretchers so I'm watching ebay.

    Thanks for your advice, size-wise, I'll look for a vintage size 7 and up.
     
  8. Mike in Seattle

    Mike in Seattle My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    3,027
    Location:
    Renton (Seattle), WA
  9. Spellflower

    Spellflower Practically Family

    Messages:
    511
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Bud, have you had any problems with increasing taper when stretching?
     
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,713
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Just a comment - I have a vintage hat stretcher, sized 6 3/4. My best guess is that this is the SMALLEST the stretcher will go. But it does open up to much larger settings. I'm a 7 1/4 and it works fine for me. I regard those size marks as minimums, not maximums. Others - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

    Also - I'm thinking that it would be pretty easy to use my hat stretcher th shape wide ovals if I cut out some thin wood C-shapes on a bandsaw and taped them over the front and back of a standard shaped stretcher. Anyone else tried this?

    (I have a Shopsmith bandsaw but I bought it in need of some repair and re-fit and haven't gotten to it yet, or I would have already tried this.)
     
  11. Ande1964

    Ande1964 Practically Family

    Messages:
    552
    Location:
    Kansas
    I used my badsaw to trim off the sides a little on one of those modern, cheapie hat jacks. It works pretty well as a long oval stretcher. If you're stretching very much, it really does help to dunk the hat in water first.

    Never had a vintage stretcher, so I can't compare that to the modern ones I've used.

    Anj
     
  12. tm3

    tm3 Familiar Face

    Messages:
    76
    Location:
    NC
    i think that i read that the size marked on the vintage stretchers is the minimum, and they will go up about 3/4 more of a size. so one marked 7 will go to 7 3/4.

    good luck finding a vintage on ebay at a reasonable price. i've seen ones that i have been after go for close to $50. maybe they are really worth that, but i wonder.

    i've gotten frustrated with ebay and think i'm going to give a "hat jack" a try.
     
  13. cooncatbob

    cooncatbob Practically Family

    Messages:
    612
    Location:
    Carmichael, CA.
    Can't you see the difference? The wood on a vintage stretcher extends all the way around and the screw is much bigger.
    The wood on a hat jack has a tendency to swivel out of square.
    BTW. putting the stretcher in the hat gives one a nice handle to hold onto when steaming the brim or crown.
    Bob.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Bud-n-Texas

    Bud-n-Texas Practically Family

    Messages:
    975
    Location:
    Central Texas (H.O.T.)
    Spellflower, here are photos after the stretch, I will let you be the judge.

    The Borso from 7 1/8 to the 23 1/8th or just over a 7 3/8ths
    [​IMG]

    Here is the Adam 7 1/4 taken up

    [​IMG]

    I will have to take a photo of the other hat that I mentioned. I think that you can see, that taper is not a problem.
     
  15. carouselvic

    carouselvic I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,262
    Location:
    Kansas
    Hat Stretcher

    I use a stretcher for only minor tweaking of the size, I to am a long oval and I like the ability to make the jaws of the stretcher go out of square to each other. Custom hatter use a conformer to get a more exact copy of everyones imperfect head. I do not like a drop in stretcher to go up full sizes. I find it leaves a very noticeable taper in the crown. It can also throw the flange of the brim out of whack and make it quite wavy.
     
  16. Spellflower

    Spellflower Practically Family

    Messages:
    511
    Location:
    Brooklyn
    Looks pretty good to me, Bud. I'm just a little nervous about trying this out on my beautiful 7 1/4 Resistol Ten Townley- it's so nice that I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I messed it up. But I figure if I'm patient, and go slowly, that I'll notice the beginning of any problems before it's too late.
     
  17. toobacat

    toobacat One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Georgia
     
  18. Bud-n-Texas

    Bud-n-Texas Practically Family

    Messages:
    975
    Location:
    Central Texas (H.O.T.)
    SP, patience is the key, just a little at a time. Make sure that you put some Lexol (or other leather conditioner) on the sweat, spray water on the felt and just do a little at a time. I usually get the result that I am looking for in 2-3 days. I check and adjust 3 to 4 times each day. Never had a problem yet. Good Luck and show us your results.
     
  19. Bud-n-Texas

    Bud-n-Texas Practically Family

    Messages:
    975
    Location:
    Central Texas (H.O.T.)
     
  20. ideaguy

    ideaguy One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,041
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    A number of years ago my hatter friend sold me a vintage stretcher for
    my 7 3/8 hats- the size of the stretcher was 6 3/4. That's all...been working
    fine ever since.
     

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