This is an essential tool for reshaping a hat brim

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Doc Glockster, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. Doc Glockster

    Doc Glockster One of the Regulars

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    The Smokey Bear hat press.

    http://www.thewoodshopcustomshutters.com/images/Hat Press Front View.bmp

    I bought one at a gun show and I've used it so many times it's paid for itself many times over. When you reshape a brim by hand, it ends up with bumps and wrinkles, but putting a hat through the hat press lets you "reset" the brim to flat so you can start over with how you want it.
     
  2. jskeen

    jskeen One of the Regulars

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    I agree sometimes its best just to flatten it out and start over. It can also be used to help sharpen up the flange on a hat that has been tugged all obtuse by putting a band block in the hat before putting the brim in the press.

    Of course, it is de rigueur if you happen to actually own a smokey the bear hat. I made this one out of some 1/4 luan, but 3/8 tempered hardboard would work too (smooth side in, of course)


    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
    Cornshucker77 likes this.
  3. RJR

    RJR

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    Nice DIY press....good idea.
     
  4. Genuine Classic Gangster

    Genuine Classic Gangster One of the Regulars

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    Thanks for the making the OP. I hadn't heard of that sort of tool before.

    I definitely need a tool to flatten out my hats' brims. After I use my hats for a while, the brims always curl upwards when they should instead be laying flat like they did when I first got them.

    I have two questions:

    1. Can you gentlemen recommend any online options for places where one might purchase a good hat press tool?

    2. How come the hat press tools pictured above do not make a full circle so that one can press his entire brim at once?
     
  5. barrowjh

    barrowjh One Too Many

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    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  6. jskeen

    jskeen One of the Regulars

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    The wing nuts are really for adjusting the press for the thickness of a particular cover's brim, so that it will slide in snugly. I usually alternate which side goes in first and that keeps the whole brim flat quite well. These are really more of a storage item. For a more serious brim reshape, most folks would take their cover to a real hatter who would usually use a flange stand, a dedicated flange for the desired shape, and a large bag of heated sand in a lowering device.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  7. Andykev

    Andykev I'll Lock Up Bartender

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    Flat granite counter, steam iron on low, pressing cloth (dish towel). Worked for me for years. Store hat in box. The Stratton has a cardboard "holder" which when you slide it into the box (with hat in upside down) the brim is sandwiched between both the holder and the inside surface of the hat box.
     
    DOGMAN likes this.
  8. RJR

    RJR

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    +1 for Andykev's method.
     
  9. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    Hi guys, new to the forum, this is my first post. I've recently started stretching and shaping hats to properly fit my head - I'm a 60 (7 3/8 UK, 7 1/2 US), but have a very long narrow head, so I struggle to find hats that fit right (I mostly wear caps a size bigger than me). I recently acquired a couple new hats, a homburg from Lock & Co (size 61) and a Coober Pedy from Akubra (size 60). Both have needed to be stretched. As a result, obviously, the fronts and backs of the brims have been lowered and the sides raised. This has worked out really well with the homburg (because I really like that look on a homburg) - less so on the Coober Pedy, as it now looks a little too cowboy hat-like for my tastes. I know that I can theoretically iron the sides down to get them flatter, I'm just sceptical about how much I will be able to flatten it. So, my question to those who have experience shaping their own hats, will I likely be able to get the shape I want through ironing the sides, will I reach a limit to how flat I can get it (which I suspect), should I just take it to a hatters first to get their opinion or help? Thanks.
     
  10. If you think of the brim as a ring (without the crown), even a long oval shaped ring by stretching it to a "very long narrow" ring you have stretched & changed the ID of the brim without changing the OD any. Something has to give & depending on how much you stretch it you end up with somewhere between a pucker to a wave in the brim. I doubt you will be able to flatten the stretched felt around the ID back to meet your approval.
     
  11. Lean'n'mean

    Lean'n'mean My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Any significant modification of the base of a crown will change the shape & swoop of a brim. Your best bet is indeed to flatten the brim first & then try to shape it as you want with steam. You don't have to iron the brim, simply steam sections & then press down with your hand on a hard flat surface, working your way around the brim. One word of caution though; any further manipulation of the brim is likely to alter the crown again, so you will need to keep a hat-jack in place while you're dealing with the brim. Also, make sure the crown is really right for your head beforehand, otherwise if after all your work the hat is tight & you have to force it, even a little, the brim will likely return to it's exaggerated shape again.
     
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  12. moehawk

    moehawk I'll Lock Up

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    I'd take it to a professional hatter. They have all the proper tools and flanges to shape the felt to your liking. While it is possible to do the work at home, without the right equipment and experience you can do harm rather than good. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool DIYer who will probably try it at home anyway (like me:)), it's always best to find a couple of old beat up fur felt cowboy hats cheap at a thrift store or flea market to practice on before diving in to a nice one.
    Just my 2 cents...
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017
    Hat and Rehat and DOGMAN like this.
  13. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    Thanks for the responses - pretty much what I thought (I assume from the context that ID and OD stand for inside and outside diameter?), you'll always have some sort of restriction. I doubt it will get much flatter, but I think I will nonetheless take it to a hatter anyway and ask if they can do a neater job of it (the front and back of the brim on the Coober Pedy are fine, but I've made the sides quite lumpy - not too much of an issue for a country hat, but I try to do the job as best as possible).
     
  14. DOGMAN

    DOGMAN One Too Many

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    Just ironed this brim flat[​IMG][​IMG]
     
  15. Zoukatron

    Zoukatron One of the Regulars

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    Dogman, that's a fairly substantial (from my point of view at least) curve to iron flat - were you able to maintain the shape of the crown (putting aside the crease and pinch obviously)?
     
  16. DOGMAN

    DOGMAN One Too Many

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    Yes I have ironed many brims flat. So the brim can be trimmed.
     
  17. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I concur with Lean'n'mean's post. I have had good experience ironing abrim to flatten it with one huge caveat.....if the hat is a touch too small or an oval (I tend towards a long oval) as soon as I place the ironed brim hat back on my head the brim reverts to its former upturned sides. No way around it without sending to a hatter for a resize and reblock.....usually too expensive so I sell the hat and start fresh.
     
  18. DOGMAN

    DOGMAN One Too Many

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    I iron my brims with a stretcher in the hat.Have not had that problem.I'm also a long oval.
     
  19. RJR

    RJR

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    +1
     

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