Which Panama Hat?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by ScottyBlues, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. ScottyBlues

    ScottyBlues Familiar Face

    Messages:
    83
    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I've done a search and there is just too much to read. I'm looking to buy a Panama hat for this summer, and I want the collective wisdom from this group of which to buy.

    Maybe that could be a sticky, an article with the top contenders for each hat style.

    I'm looking for a traditional Panama in white or off-white, nice ribbon. I'd like it to be as authentic as possible with as much money going to the craftsman as possible. I'm willing to spend in the neighborhood of $200. I could be coaxed into spending more and would happy to spend less, but I'm looking for something that will contribute true pride of ownership and is clearly a cut above my current Biltmore Panama (which isn't a bad hat, by the way).
     
  2. BobC

    BobC My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,378
    Location:
    Central IL
    HI, Scotty. Check around some of the threads here and you'll find that a lot of these folks are wearing Panama Bob's hats. I have one ordered and have been checking the front door every day anxiously waiting for it to arrive. For the money you're willing to spend you will be able to get a pretty nice hat.

    Robert's website is www.panamas.biz I believe.

    Good hunting.
     
  3. HungaryTom

    HungaryTom One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,202
    Location:
    Hungary
    Hi,

    I assume that you use your current Biltmore Panama as the everyday Panama hat.

    If you look for something that will contribute true pride of ownership i.e. dress panama hat - that is a Montecristi.

    I would also say you can get the best value for that (or any other) amount with Panamabob.

    The dress hat won't be a better sun protector neither will it be waterproof - it will be simply a nicer hat.

    Regards:

    Tom
     
  4. Kaosharper1

    Kaosharper1 Guest

    Ultrafino on EBAY

    Does anyone know about the seller called "Ultrafino" on EBAY? His prices seem reasonable, and he differentiates between Montechristi's and the other panamas. Plus he seems to keep an inventory for shipping.
     
  5. Panamabob

    Panamabob Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,012
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    I've ordered Ultrafino Montecristi from ebay and did indeed get a Cuenca. Buyer beware....not sour grapes. Ask her about it, as the Indiana Attorney General certainly did when I turned her in for fraud.
     
  6. johnnycanuck

    johnnycanuck Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,073
    Location:
    Alberta
    I have a great hat from http://panamahatsdirect.com/ If you join their mailing list, they send you out nice video's about the hats, and also sale notices from time to time. They also tell you the hat fit (normal, long oval). Their standard blocks are nicer then panama Bobs unless you want to spend the extra money for Art to fix it up for you. But their sweat band is not as nice as Bob's, comfortable, but not as nice. My two cents worth anyway.
    Johnny
     
  7. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,950
    Location:
    Hillbilly Heaven
    Panama Bob

    [​IMG] A breathtaking panama bob montecristi blocked by Art for Zohar c. 2004.

    You could get a panama bob montecristi and have either Art (I dunno if he still does this) or Gus Miller of Batsakes in Cinci block it for you, see here: Gus Miller of Batsakes panamas Bob sometimes seems to have a few of these in stock. I have never seen one in the flesh, but they look very nice, leather sweat & a sweet, crisp block.
     
  8. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Very crisp indeed Rick!
    Wonder what that would look like with a thin ribbon?
     
  9. tinmanzzz

    tinmanzzz A-List Customer

    Messages:
    366
    Location:
    Knoxville TN
    Which Biltmore ???

    Which Biltmore do you currently have ???
     
  10. HamletJSD

    HamletJSD A-List Customer

    Messages:
    468
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    Just one more marble on the scale ... PanamaBob is a great choice for a good deal. I think you'll get the best bang for whatever dollar amount you are willing to spend. Even better if you can spring to have Art block it.
     
  11. Jerekson

    Jerekson One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,597
    Location:
    1935
    Any idea how much extra it would cost for a Art-blocked Bob-hat?
     
  12. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,950
    Location:
    Hillbilly Heaven
    I'd like to think it would look right at home on my head! :D
     
  13. Panamabob

    Panamabob Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,012
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    I don't feel comfortable answering the $ question until I take an ad up out top or in the magazine, which I am planning to do soon.

    I want to defend our "Standard" blocks as referenced above. They are hand pinched Ecuadorian blocks, not "Standard" Blocks. All orders have the option of Ecuadorian hand pinched, USA blocked, or Ecuadorian blocked.
     
  14. DblCoronaMS

    DblCoronaMS One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    108
    Location:
    Picayune, MS
    I'll answer that $ question since my Panama Bob Momtecristi is currently at Art's for a reblock and clean.

    I paid $99 for my 300 weave/inch Montecristi. It found it's way into a swimming pool so I sent it to Art, who has it as I type. Art quoted me $35 for the reblock, more if the sweat has to be changed.

    Cheap at twice the price IMHO.
     
  15. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,815
    Location:
    The Swamp
    I'll need something better than the Shantung straws I have now for The Evil Viciousness called "summer" around here. Nice as they fit, they're not very cool. The "Trilby" model at PanamaHatsDirect looks good, and they can weave a shorter brim for me and swap out bands, right? What about the crown height and taper to the models at Panama Bob's, like the Teardrop?
     
  16. monbla256

    monbla256 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,239
    Location:
    DFW Metroplex, Texas
    PB is THE guy to, to to get a DECENT Panama at a FAIR price for sure :) Here's one of his Cuenca brisa weave Cabalero styled sale hat's I just got for $9.99 from him. It is a teardrop shaped crease and it's dims are as follows: 2 3/4" brim, 4 5/16" @ front of pinch, 4 7/8" @ tallest side and 3 1/2" @ back. I would say these were probably about average for this style creased in Ecuador as this one is.

    [​IMG]

    If you want a REALLY cool vented Panama, you need to go for a Semi-Calado model. Here's my Montecristi Semi-Calado which was blocked and finished by Gus Miller last year:

    [​IMG]

    I also have a nice Cuenca Brisa Semi-Calado from PB :

    [​IMG]

    These are VERY cool especially down here in our 100+ degree heat and humidity in N. Texas in the summer :) BTW, I can't find "the Swamp" on any US maP ? :) Hope this might help :)

    Onward thru the Fog :)
     
  17. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,815
    Location:
    The Swamp
    Ha! Yes, "The Swamp" is my name for New Orleans, aka the horror-show of the American South. I've lived here nearly all my life, and hated it for almost as long.

    That Cuenca Caballero style looks great. Can he trim the brim a bit, or is that something that must be done as the hat is woven? And can the brim be shaped, by him or me, to have a nice snapbrim swoop in the front?
     
  18. monbla256

    monbla256 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,239
    Location:
    DFW Metroplex, Texas
    The sale hats are what he has in stock as Sale hats. You could ask him to find one shorter. The brim size is woven into the hat and a GOOD panama has a back woven edge NOT sewn as you find on may other offerings from some hatters. As for shaping the brim, STEAM and WEAR are what give Panama's all the style you want. I store mine in their boxes brim up and they all get steamed when I bring them out for wear in the spring and from then on it is wear and handleing that gives 'em their "style" . Because of the material and manner in which it is made, a Panama is not as "static" in holding a set shape and will continue to "evolve" as it is worn which is why I like them BETTER than felts :) There are "Panamas" made with a wire sewn into the brim to "hold" the shape but most I have seen are no better than there Shantung cousins IMHO. A true Panama has a back-woven edge period :)
    If you get into PB's other grades of both Cuenca's and Montecristi's you have more options as to what is available brim wise etc. If I were to suggest a good First Panama I would have to suggest one of his Fino Llano grade Cuencas @ $99.00 and you will get a hat worth at least 2 times it's cost from him as you would pay somewhere else. :) And, unless you just beat the helll out of it, you will get years of wear out of this hat as well ( can't account for unforseen accidents of course :) )

    Onward thru the Fog :)
     
  19. Cliffnopus

    Cliffnopus One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    227
    Location:
    Foxboro, MA
    I have a fifteen year old "Plantation" model by Brent Black. This gentleman is the real deal, I spent many hours on the phone with him way back when. My hat looks as good as the day I received it. His website is chock full of good info; I couldn't recommend him any more highly.
    http://www.brentblack.com/

    Cliff
     
  20. Jim2903

    Jim2903 One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    142
    Location:
    Chicago NW Suburbs
    I will add one more vote for Panama Bob ...
     

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