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Messages
16,662
Location
Central California
With the permission of @belfastboy I’m starting a dedicated Wolfbrae Custom Hatters thread.

I know the regulars here already know most of this, but as we always have new folks showing up, members and lurkers, I thought I’d start at the beginning:

The hero of our story @belfastboy has a love of hats. He has custom hats from many of the best hatters as well as a collection of custom hats. He’s enjoyed hats for many years so when he retried he decided to try out hat making (he makes hats for men and women). At this point he’s just starting out, but his work is solid and his hats are very nice. He can take on most any project from a complete custom build to a simple leather sweatband replacement. He has a decent, and growing, selection of blocks and flanges and vintage grosgrain ribbon. He has access to a wide range of felt hat bodies. The postage from Canada is a bit more than I’m used to with domestic hatters, but shipping from BC to California is only about a week, the his most reasonable prices more than offset the increased shipping. Hopefully @belfastboy will be able to post a price list at some point. I’ve done all my commissions via email and the responses are quick and progress updates are regular: just how I like it.

I hope everyone who gets a Wolfbrae has work done by Wolfbrae on their hats posts it here. I’m happy to support a great guy and I’m very pleased with all his work.

Here’s a hat to start off:

This was a rebulid of an existing hat that really counts as a new build. The hat was reblocked to my size, the crown height was increased and the brim width decreased (stole from the brim to increase crown height). The brim was flanged, a new sweatband was sewn in, a new vintage ribbon and bow sewn on, and the original liner was put back in at my request:


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Messages
16,662
Location
Central California
This is a Wolfbrae custom build from a bottle green hat body I bought from the Millinery Warehouse. It’s a firm/stiff western felt that really came out great. Throughout the process I was given updates and allowed to choose block profiles, heights, widths, etc. I went with a black ribbon because in certain light the felt looks black and the black ribbon contrasts and brings out more of the green. This was a hoot to see come together.
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Messages
16,662
Location
Central California
This is my first Wolfbrae: It was a wide brim Borsalino made for the religious market. It was several sizes too small for me, but after reblocking to my size there was still plenty of brim with left for a fedora. I chose the ribbon for a bit of contrast and to move away from the orthodox look. This was my first time with a custom hat that required stiffening...I usually want them less stiff. @belfastboy added real hand mixed shellac until the stiffness was perfect:

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belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,882
Location
vancouver, canada
Thank you to Brent for the introduction. This past year has been a 'go slow' process of introducing my hat making to the world. I have accumulated equipment and although I have learned it is likely a life time/never ending process I now have a selection of blocks and flanges in both long and regular oval. I was fortunate to buy a wide assortment of vintage ribbon from Art and if the Gods smile upon me I might be adding vintage European grosgrain too.

I have access to all the felt suppliers. It would be great to settle on just 2 suppliers and bring in inventory but that is proving elusive. I will in the coming weeks set up an ETSY shop but in the meantime if you are interested in chatting about a new hat shoot me a PM and we can begin the conversation. Oh, and I offer a line of ladies hats as well so if the woman in your life wants a custom send her my way
 
Messages
16,662
Location
Central California
Here’s a 1950s Stetson No. 1 Quality. It arrived with a sweatband that had severe dry rot and the felt had some soiling. Wolfbrae cleaned it, reblocked...well he completely remade it into a usable hat. The two-cord ribbon was replaced with a wider grosgrain contrasting ribbon and given a different style bow.

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The felt is still 65 years old and it didn’t come out looking brand new...and that’s how I wanted it. It keeps some character while not looking filthy.
 

TheGuitarFairy

Practically Family
Messages
608
Location
Just West of Boston
Nice of you to create this thread, Brent, these hats are incredible!
I've always appreciated Wolfbrae's contributions to Lounge threads and loved his hats since the first time seeing one. I'm going to write him now actually about working on that old Arminto I recently grabbed!
Btw Brent I didn't realize that particular Stetson embossment stuck around into the 50s?! Is that true?
 
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Snowman

Practically Family
Messages
540
With the permission of @belfastboy I’m starting a dedicated Wolfbrae Custom Hatters thread.

This was a rebulid of an existing hat that really counts as a new build. The hat was reblocked to my size, the crown height was increased and the brim width decreased (stole from the brim to increase crown height). The brim was flanged, a new sweatband was sewn in, a new vintage ribbon and bow sewn on, and the original liner was put back in at my request:


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Great looking hat, and I can see why you wanted to keep the liner.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,882
Location
vancouver, canada
My last (for now) Wolfbrae. This is a 150g 100% nutria felt in the color called “gunmetal.” It’s a gorgeous blue-gray. The felt it very soft, but also thick and dense. It’s definitely a winter weight felt.

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I have finished your Knox....just touching up the repair of the hole in the crown.
 
Messages
16,662
Location
Central California
Nice of you to create this thread, Brent, these hats are incredible!
I've always appreciated Wolfbrae's contributions to Lounge threads and loved his hats since the first time seeing one. I'm going to write him now actually about working on that old Arminto I recently grabbed!
Btw Brent I didn't realize that particular Stetson embossment stuck around into the 50s?! Is that true?

I’m not sure when that debossing went out of use. The labels behind the disintegrating sweatband and the size tag looked 1950s to me, but I’ve repeatedly proven that accurately dating hats is not one of my strengths.
 

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