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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society (Moderators: St. George, Silver Creek Slim)  |  Topic: Traditional cowboy hat shapes for reshaping 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Ben Beam
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« on: March 30, 2017, 11:07:00 am »


I got my hands on a 6X Stetson Spartan in the modern rancher style shape. I've read that they should be easy to reshape using nothing more than steam, and I'd like to give it a more "traditional" shape, but wondering if anyone who has more experience can offer suggestions on a shape that will work well with this hat. Should I simply pop it back to an open crown and then flatten the brim? I saw a tip abut filling the crown with water and then letting it drain into a toilet overnight, but that's a bit stressful with what would normally be a $250 hat.  Shocked

Thank you as always.
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Kent Shootwell
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2017, 01:16:41 pm »

The water over night doesn't sound like a good idea to me! A tea kettle and bit of hand work has worked for my hats, and didn't harm the liner or sweat band. Shape it to suit yourself. A flat brim all ways looks best to me and it will take on a nice gentle wave us by wearing it.
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St. George
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2017, 02:10:26 pm »

Talk to Delmonico - he's written up a number of threads on this subject alone.

Better yet - try looking for them in the 'back pages'.

Scouts Out!
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Ben Beam
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2017, 03:15:59 pm »

So when I limited my search to Delmonico I had better results, thanks for that. Del says, "As I've said many times before, wetting a hat with water is the slow way to do work on a hat and is only needed in rare cases or when working on palm leaf hats.  Use steam, anyone who owns a hat needs to own a tea kettle."

Then over on SASS Wire, Grozzly Adams says "For what you want to do, and for doing it yourself, I am not a big proponent of steam. I use it to reactivate the stiffener IF NEEDED, or to fine tune a bash. The damage done by steam in the hands of the "home hatter" is ugly to behold!
 
I would buy a nice new (clean) spray type bottle and fill it with room tempt distilled water. Spray down the hat until you get it pliable (felt will darken) and then punch it out to an open crown. (Note: You really do not need to soak the felt, just get it evenly and completely wet. Spray it down and let it soak in. Repeat as needed. You will be able to tell when it is pliable.) It helps if you have a form, but if not, use a towel as a backing and work the felt until you get as much of the old crease out as you can. Let it dry overnight. Next morning, wet it down with the spray method and then set your new bash as desired.. Do NOT use hot water, and use steam only as needed to reactivate the stiffeners. Chances are you will not need to, as a good quality stetson hat will respond very well to this method."

Apparently Grizz is respected for his hat work, although I know Delmonico is no slouch with his extensive knowledge. So you may see my confusion!

Edit: Further reading indicates that Delmonico would disagree with Grizz's assertion. Sounds like steam is the way to go.
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2017, 03:26:40 pm »

The more you shop for an answer - the more answers you'll get.

Delmonico used to shape hats for a living - not many can say that, so there are hundreds of hats he's done that someone paid him to do.

For me, that's endorsement enough.

Scouts Out!
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« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2017, 07:32:53 am »

The more you shop for an answer - the more answers you'll get.

Delmonico used to shape hats for a living - not many can say that, so there are hundreds of hats he's done that someone paid him to do.

For me, that's endorsement enough.

Scouts Out!

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Ben Beam
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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2017, 09:11:13 am »

Thanks for your help. I'll give the steam a try today.
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Professor Marvel
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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2017, 03:12:17 pm »

The more you shop for an answer - the more answers you'll get.

Delmonico used to shape hats for a living - not many can say that, so there are hundreds of hats he's done that someone paid him to do.

For me, that's endorsement enough.

Scouts Out!


DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING

aaaaaannd the winning answer is from St George! Give Him a Cigar!

(gonna have to make a sticky list of hat stuff....)

Not only did Delmonico "shape" hats for a living, he used to actually "rebuild them" . links will follow below.

I have used his methods to VERY GOOD effect.

I myself am a Hat Nut. I generally favor wide brim fedoras, and wear them daily. For CAS I had to find a hat style that passes the Spousal Lafter Test.


Mostly these hats are "felted" - that is the fibers are short and just matt together and are held kinda loosely by some sort of stickum and the natural "hooks" in the fur itself.

Any time you overly saturate a fur felt hat with too much water you are running the risk of separating the fibers.

I ruined one cheap hat by using the "dunking method". It now looks like a fur felt hat blank. I am going to have to get a proper hat block/mold and reshape it.

I myself have been acquiring collecting getting hats by haunting the flea markets and "used stuff" stores to get cheap hats for 10 years. I have amassed a pile of about  "TOO MANY HATS"

I have about 8 "good hats" all quality fur felt or quality panama leaf. I bought these at real stores and had the fur felt hats sized by the proprietor, who used STEAM.

I have about 6 or 8 "everyday hats" , good felt or cheap panama. I managed to get them all to fit with few problems, but used Del's methods. In one case I carefully wet a mishapen panama hat with mist, put it on a form,  and carefully redried it. It came out ok.

I have over a dozen fur felt stetsons I got from shops for less than $12 a pop. These I am slowly working thru to reshape or rebuild using Del's methods of STEAM and Hat Shellac.

I had a really nice, well worn, plain 4" brim fedora ( think Indian Jones), wore it every day, had a nice bone choker hatband, and some great burns where my Sharps Paper Cutter blew gas out of the breech onto the brim.

It Got stolen while at a Denny's in Taos.   Cry

I have been breaking in the 4x beaver replacement my wife got me for the last 8 years. Still working on it.

I do try to keep some hats "nice" -
the Sunday Go To Meeting 5x Stetson, The Banker Silver Belly Stetson, the Short Victorian Topper, The Bowler, and the summer "dress palm leaf hats".

elsewhere I mention:
"You may hear from any number of people such interesting things as
soak the hat in a stock tank, shower, tub, sink,  then clap it on your head, stuff it on a maniken, wig dummy ,blah blah blah.

You will also probably hear "I've soaked hats like this all my life" or  "I've done dozens of hats" blah blah blah.

Those methods probably work, kinda. And they apparently gave results the owner was happy with. but it's like putting oatmeal in your radiator instead of fixing the leak. The outcome will eventually be less harmonious....

I myself have completely redone 4 hats so far.  I have many more to do. Before I leanred from Del, I used the "soak it" method and ruined 2 . They look sort of like hats but are not anything I would wear further than mucking out the yard. I am now treating them like "hat blanks" and will start from scratch, I figure "no loss" .

A Hat Blank:



I followed Dell's tutorial and brought two 4X beaver Stetson's back to life. I removed the hatband and sweatband, resized, reblocked, reshaped and made new sweatbands, hatbands, and liners for them following Dell's tutorial. Folks who see them think they are new old stock. His instructions are a tish of work but I believe the outcome is well worth it.

I beleive it is a grand idea to follow the advise of real experts, as opposed to "shade-tree experts".
Dell did this for a living, worked with Stetson people,  and had a number of honest-to-gawd famous folks heading all the way down to the store in Nebraska just to get him to fit their hats.   When it comes to camp cooking or hats it is hard to go wrong if you listen to Delmonico."

-------------------------------------------

Making Your Hat Fit Your Head
http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=11542.0

he does mention using water in a spray bottle ( lightly)

Hat Question
http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=36118.20

Another Hat Question
http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=36391.5

Flattening a Hat Brim
http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=11520.0

 Adjusting Hat Size (Fit)
http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php?topic=710.0


BTW don't use spray starch, it screws up your fur felt. Yes, the marine DI's use it, but Marine DI's do a lot of things... not all are good. GI's also spray their boots with Women's Hair Spray ( spray Lacquer) for a fast shine. - not good for leather

yhs
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Rebel Dave
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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2017, 03:27:50 pm »

You can make "hat stiffener" from 1 part white shellac, and 3 parts denatured alcohol. Squirt it on from a pump spray bottle, after you shape your hat, over steam kettle, and get the shape you like.
Thats what we did in my western wear shop, that I had for 30 yrs. I shaped lots of hats with my hat steamer.
 Delmonico is right on about hats.

Rebel Dave
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 02:55:21 pm »

Thanks,most of what needs known has already been posted.  Ran into another former customer Sat that no longer shops at my former employer, due to no one there knowing how to work on hats.  Their loss, and the New West styles will go out and so will they.
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 04:30:25 pm »

The suggestions everyone made worked beautifully. I wasn't able to get the brim completely flat, but much better than it was. I modified the shape to something a little more appropriate (I tried just popping the top straight up in a Boss of the Plains style, but the crown is so high it looked a bit ridiculous to me eye). Not sure what to do about the hat band. Thinking about trying my hand at beading something after seeing the beautiful work others have posted.

https://imgur.com/a/tJBRG
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2017, 06:08:11 pm »

Looking good, OSB , glad it's working out.

Yes, your original thought of flat brim and punched out crown might make that hat look .... unfortunate. Dan Blocker pulled it off, but Billy Jack, not so much.

a beaded band would be awesome in the old sense!

yhs
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2017, 11:44:16 am »

I ordered a bunch of beads from CrazyCrow, including some of their vintage beads. I'm hoping mixing some of the old with the new will give it a more varied and rustic appearance without having to spend so much on beads, since I don't have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I looked at a few methods of beading, and thought a loom might be the easiest to start with. Just trying to decide whether I can get by with a short loom and then stitching the sections together, or whether I should get a long loom and do it all in one go. And of course I need to figure out my pattern.
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2017, 01:12:27 am »

From what I've seen over the years, it looks like a LOT of cowboys whizzed on their hats, tossed them into a tree and chucked rocks at 'em.
When they got tired of that, they took them down and wore them dry.


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