Hats are cleaned by hand. Dark hats a cleaning solvent is applied and on pastels or light hats an aerosol spray that when dry turns to powder and may then be brushed off. The cleaning process is generally repeated a couple of times or as many times until the hat is clean. Often times with hats that we have made as they are all beaver we will soak them in a tub and wash with a laundry detergent.
Blocking refers to the crown. A wooden block is is put in the crown that is the same size and oval as the crown. Then it is steamed and ironed until the old creases are all gone and crown is back to open crown shape.
Flanging refers to the brim. The hat with the wooden block in it is steamed and placed upside down in a wooden flange that is the same size and oval as the crown of the hat. Next it is ironed and then a wooden board is placed on top of the hat and placed under the sand flange. The
sand flange is a bag of sand mounted on a pole and has a heating unit. The unit is turned on and when hot pulled down on top of the hat. This breaks the crown away from the brim at a very straight angle. The hat remains there until the heat is all gone. This is also how a hat is conformed, creating a person’s head shape in their hat. Instead of using the block the formillion
with the cutomer’s head shape is used.
Normally we need to have the customer present in the hat shop or store in order to measure them with the conformer. But we have a “mail out” conformer, the customer places on their head where they wear their hat and send it back to us. The tool has the head shape in it and we calibrate and transfer that shape onto a paper template that we can use with the formillion.
We do not powder hats unless requested.
Hats with broken felt or holes may not be repaired, but through the steaming and ironing process the felt will get rejuvenated. We can also use some stiffener to increase the strength of the felt. So we can help them but at the end of the day the felt is still broken.
Brim binding helps the brim maintain it’s shape over time and is useful on old hats to help maintain the brim shape. Other than that binding is an added trimming.
The “X” system generally refers to the quality of the hat and how much beaver has been used in the felt, but it can also refer to the
trimmings used on the hat, i.e. liner, sweat band, buckle set and even the type of box. All beaver hats are the best as beaver fur in the felting process interlocks where as all other furs stack, therefore they don’t have the same strength.
We recommend when shipping hats to put them in a hat can and then put the hat can in a cardboard box.
Second choice is to ship in a hat box with the hat in a plastic bag so that moisture and dirt or fumes from delivery trucks don’t get on the hat. Insurance is a little costly, but when compared to the price of a hat it isn’t that much.