Jack Roberts

How to "cock" a hat.

123 posts in this topic

My first hat was a success, but I waterproofed it and it came out more of a helmet than a hat: heavy and very stiff. Also black. Not a good color in Florida. So I needed another hat.

My latest hat:

Left:

i1650AC5F-4EF0-401F-8049-82156C443C2A.jpg

Right:

i352B4B15-B2C3-4E35-B4CF-CBB65D24E854.jpg

Back:

i1FE546CB-6B70-4AFA-9953-C7DA91B87E6E.jpg

Lining:

i8DADB70E-A05B-4753-915E-E76FC84994CB.jpg

Closeup of button, a small tribute to the movie:

iFB4F3BA5-BAFA-423A-805C-65E3B2617192.jpg

The button is available from one of our own, renfairpirate.

Captain Jim,

My blank is coming tomorrow and I am delving into making my own. Can you repost your images? Thanks!

EDIT - Just got delivered at the house. Can't wait!

Edited by Captain Mickey

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I had a some difficulty steaming and shaping my hat.

I did it and had to redo it and then redo it again.

The felt is getting a bit rough now, Will waterproofing it help to make it look a bit smoother?

Would love to get some advice from anyone. I have done all the steps, trimmed, sewed an edge, now am struggling with the shaping it.

Please Help!

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By the felt getting rough you mean fuzzy? You can always take a razor (Like the one you use for your face) and gently shave the felt.

What is your method for steaming? I try to make sure I have a "stream" of steam that I can then maneuver the blank around to soften the area to shape.

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Thanks Jack.

Yes, fuzzy. Great idea on the razor. Will do.

I used a kettle on boil with the whistler open.

It seemed to me that I needed to get more of the hat "loose" so that I could get the shape that I wanted. But, by the time I did get enough of it soft, where I had started was already firming up.

Am I just being thick here?

Edited by Captain Mickey

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Thanks Jack.

Yes, fuzzy. Great idea on the razor. Will do.

I used a kettle on boil with the whistler open.

It seemed to me that I needed to get more of the hat "loose" so that I could get the shape that I wanted. But, by the time I did get enough of it soft, where I had started was already firming up.

Am I just being thick here?

The kettle would do for fine tuning, but I think Jack is suggesting an wide open pot for the major shaping.

Hope this helps.

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Thanks Jack.

Yes, fuzzy. Great idea on the razor. Will do.

I used a kettle on boil with the whistler open.

It seemed to me that I needed to get more of the hat "loose" so that I could get the shape that I wanted. But, by the time I did get enough of it soft, where I had started was already firming up.

Am I just being thick here?

The kettle would do for fine tuning, but I think Jack is suggesting an wide open pot for the major shaping.

Hope this helps.

Thanks Mickey. It does indeed.

BTW, did you ever decide on a waterproofing method? I was interested in hearing how your efforts went...

Do any of you know if there is a certain point where the felt will break down from repeated steaming/shaping? I don't want to be too much of a perfectionist and ruin the hat...

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Thanks Mickey. It does indeed.

BTW, did you ever decide on a waterproofing method? I was interested in hearing how your efforts went...

Do any of you know if there is a certain point where the felt will break down from repeated steaming/shaping? I don't want to be too much of a perfectionist and ruin the hat...

No I didn't treat it because of the time crunch for PiP... Although now that I am in the winter doldrums and have more time, I might reconsider and give it a go. I am leaning towards trying a linseed oil and denatured alcohol mix, as I have those on hand.

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Take your time with shaping the hat. Its a repeated process. Yes you will have to work fast before things cool off but multiple steamings and shaping til you get what you want. Don't be afraid to tug at things a little. (Don't gorilla it though. :) The felt is pretty resilient. You can always buy hat stiffener if it goes really floppy.

In regards to weatherproofing, I've used a shellac diluted with denatured alcohol. You do have to watch it though it will shrink the hat. (I think I mentioned my method earlier in the thread.) Also if you put a thick coat on it will make hard as a rock. And if you lose some shape to it using this method, it will take gratuitous amounts of steam and time to reshape.

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Thanks Mickey and Jack. Nice to have some voices of experience. All of these projects are a 1st for me.

I will be looking forward to trying again on the hat shaping tonight.

One last question about period.

I am debating stitches vs. hat buttons as a tie back. Which, if either is the more PC?

Again, thanks guys. I will be debuting the hat at BARF, and hopefully at Seerles Raid

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In regards to either linings or sweatbands, I think someone once mentioned that a simple linen sweatband can be sewn into the cocked hat.

I seem to recall seeing a photo example of this simple linen sweatband SOMEWHERE on this forum or online, but, like an idiot, I cannot not find it anymore.

Does anyone know of this image?

If not, can someone supply an image and/or instructions that would be rather authentic with keeping in the period of GAoP?

Thank you very much.

Tar Bucket Bill

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In regards to either linings or sweatbands, I think someone once mentioned that a simple linen sweatband can be sewn into the cocked hat.

I seem to recall seeing a photo example of this simple linen sweatband SOMEWHERE on this forum or online, but, like an idiot, I cannot not find it anymore.

Does anyone know of this image?

If not, can someone supply an image and/or instructions that would be rather authentic with keeping in the period of GAoP?

Thank you very much.

Tar Bucket Bill

Like on the First Page of the thread you are reading? :rolleyes:

There are two examples there... Sorry if this isn't the one you are thinking about.

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No, those are more the full drawstring liners.

I saw something somewhere that just showed a simple band inside the crown --- possibly linen, but I can't remember all the details now. That's why I'm looking for it. I'd like to add one correctly for my cocked hat.

I've been checking other pirate crew sites and forums and vendors specializing in hats, but have not found it yet.

I suppose I could wing it, but then I may make it incorrectly.

-Tar Bucket Bill

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Hi folks -

I bought two hats at FlaRF - One that is cocked on one side (buccaneer or privateer style), and another I plan to not cock at all. The felt is decent in thickness, though when I wore the buccaneer one at the Fest the uncocked side unfortunately started drooping (and into the bag with the other it went).

After reading the pages here on stiffening, I see several methods have been used to toughen up a hat. Hairspray, a combination of art supplies and such, starch, and even beeswax were mentioned. I'm wondering what would be best to aim for that I could do in an evening or two to not only stiffen the hats, but protect them from the elements. I should add that I hope to wear my uncocked hat to Searles with either a belt or cotton scarf added to it (ala willie wobbles or mission's hats - sort of). Gotta have something to keep the sun out of my face at least part of the time.

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I would try a diluted solution of shellac and denatured alcohol. Brush on lightly. If your just doing the brim I wouldn't worry about the hat losing any size. If you have to use some on the crown or the were the sweat band would go, use a form to keep it's size. The blank will shrink otherwise. Try not to use to much shellac mix it will be hard as rocks. Also bear in mind the brim will get floppy when you use shellac. you'll need a "form" (if you want it to stay flat just place it on a flat surface) to keep it's shape as it dries. Have fun!

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Thank you Jack...I'll give that a try.

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Thank you Jack...I'll give that a try.

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I would try a diluted solution of shellac and denatured alcohol.

I haven't tried that yet... but I also read about it on a Cowboy thread..... so it's gotta work........... :lol:

OK... I'm just being slightly silly (couldn't spell fecious....((see...)).... but I did read about using shellac and denatured alcohol when I was looking for information..... I just haven't tried it yet.....

OK.... and I don't "steam" hats.... I just use boiling water to soak the felt, and (being very careful ... it's still hot..). then I mold it....

From everything I've read... steaming is the way to do it..... but I've had good results with the boiling water..... So it may work for you.....(that's how I stretched Mission's hat.....)

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I just watched an episode of "How it's Made" and they did a short on Stetson's hats.

They said on the show that they used shellac as a stiffener for their hats. So seems to work for them, works for me. :)

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I just watched an episode of "How it's Made" and they did a short on Stetson's hats.

They said on the show that they used shellac as a stiffener for their hats. So seems to work for them, works for me. :)

Any good suggestions on better brands of shellac or should we just use whatever we can find at the local hardware box store?

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mmmmm, I'm not sure. I just used what I could find at your local big box home improvement store.

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Yeah... it sounds silly.... but Cowboys have been playin' wit their hats long 'nough ter keep the tradition o' hats goin'....(an' how ter keep 'em looki'n good)......

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OK.... and I don't "steam" hats.... I just use boiling water to soak the felt, and (being very careful ... it's still hot..). then I mold it....

From everything I've read... steaming is the way to do it..... but I've had good results with the boiling water..... So it may work for you.....(that's how I stretched Mission's hat.....)

I don't know about that. I tried the steaming method over a tea kettle and an open pot of water with no luck. I ended up with my hat blank looking like a big wrinkled mess that wouldn't fit on my head anymore. After three tries at steaming I gave up and tossed it in the bathtub full of hot water. Worked like a charm! I re-stretched it to fit my big head and formed it the way I wanted. I'll post some pics after the lining and band are installed and I harden it with the shellac mixture.

Thanks Patrick!

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Gents,

This kudos is late in coming, but I have to say thank you to everyone who help with this tutorial posting.

I had to reblock my hat just hours before an event. It really helped and I was able to get it done within hours! It looks so must better than the 'floppy' hat it once had been.

Thank you again for all your help!

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Bump! mmmm... I surprised this has been stickied?

Good point, oversight amended!

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