How to Stiffen Wool Felted Hats


0:05 hi I'm Eric Watson at Watson's hat shop

0:08 in Cave Creek Arizona here at Watson's

0:11 hat shop we make fine tailored custom

0:14 hats built to any style today I'm going

0:18 to show you how to apply a stiffener to

0:22 a wolf felt hat so first thing we do is

0:26 we have our solution here it's a special

0:30 Greg commercial hat or shellac and we

0:33 use a brush and we dip it in there and

0:36 just want to get get it on there but not

0:39 too much and then we take the hat and we

0:43 actually will apply it here to the felt

0:46 and by doing so this will tighten up the

0:53 barbs in the wool felt because wool does

0:59 lose its rigidity over time unlike

1:01 European hair rabbit fur felt and your

1:04 higher end hat such as pure beaver fur

1:07 felt or even beaver blend for felt hats

1:10 that they hold their Virginian shape

1:11 very well wool does not hence why a wool

1:15 hat is usually a lot less expensive than

1:18 a fur felt hat so what makes the Hatters

1:24 shellac work is that it acts as a

1:26 catalyst on the microscopic Barb's of

1:30 the wool and helps those Barb's to

1:34 tighten up again and interlock into each

1:37 other and that's what adds to the

1:39 rigidity of the the Hat from there we

1:44 have to let it dry after we've let it

1:46 dry it will take you know anywhere from

1:48 an hour to a few hours to paint on the

1:50 region that you're in and and then we'll

1:54 move on to the second process from there

1:56 okay now that our Hat has dried from the

2:01 hash Lac that was applied earlier we can

2:04 go ahead and finish off this process of

2:06 stiffening the felt by applying heat

2:10 very hot heat with a steam iron

2:13 which will activate the shellac in the

2:18 body of the Hat and by doing so will

2:24 tighten up the barbs and the wolf felt

2:38 so we want to spray a little bit of

2:40 water on there so that the felt stays

2:43 cool and we're just going to apply a

2:47 little bit of heat and steam and we'll

2:53 let that cool down and as soon as that

2:56 cools down the the fibers and the felt

2:59 will be warmed up and and well they

3:02 won't be warmed up they'll be tightened

3:03 up and from there we'll shape the Hat

3:06 later on so once again that is how you

3:10 add stiffener to a wolf felt hat and I'm

3:15 Eric Watson from Watson's hat shop thank

3:17 you

3:23 you