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  1. #11
    Sultan of Shovels Knight of the Round Table Weston's Avatar
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    Re: How to Make an Accurate Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Excellent thread Kurt! Keep the good stuff coming; this is exactly what we needed here.

    If anything like this existed twenty years ago, I could have saved myself a grand or so in ruined, sub-standard attempts!

  2. #12
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Shrinkage Protection / Pouncing on an Accurate Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Shrinkage Protection / Pouncing & Setting the Brim Break
    Ok, here is where we really start to make the body look like a HAT, help protect it from tapering, and give it a really luxurious feel. At this point, you’ve let the body really dry out.

    Shrinkage Protection & Pouncing Part 1.
    There are a few things you can do when it comes to protecting from shrinkage. (Except for when you find yourself in this situation



    Basically, you should think of hat shrinkage in 2 main ways; Firstly the elasticity in the felt - whether it is “primed” to contract when wet or if it has already been stretched out like a really old T shirt or overstretched elastic. Second, it’s about protection.

    (The denseness of the felt is also key, and with that you could compare say rabbit with beaver, or a high quality old rabbit felt versus the more spongy new factory hats. You also have hare and hare / rabbit blends, which essentially “look” and “act” rabbit but less prone to shrinkage. So there you’re talking Akubra, Steele & Jones. However, I’m comparing apples with apples here as you’ve already chosen your hat body and blocked it by this stage in the process.)
    Having said that, do note that because you have ALREADY just blocked the body without overstretching the felt, it already has a great start in being protected from shrinkage. In other words, because you've taken a body and basically let it shrink down to size (from say a Christys that was 4 sizes bigger), the felt has already become DENSER - you've shrunk down the little spongy air pockets, and in doing so have improved the quality of the felt just by doing that.

    So, anyway, in continuing, the way I continue to prepare the body at this point is to leave the body on the block and get out a very thin piece of fabric that you can iron at a very high temperature. Baby wraps work very well – the cotton ones you can kind of see through. Put it on your ironing board and crank your iron way up – you should have the highest wattage iron you can get, and load in about 2/3 of a tank of water, hitting the steam setting to about half. (This depends on the iron.) You don’t want to set the steam too high or the body will kind of balloon on the block because its being puffed up with air! Lay the fabric over the top, and simply iron it all over the top and into the top curves. Take your time. Let the heat as well as the steam do the work. Make sure there are no folds in the fabric that you will dent your hat with, so just keep stretching the fabric out.

    IMG_0550.jpg IMG_0551.jpg

    Turn the body / block onto its side, letting the elastic at the brim break nestle against the edge of the ironing board if that makes it easier. Resituate the cloth, and iron around the sides of the hat – again, going around the top curve a little. Do this all around – you just roll the body like a wheel, shifting the cloth to a new spot as you go.

    IMG_0552.jpg

    Let the body dry again. It will be hot and steamy, and more solidly “memorising” its shape. Give it at least 24 hours again.

    Now the fun part - whip out your trusty circular sander. Yes, you read me right. It works. It works VERY well. Plus it feels a little batshit-crazy, and you’ve gotta love that. Get yourself some good quality sandpaper in about 320 grit or so and clip a sheet of that in your sander. (Be VERY wary of going coarser.) DON’T OVERDO IT! YOU WILL TOTALLY WRECK THE BODY IF YOU SAND TOO MUCH! So be VERY aware of how much lint you are generating and use common sense on how much there is in proportion to the rest of your hat. See the pics.

    We are going to sand the hat in the same sort of manner as you just ironed it. This is going to really loosen up the fibres of the felt, like stretching out your Tshirt. So first, iron the top. Then I like to sort of see-saw the top curve, rotating the block as you do so. Then, turn the sander onto the side and ease it onto the body, allowing it to GENTLY go down to the loose brim break area. The hat should actually rotate in your hand, so let it do that. Give it a little more work around the curves, and then give it a working over with another piece of sandpaper you have got curved in your hand.


    IMG_0591.jpg IMG_0593.jpg

    At this point, the felt should be looking and feeling a little sexy. Not too much – just a little.

    So repeat the process. Hit it with the iron again, then sand it again. Reduce the grit to the 400s this time. So what you are doing it basically taking the idea of that Tshirt and stretching / shrinking it over and over until it isn’t going to want to move (shrink) any more. I normally do this 3 times. On the last time, reduce the grit to about 700. I think an Indy hat looks kind of weird any smoother than that, but whatever works for you. The earliest, most luxurious Herbert Johnson I have ever owned from about the late 40s had felt that most closely approximated about what you get in the 700 grits, so I think that’s about all you need.

    (Ignore these pics below - they're for the next post below and there was a site error).
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Gunslinger; 01-12-2013 at 10:01 AM.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  3. #13
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: How to Make an Accurate Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Marking the Brim Break.
    With the body still on the block, turn it over so you can see under the block. As you can see in this photo, there are joins where I glued the block together. The middle one is great at setting a centre axis so you don’t end up accidentally making a crooked hat later! Mark the front and back with a haberdashery pencil as indicated, and shove a pin through so you can find the same point on the top of the body at the brim break.

    IMG_0562.jpg

    Next, we need to work out how high up on the block you want to mark the line. As noted, my block is a little weird, with an additional 14mm or so extra height, so I know where I need to draw the break. I also know by making previous hats that on my size 57 head, with my particular block, I can measure over the top and reach 40.5 IIRC from break to break. From there I just through a measuring tape around the body, make sure it’s all straight and level, and draw in the brim break. Check it from every angle! Make sure it isn’t wonky. Then grab a pin, press it into and through the line, folding the felt along the break as indicated. DO that every couple of centimetres and you will have a nice, duplicated guide on each side.

    IMG_0564.jpg IMG_0566.jpg IMG_0567.jpg IMG_0570.jpg

    Flanging Part 1.
    This is the stage where if you have blocked the hat without a flange, you will really need to tighten up the brim break and get the brim all nice and flat so you can pounce it. So, back to the ironing board. I have a flange that I made. It is perfectly flat on the bottom, and fits my block plus a felt body perfectly. (Instructions on how to do that another time.)

    IMG_0571.jpg

    Check the distances again from the body to brim edge. Make sure it isn’t too short in places. If it IS, you will need to stretch those areas out as you go, and once you’ve created the break.

    Simply slide the hat body off the block and whack it into the flange upside-down. Get your iron cranking. Hit the steam and temp to full whack. This part may seem a bit scary, but it isn’t rocket science. Just make sure you line the inner edge of the flange up with the marked line around the brim break, and keep the front and back marks centred where they should be. Also, really avoid letting any of the steam jets shoot into the hat body. You don’t want to accidentally help to shrink the crown. This normally isn’t a problem, as the front of an iron normally doesn’t have steam holes for the first inch or so (that I have seen, anyway).

    I like to hold the body in place with my left thumb and forefinger either side of the “corner” of the break, throwing a cloth over my hand, and sliding the iron between the two. WARNING! BE CAREFUL! If you do this, don’t let the iron get too close or you WILL burn yourself!

    IMG_0574.jpg IMG_0573.jpg

    Read the text here moreso than the pics, which are more to give you a vibe for the angles. I couldn't take shots while using both hands to do this. Work your way around the brim counter-clockwise, “stabbing” in towards the centre. You can probably do about 2 inches at a time before you need to reset the position of your hand, pinch tight, replace the cloth, and iron the new spot flat. Obviously, check that you are true to the line, and go all the way around. You will end up with a nice flat brim. If it isn’t flat in places, fix it. If it is too short in places, hit those places with steam shots from the iron and pull them bigger before flattening them. There’s obviously only so much you can do this though.

    IMG_0575.jpg

    Set it to dry upright on the nice flat surface of the flange.

    Pouncing the Brim.
    Get the hat onto a nice clean, perfectly flat, smooth surface. Sand the surface first if need be. Make sure there’s nothing that will snag your brim like splinters or whatever. With the curved lip of the sander pointing in (to protect the brim break that would otherwise potentially be cut with the edge of the sandpaper) , start sanding. I start with 320 grit. Be careful to keep the sander LEVEL. You don’t want to end up with a brim that’s thicker at the edge than towards the body. Again, the body will want to spin around, so let it do so slowly. Always make sure you are in control with your left hand.

    IMG_0596.jpg

    Do the same with the underside, again with 320 grit. I like to rest the hat body off the edge of the work surface so the brim is sort of “seated” in place on the surface, but with the brim break ON the surface - like it's out of whack, so when you sand the underside, it's sanding PAST the brim break, so you get that perfect finish beyond the sweatband. Again, you will nuke your markings if/when you do this. Again, ensure that side edge of the bench is smooth or it will snag. The body will spin. No need to worry so much about the body while its upside down, obviously – just keep everything square and flat.

    IMG_0598.jpg

    Sometimes, depending on the felt you have used, you may need to smooth out the break itself. To do this, I just open up the brim so it’s flatter than the set 90 degree mark and, holding it in my left hand, gingerly give little sections a whack from left to right. If you do this, you will lose your marking, and will also need to give it a bit of a hand pounce, OR simply so this stage first, and then do the stuff “over” those screwed-up fibres.

    Reduce the grit down on both the body and the brim, going to about 500 then 700ish. I find it easier to do each together as it saves double-changing the sander paper.

    Option: When you are done, if you are really worried about shrinkage, give the hat a whack with protection spray. Eg stuff like this: http://www.bmaproducts.com.au/hatcare.html If you are doubly worried, hit it with this spray on the inside of the crown and shove it back on the block to dry. You can do this amongst the ironing / sanding stages if you want. The main thing is that you need to make sure it’s crammed REALLY snug and straight back onto the block if you do this. You can experiment with going nuts with this stuff, but to be honest, as long as you employ common sense in the way you look after your hat – generally keep it out of the rain where you can, it will be fine even through extreme temperature and humidity.

    So at the end of this stage, you should have a body that now looks like this to begin the next stage with:
    IMG_0629.jpg

    Next up! Trimming & Stitching in the Sweatband!
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  4. #14
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    A Great Book for Making an Indiana Jones Hat

    I meant to include this above. Great to scan through and get the low-down on how hats were made, adjusted, etc. in the old days.


    Ermatinger's Scientific Hat Finishing and Renovating Guide from 1919
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  5. #15
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: How to Make an Accurate Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Sorry guys,
    Will hopefully get back to completing this soon. Been flat out the last month.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  6. #16

    Re: Blocking the Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Man you've done alot already. Don't apologize for being too busy. We all appreciate that time in this busy world is limited. Thank you for what you have done so far.

  7. #17
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Blocking the Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Pics to come.

    Ok, where were we?

    Adjusting the Sweatband’s Size
    Before we sew in the sweatband, we obviously need to get the sweatband itself the correct size. If you’ve bought a hat a bit bigger than your actual size as suggested, you will have a sweat that’s too big for you. Ditto if you’ve bought a new sweatband.

    Assuming you are adjusting an existing sweat, note how the sweat is sewn at the back. Normally it’s some sort of zig-zag thing going on. Take a photo of it so you can replicate it later. You can also measure the distance between each hole in the stitching – eg it may be 2.5mm or so between stitches, and 3mm from the join. Check out the way the bow is tacked on and remove it for the next step.

    So what I like to do is pre-shrink the sweatband. Shove it under the tap, crank the hot water. Being careful not to burn yourself, work it into the leather. Let it run a bit then put it in a nice bright place like a window to dry out again. It will shrink as much as it’s ever going to, short of an oven. (Don’t do that – I have, and it ended… poorly.)

    Take the now-dried (REALLY dried!) sweatband and see if it fits your head. If it does, great. If not, let’s keep rolling. Cut the stitching. You will find a little thing called a ferrule in there that connects each end of either the plastic tubing or wire (reed) that helps to tension the hat into an oval. Put the ferrule in a safe place.

    Measure your head 3 times. Use that measurement and add say 2mm to it. Then carefully measure the sweat along the rolled edge. Ideally you want to cut a little off each end. Mark the points and draw a nice straight line across the band, but angle it in a couple of mm at the raw edge. In other words, when you sew each end together, it will end up about 3mm smaller at the raw edge (that rests up in the hat) compared to the rolled edge (that sits at the brim break). Cut it (NOT the reed), try it on your head like a headband, and if it’s too big, trim it down accordingly until it fits you like a glove… on your head... Ok, bad metaphor.

    With the reed, the idea is to get it as tight as you can, as it needs to help flange the sweatband out a little further on that edge beyond the brim break. (Check out a finished hat and you will see how it curves out.) So with it in the sweatband, and holding the sweatband in an oval with each end facing each-other, push one end of the reed flush to the end of the sweatband, and push the other (longer) end in as hard as you can. Trim it say 5mm longer than the sweatband, click the ferrule onto each end, and see if you can get the seat to meet itself flush. If it can’t, trim it more. Again, remember, it’s MEANT to end up with a bigger circumference at the rolled / reeded edge, so don’t overtrim.

    There are a few ways to do the next step, but this is what I do to mimic a stock Raiders era Herbert Johnson.

    First, get some Gutermann CA 02776 (Col 696) thread – it’s the closest heavy-duty match to the stitching on a Sable Raiders era HJ I have seen. With the ends of the sweat closed to each other, and the reed and ferrule in place, do one big stitch about 8mm long (IE with the holes 4mm in from each side of the join) to connect the sweat together at that one point. Loop it through about 3-4 times and knot it off.

    Raiders era HJ’s have a strip of white plastic/rubbery tape about 20mm wide taped across the ends of the sweat (10mm on each side). It has a texture of a little grid that looks like flyscreen. I guess it may be out there somewhere to buy still if you want to go really crazy. However, failing that, you can just get some thin coated white cardboard – something like a celloglazed manilla folder or even a business card works well. Just make sure you peel the coating off of one side. Cut it down to about 20mm x the height of your hat band. Then using PVA glue, coat the rough / uncoated side, and stick it like sticky tape to bridge the 2 parts of the sweat together. The ends should now be flush against each-other. You should use clothes pegs to hold them this way until the glue dries.

    Once the glue has dried, carefully stitch the thread into place in the desired pattern. HJ Raiders pattern is below. Try REALLY hard to keep your stitching straight. It looks like crap if it’s crooked, so take your time. Tie it off and it’s time to sew this sucker into your hat body.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  8. #18
    Sultan of Shovels indydude18's Avatar
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    Re: Blocking the Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Kurt, regarding pouncing, will pouncing restore original felt color from a faded hat?
    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #19
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Blocking the Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    It can do, yes. More often than not, I find that you can get a really good result for breaking out the sander!
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

  10. #20
    Grizzled Grave Robber Knight of the Round Table Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Re: Blocking the Indiana Jones Hat from Raiders

    Apologies I never finished this guide. I will return to it soon.
    "Go then, there are other worlds than these." ~ Jake Chambers

 

 
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