How a Smithbilt hat is made
Smithbilt hats are made from either wool or fur felt. We source this felt from selected manufacturers throughout the world. We fashion Smithbilt felt hats in our Calgary factory, using time-honored processes and tools.
1. Selecting the felt
For every hat, there is the perfect felt. Our felts are made by craftspeople across the world. Each produces material of a unique texture and quality. They manufacture hat bodies to our specifications of color, weight and composition.
When we have the right felt, we select one of our hundreds of classic hardwood hat blocks – the forms that define the size and crown shape of the finished hat. We place the felt body over the block, then steam and press it in a blocking machine.
3. Fur Hat Requirements
The fur hats are allowed to dry on the block for approximately a week, then sanded to achieve a smooth finish.
4. Die and saddle
To create the hat’s unique Smithbilt style, we further press the blocked body in a hydraulic machine using a die and a saddle. It is important to note that on all grades of hats 10X and higher these hats are hand shaped to the customer’s specifications rather than using the Dies and saddles.
5. Crafting the brim
After the blocking process we jam block the hat to flatten the brim and maintain consistent sizing, the edges are then trimmed with a brim cutter to the specific size required. The hat is then steamed and placed in a flange to gain the required shape, some hats require hand shaping for a specific requirements of the customer. Brim shaping is a fine art, and takes a well-trained eye.
Once the hat is fully formed we hand-stitch the sweatband, lining and band, creating the distinctive Smithbilt finishing touches.
7. Cleaning and inspection
Finally, the Smithbilt hat is carefully cleaned and inspected. If it’s not perfect, it’s back to Step One.
8. Packing before it is shipped
The Smithbilt hat is doubly protected, first in a protective bag and then in a specially constructed hatbox.