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How many Xs in your cowboy hat?


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I'm planning to buy my first cowboy hat soon, and all my research thru the old threads says that one should NOT skimp on money and buy a cheap felt hat, because when it rains, your cheap felt hat will fall apart ("melt" LOL) and dye will run down all your face. I suppose that warning may be an slight exaggeration, but I assume there's a good bit of truth there too. So with that in mind...

How many Xs make a decent quality felt hat?

I've read some people think a decent quality hat must be AT LEAST 4X. Others mentioned 6X and 10X.

I'd love to gather several opinions in one thread.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

W.B.

 

 

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Well the number of X's doesn't mean a whole lot any more, though the more the better supposedly.  My best hats are 3X, never had more X's.  One has been fine for 20 years, the other for 15 or so.

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The more X's the more $'s, so I have to let my wallet be my guide. FWIW I have shot in the pouring rain and have not experienced any of the problems you mentioned, and my hats are relatively cheap. My favorite 2 say" XX fur blend" inside.

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There is no set rules as to what an "X" is so a 2X for one maker could be a 10X for another maker.  I have a Steson that I bought around 1980 that is a 2X that has years of wear in rain, snow, and sun.  It looks used but still has it's factory shape and I still wear working with the horses.  I also have a hat that is 100% beaver/water rat that had 1 1/2" of rain on it in about an hour that did not soak through.  Most hats will keep their shape but will soak through. letting your head get wet and the dye could run.  I would say get the best hat you can and forget the X's.

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I like water/rain "reshaping" my hat. Makes it seem more... real.

 

3x. 5x. 10x.

 

My good old standard is a Stetson Boss of the Plains in 0 x.

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Wow. Sounds like maybe I should search eBay for an old 1980's era 2x-3x Stetson!

 

On a side note, I stumbled upon this glorious photo of what I would consider a holy grail (looking) cowboy hat, originally posted and owned by SASS member J-BAR and seen HERE. I am totally in love with this hat, authentically broken-in and obviously well loved. This is my goal. LOL

 

W.B.

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As always, it depends on your budget.  I have hats from a few different makers.  My favorite in the "Crappy" line from D Bar J.  Very high quality hats that are essentially "2nds".  And, for what you get, a very reasonable price.  https://www.dbarjhats.com/

 

I have 2 D Bar J hats, and they get the most use.

 

Doc

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"Modern high end cowboy hats are still made with beaver felt. Just how much beaver fur is in the mix of a modern beaver hat is a trade secret. The Stetson Hat Company may have been the first makers to use an “X” designation to represent felted fur formulas as early as 1904. In modern markets, there is no reliable quality comparison using the listing of “Xs” on a felt hat’s sweatband. Among hats made by the same manufacturer, however, the number of “Xs” on various models in their line suggest higher beaver content, quality and price within that company."

 

So, It is not the number of X's in your hat that is important.  It is the number of X's in your videos.

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My everyday hat is a 10X Stetson. My owner's hat is a 100X which is befitting a place with our acreage and 1874 era. My 10X is about sixty years old. It never leaks and has held its shape. It did get really filthy. I  just had it cleaned in March. It looks really good. My big deal owner's hat is pristine because it has very rarely left its hat box.  ;)

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I just recently took delivery of a Lil Grizz Ranchero, and it's the FIRST cowboy hat I've owned that actually FITS. Turns out my head is an EXTRA long oval, not just a long oval. I've been suffering ill-fitting hats for decades not knowing any better. Working off my measurements and a photo of my head Grizz made me a hat that fits like the proverbial glove for the price (about $225 delivered) of an off-the-rack hat.

If you've got the time and budget go custom-made. I'm certain there are other fine hat makers out there, if you're interested in a Lil Grizz you can find him on Etsy. I've already ordered a second one from him. You can expect to see the headache-inducing  Stetsons  I've been jamming on my head for sale in the "classifieds".

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7 hours ago, Philosopher said:

I just recently took delivery of a Lil Grizz Ranchero, and it's the FIRST cowboy hat I've owned that actually FITS. Turns out my head is an EXTRA long oval, not just a long oval. I've been suffering ill-fitting hats for decades not knowing any better. Working off my measurements and a photo of my head Grizz made me a hat that fits like the proverbial glove for the price (about $225 delivered) of an off-the-rack hat.

If you've got the time and budget go custom-made. I'm certain there are other fine hat makers out there, if you're interested in a Lil Grizz you can find him on Etsy. I've already ordered a second one from him. You can expect to see the headache-inducing  Stetsons  I've been jamming on my head for sale in the "classifieds".

 

Thanks for the tip, Philosopher. Is there a website?

 

EDIT: Found it on Etsy. Thanks!

 

W.B.

Edited by Wade Butcher
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1607176833906335747208.thumb.jpg.a45c9b6ac459da15459c3b585cb95366.jpg1607176954626-603383462.thumb.jpg.ebaadcde325311fe2190933c49c68bb6.jpg

 

that being said I bought it used off ebay for less than 20 bucks and reshaped from a cattleman crease cause a cattleman doesn't suit me.

 

I figure it's a decent grade hat based on 30 years of wearing wool hats in one form or another but it's not my grandpa's Stetson 10x either.

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I have 4 hats, all are either 3X or 4X, they've held up over the years but of course I only wear them at shoots. I try and wear a different hat at every shoot.

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I have a lot of hats from a lot of different makers. Some were cheap and some were custom and very expensive. I have a $400+ dollar custom hat from one of the big CAS hat makers that just sits in the box. When I ordered it it seemed right, but it is just not "Me". I even have two of my Grandfather's  Stetson hats but they are much too small for me. However the 1943 Martin D-18 guitar fits just fine.  My favorite hat came out of a huge box of used hats that were all crammed into the box in a store in Santa Fe, NM. Must have been 75-100 old used hats in that big wooden box. The store looked like a cross between a pawn shop, antique store and artsy fartsy shop. The guy running the place said he owned the ranch next to Founder's Ranch. He said that he supplied hats for all the extras on movies sets that filmed in the area. Claimed that he made a good deal of money from that, and that was why he had the big box of hats.... he would gather them up from all over the place just to re-block and sell to the Movie Extras. Said they would pay a big price for the hat because it was their little claim to fame from wearing in the movie.  Anyhow he looked me over and then dug around in the big box pulling out several hats. He finally settled on a wadded up old Silver Belly/Gray  "Miller Bro's" hat. He suggested it was about 40-50 years old... don't know, could have been a story. He went to steaming it, forming it, would put it on my head and pull it down then do it all some more. After about 30 min he put it on my head, cocked it to one side for "Attitude", and said that's you. I looked in the mirror and sure enough, it was "Me". Best looking hat I own, fits like a glove, makes me feel special when I wear it. When the right hat hits you head, you'll know it.

 

Snakebite 

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My Resistol 4X beaver has held up well. Not too much rain though. Got it  for $50 off E-Bay. Also check Goodwill online, saw quite a few there but not my size.

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Only got one X ,,,, and She better Not be messing with my Hat !!! <_<

 

Fit and Construction have at least as much bearing on comfort and durability as A lot of X's..

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Most hats are “felt”. There are cloth hats, straw hats, leather hats,  palm leaf hats, and even plastic and styrofoam hats!!  

 

Felt hats are made from wool, beaver, rabbit, and nutria, (a large rodent) fur.  The process that creates the hat material is called felting.

 

 The best known “felter” in the states is Winchester which is located in southeast Tennessee.

 

Winchester produces hat “bodies” in three grades. 100% beaver felt, 50% beaver/50% rabbit felt, and what is called “standard” felt that is mostly rabbit.

 

All hat bodies start out as a rough, cone shaped body. This is usually rough shaped into what looks like a crude, floppy hat shape which is then blocked and sanded into an open crowned, (round top) hat with a flat brim. Most often, the blocking produces one of three types of head shape, round, oval, and long oval.

 

Then the hat is “shaped” to suit the customer, either by one of the major hat companies who make Stetson, Resistall, Bailey, and others, or by one of the “custom” hat shapers who often vend at major shoots or those a little larger who have stores or online operations.

 

 The “X”s mean different things to different makers. There isn’t an established rating system.

 

If it’s possible, one should ask the seller what their particular rating represents.

 

As a general rule, the higher the beaver fur content, the better quality the hat.  A good 100% beaver felt hat should last a lifetime or two provided it isn’t burned, cut up, or intentionally otherwise damaged.  Most good hats can be cleaned, reshaped/blocked, and re-trimmed over and over.

 

 

 

 

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Stetson and Resistol are are both made in the same Factory here in Texas just down the street from me...

Mine came from the Factory Store there, I have Stetson's and Resistol's.  20 X and 10 X and a Straw plus one $10 Felt that was on the "Sale" table....

 

They will take a Blank, fit it to your noggin and shape it to whatever style your Heart Desires while you watch.... It's pretty Neat!

 

 

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Depends on the look you want but Akubra makes some very traditional styled hats more like what was actually worn prior to 1900.  It is exceptionally good felt that will hold up to years of hard use outdoors and shrug off SAA matches.

 

XXs?  As mentioned mean nothing these days.  A 100% beaver hat is a working tool and a fashion statement that will last several generations if taken care of.  Good ones can still be had for under $500 in any style/size/shape you want.

 

I make 100% beaver cowboy hats for beaver blanks.  I wear one outdoors almost every day.   If I was buying my first cowboy hat I'd find a  Akubra you like.   I'd do that even if you could afford a 100% beaver hat.    The Akubra is not the cheapest hat or the most expensive you'll find.   But you won't hurt it in the rain and you sure won't wear it out!      Your first cowboy hat may be your only cowboy hat.  Worth buying a decent one that will last.  If your first cowboy hat isn't your only cowboy hat in the future a custom 100% beaver hat is one of the few hats that will better a Akubra.  Good luck!

 

Edited by levi littleton
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When 'Brims & Trims' were in business, they set me up with two 100x hats.

 

They said that each hat took about 7 beavers to make (dang, them beavers were busy).

 

..........Widder

 

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Widder I'm sure glad you got your hat from the 'Brims & Trims'. I ordered a hat form them at EOT one year. When I got it after a long wait ( I understood that it took a while to get a custom hat) it was not the style I wanted nor did it fit. Called them and they said send it back and would fix it. Well, that was about 10 years ago and never got the hat back. I lost about $350 on that deal. The only time I have been stiffed by one of venders.

 

Rusty Cuffs

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My hat is pure palm leaf, no chubacabras were harmed in making this hat. Actually it is very comfortable, and stand up to rain fine.

 

Imis

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On 12/4/2020 at 11:31 PM, Philosopher said:

I just recently took delivery of a Lil Grizz Ranchero, and it's the FIRST cowboy hat I've owned that actually FITS. Turns out my head is an EXTRA long oval, not just a long oval. I've been suffering ill-fitting hats for decades not knowing any better. Working off my measurements and a photo of my head Grizz made me a hat that fits like the proverbial glove for the price (about $225 delivered) of an off-the-rack hat.

If you've got the time and budget go custom-made. I'm certain there are other fine hat makers out there, if you're interested in a Lil Grizz you can find him on Etsy. I've already ordered a second one from him. You can expect to see the headache-inducing  Stetsons  I've been jamming on my head for sale in the "classifieds".

I would highly second LiL Griz to make you a hat, I really liked the hat that Robert Duvall wore in the movie Open Range took a few close up still pics with my cell phone of Duvall wearing it from the movie and sent it to Grizz along with a measurement of my head size and in a couple months had a great copy of the hat and it fit like a glove, I’m wearing it in my profile pic. The hat is rugged, durable and really holds its shape very well rain or shine.  SCJ

 

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20 hours ago, Rusty Cuffs said:

Widder I'm sure glad you got your hat from the 'Brims & Trims'. I ordered a hat form them at EOT one year. When I got it after a long wait ( I understood that it took a while to get a custom hat) it was not the style I wanted nor did it fit. Called them and they said send it back and would fix it. Well, that was about 10 years ago and never got the hat back. I lost about $350 on that deal. The only time I have been stiffed by one of venders.

 

Rusty Cuffs

 

Rusty,

The folks at Brims & Trims ran into some trouble that no one coulda seen coming, and everything terminated rather abruptly.   They were very good while they lasted.  I've got one of their 100X hats and a 7X.   

 

The best deal in hats right now is DbarJ, 50% off, while the COVID shutdowns are in place.  They're just trying to keep his employees working and receiving a paycheck.  Bought a real nice 100X for $280

Edited by McCandless
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Akubra is an Australian Hat maker & I believe they use mainly Rabbit fur in their Hats.

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1 hour ago, Silver Sam, SASS #34718L said:

Akubra is an Australian Hat maker & I believe they use mainly Rabbit fur in their Hats.

 

True on both counts.  Where do you think D-J gets their fur felt?  Only  one place in the US still felting beaver and that is Winchester in Tenn.  Everyone that wants beaver be it  D-J or me buys beaver from Winchester.    If you know a thing of two about felt  you realize that there is a difference between some folks rabbit and other folks rabbit.   Beaver as well, when you get a 20% beaver hat mixed with rabbit and "other fur" or a 50% beaver hat mixed with rabbit or a 100% beaver hat.

 

There is wool felt.  Which is junk no matter who makes it.  But it is also generally cheap.  There is "fur felt" which  is generally a mix of wool and rabbit.  There is fur felt that is 100% rabbit.  And there are rabbit and beaver blends.   Finally, 100% beaver.  Beaver can be broken down to beaver and "belly beaver" as well.  Or beaver and exotic blends of cashmere and the like with beaver.

 

If the felt didn't come from Winchester, Tenn. it likely came from South America, Mexico or Eastern Europe.     

 

I've made a good many 100% beaver hats and wear one most every day.    I've also worn Akubra hats enough to highly recommend them.   Akubras are without a doubt tougher and more durable than most anyone's generic 10 to 30x.  felt (once again, Xs means nothing these days).      

Edited by levi littleton
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