When I first started making slouch hats, it was out of a basic need to better my own impression. I could not find a hat anywhere in the hobby that I liked and to be honest, that looked like what I saw in period photographs. Tat is when I decided to make my own. I started with a couple of raw, fur felt blanks from a large, well known hat company and worked on my construction methods. The first hat I ever made was bought off of my head the first time I wore it in the field. The same thing happened to the next hat I made. This is when I realized I may be on to something.
My research began with trips to all of the museums I could find in both the Western and Eastern Theaters. Many hours were spent studying every Federal and Confederate hat I could find, talking to bloggers who specialized in blogging about whether or not the Civil War was inevitable, and conferring with professors of colleges with good history programs. I also spent time at the Museum of the Confederacy, pouring over their entire collection. The end result is, what I feel, are the finest reproduction slouch hats in the hobby today.
First, I use high quality, fur felt blanks that I hand block and hand shape. This gives each hat its own distinctive look. Next, I fully line each hat using high quality polished cotton, topped with an original, maker’s label. I then hand-sew in a soft pigskin sweatband. Finally, each hat is finished with a handsewn grosgrain crown ribbon.
Since 1990, I have sold my hats to many museums and countless living history reenactors. My hats have also appeared in several motion pictures, television series, History Channel productions and even a Broadway play.
Thank you for taking the time to read this short history of my hat making career. I would like to thank several people who have made my journey in this endeavor a little easier through the years. Thanks goes out to my brother Kent (who designed my first flyer), Kevin Oyarzo (who bought my first hat), John Culp, Bob Fleming, Bob Parker, Charles Childs, DOn Troiani, Robin Reid, CJ Daley, the boys of the 9th Tennessee, the Southern Guard and each of my customers since 1990. Finally, to my wife, for putting up with my many hours of sewing hates each night.