Hi Everybody,

i personally use rabbit fur felt hatbodies to make hats. Those i stiffen before blocking with (i think) a solvent stiffener. I mix the stiffener and a thinner together in ratio 1:1.  It smells really chemically but does a good job. I also looked for alternative more biological ways to stiffen felt hats, but couldn t find something convincing. Anyone experience with bickmore kahl hat stiffener?

So my question is: do beaver fur felt hats also have to be stiffened? I heard that those beaver/hare mixtueres have so much oil in it that they keep shape and have not to be extra stiffened. Those hatbodies are more expensive but if they don‘t have to be stiffened it would be an interesting choice.

Is that right? 

I am glas for any information. Here in the german area, hat making supply and information is hard to get.

Regards from South Germany.


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All felts are manufactured with some stiffening content and best way to maximise that is with plenty of steam penetration. If you have viewed such happening in factories with commercial steamers they then require less stiffening as commercially that is so time & labour consuming. We can not purchase such in Australia so have no experience with beaver felt but I suggest you buy one and steam well before blocking to test = if it saves time stiffening & all the toxicity of solvent stiffener I would certainly use beaver felt I do hope someone else can advise from experience -Best wishes Elaine  

Hi Elaine,

thank you very much for answering in detail!

So if the fur felts are prestiffened i will try next time with extra steaming and ironing to get a stiff shape. I also will try new manufacturers with maybe better qualitiy.



hello, this interests me as well. I am trying different method but it leaves the murky white residue. What chemical or solvent are you using? Thank you.

Hi Catherine,

i think i am using the ‚classic‘ chemical stiffener with an extra solvent liquid i mix into it in ratio 1:1. 

I guess it is one of those stiffeners you cannot order oversea because they aren‘t allowed to be shipped in foreign countries. Luckily here in Germany i can order one inland. It is at the moment the only one i can get. Maybe i will try shellac in future, because this might be more ‚natural‘ and quite easy to handle and cheap. But i haven‘t get information yet about stiffening power and if shellac leaves traces upon the felts. 

How did you stiffen your felts till now?



Johnny Van-

The title of this post piqued my interest as we hunt and have many, many hides and pieces of hides that we would be willing to part with at a reasonable price. Would you be interested in elk, deer, wild boar as well as beaver hides? I bet we could even part with a badger hide - maybe.

Let me know either here or at my email address txprowriter@gmail.com. Maybe we could work something out!




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