The Fur...

We begin with the specific material desired to create the hat -- in nearly every case, fur felt. Felt differs from every other fabric in that it is made of thousands of short, single, animal-fur fibers, which tend to twist together when kneaded and manipulated in hot water and steam. Felt can be made into the smoothest fabric known (due to the interlocking action of the fibers) and the lightest fabric known (in relation to its tensile strength), because a minimum of fibers are required to create the necessary toughness. These factors also make felt on of the most resilient of fabrics and one of the fabrics most impervious to water, due to the close, interlocking fibers and the fact that animal fibers themselves do not soak up moisture. Felt hats can be made of either fur felt (mid to high price range) or wool felt (low price range). The best and most durable hats are made with fur felt, which is composed primarily of rabbit fur or beaver fur. Some hare fur is used to make better hats. (Nutria is a south American animal similar to a large vole or small beaver.)
Shaping, Measuring & Fitting...

Once the felt has been manufactured, there are two main steps in making it into a hat. First, the material is shaped into a large, loose cone, or hood, by repeated stretching and moistening. The hood is then shrunk and shaped into the shell, which is then turned into the finished hat some thirteen steps later.
Sweatbands...

After sanding, the sweatband is installed, a process that requires great precision. There can be no lumps or irregular lines to the sweatband; it cannot leave red marks on the customer's forehead; it should grip the customer's head just tightly enough so that the hat will stay on in a mild to medium breeze; and the band itself cannot be too thick or it will distort the set and shape of the brim and crown. The quality of the leather for the sweatband is also a very important factor. Because it is the only part of the completed hat that touches the head. It is imperative that the leather be soft, well-fitted, and absorbent, or the wearer will never fully enjoy the hat. Most hat leathers are made from Sheepskin and lambskin. These skins are imported to the United States from around the world, with the majority coming from Argentina and New Zealand.