Felt hoods necessary for hat making are made all over the world including the United States, Czech republic, Poland, Portugal and China.
The process of manufacturing felt is complex, involving man and machine. This is a basic explanation of the technique employed to manufacture a wool felt “cone”. The first stage is to “card” the wool using a machine that combs and pulls fibres into a fluffy mass, not dissimilar to cotton wool, this material is wound onto a wooden cone, the shape and size of the cone in addition to the amount and weight of wool used determines the size, quality and weight of the cone.
The second stage is the actual felting process which uses steam and pressure to bind the wool fibres together, then the felt is rolled to consolidate and continue the felting process, the last act is carried out by a bumping machine to finally consolidate the fibres in the wool, although this machine is not always used.
At the end of these processes the wool fibres have fully bonded to each other with amazing strength. The felted hood is then dyed and stiffened to requirement.
The felt hood is stretched to a standard size and shape, it is then dried in an oven and the surface is finished to requirement. Finally the completed hood is checked for quality.
Wool Felt: Felt made from sheep’s wool.
Fur Felt: Felt usually made from rabbit, hare or beaver fur.
Peachbloom/Velour: Fur felt with a short pile velvet finish.
Melusine: Fur felt with a silky, long-haired finish.