WESA Fall 2011 a Success

October 14, 2011

Will Morgan recently finished another adventure to WESA (The Western and Equestrian Sales Association.) The trip from Seattle to Denver meant the opportunity to drive through some of the most beautiful country in the US.


Through seven states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah) the trip offered majestic scenery and plenty of wide-open spaces. The bright sunshine and wind showed the importance of having a hat. Speaking of wind, as they say in the west, if the wind stops blowing, everyone falls down!


Horses in Chico Springs, MT

Horses in Chico Springs, Montana


David Morgan WESA Booth

Our Akubra booth


David Morgan WESA Karaka Table

Akubra hats and Karaka whips out on the floor


Jim in His Territory


Jim in his Territory


On the Way to Vail

Dilon Resevoir on the way to Vail, 8,700 ft 


Utah Mountain Blocks

Near the Utah/Colorado State Line





Akubra Hats

Karaka Whips

Stampede Strings



Stampede String Video Available

September 30, 2011

For those of you who love our kangaroo leather chinstraps but don’t have hooks in your hat, you can now use a David Morgan stampede string.


Identical to our chinstraps, except for the ends, they are light and durable. A sliding knot joins together the two, four plait braids. It is ideal for both our Heritage Collection and Panama hats.


Watch the video below to for instructions on attaching the stampede string. You can also get written instructions here.







Stampede Strings

Hat Accessories






A Taste of Our Fall 2011 Catalog

August 19, 2011

The new David Morgan catalog ships in early September. While we have many exciting new products that we think you’ll like, we can’t tell you about them just yet. But we can give you a small taste.



Black Traveller


The Traveller is one of our best-selling Akubras. It’s perfect as your ‘take-anywhere hat.’ The fabric is pliofelt, a fur felt that maintains its shape. You can push the crown down to fit inside a bag or suitcase and it will return to its original shape. Remember though that the brim contains a memory insert, so you cannot roll it.


Black Traveller



Loon Cards


Our loon cards have arrived. The new version is slightly larger at five inches by seven inches. It is still printed on natural card stock. The loon’s reflection is stylized. By Marvin Oliver, whose work merges the spirit of past traditions with those of the present.


Loon Card






Traveller Hat


Relics of a Lost Art: The Conformitor

July 22, 2011

In the days when hat stores were as common as coffee shops today, most hatters reserved a part of the store for renovating and shaping hats. While ninety percent of customers could walk out the door with a pre-blocked hat, the remainder needed extra shaping. Heads can range from slightly wide or long to potato-shaped.


The shape of the hat does not come from the crown. It is actually the brim that holds the shape. For example, when we steam a hat into a long oval, we smooth out the ripple that forms from deforming the shape of the brim.


The device used to modify a hat is called a conformitor. It is made up of two parts: the conformitor and the formillion. The conformitor sits atop the head, one quarter inch deeper than where the hat would sit. This pushes the keys out in accordance with the variations of the head, which moves the pins at the top.


A piece of paper called the conform is placed at the top and pushed onto the pins. Think of the paper as a negative. When removed, it is cut just barely outside the perforated ring. Then the formillion sits atop the paper conform. Each key is loosened and pushed inward till it just touches the edge of the paper. When all the keys are in place, the thumbscrews are tightened.


The formillion is placed inside of the hat after the brim has been warmed. Warming the felt softens the felt and makes it pliable.


Once inside, a device called a tolliker is used to push at the upper side of the brim. This smoothes out the brim, which then holds the crown shape.



conformitor atop the head

The conformitor atop Will Morgan’s head.



slipping paper onto conformitor

Slipping the paper into place. The cork frame then is pressed down to get the conform. 


conformitor with paper

Close-up of the conformitor with paper. The impression is called the conform.



paper 'negative'

Paper conform trimmed around the perforation made by the conformitor’s pins



formillion aligned with paper

Formillion keys aligned with the conform. 


conformitor and formillion

Formillion and conformitor



oddly shaped heads

Conforms of various head shapes, taken from the book, “Scientific Hat Finishing and Renovating” by Henry L. Ermatinger, 1919. Many head shapes are uneven.



A Visit from Cowboy Craftsmen

June 3, 2011

We were recently honored by the visit of two highly distinguished cowboy arts craftsmen.


Alfredo Campos, from Federal Way Washington, is one of the world’s foremost horsehair hitchers. In 1999 he was honored with a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. David and Alfredo have known and encouraged each other for a very long time. Alfredo provided a quirt or two for our old Ballard store.


A couple of weeks ago Alfredo brought his Argentinian friend, Pablo Lozano to our new location in Bothell. He was accompanied by translator and Floridian cowboy Domingo Hernandez.


Pablo learned much of his craft from Luis Alberto Flores of Buenes Aires whom David had corresponded with from 1966 until recently. Luis Flores had hosted Bruce Grant in Argentina and taught him techniques which appear in the Encyclopedia of Leather and Rawhide Braiding. Pablo showed us a braid (using kangaroo leather!) that Bruce Grant had not documented in his book.


Pablo is a member of the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association.


We had an excellent time exchanging braiding tips and looking at the gaucho’s amazing work.


You can get some idea in the photographs below the patience and skill invested in creating these beautiful pieces.


Below, Alfredo’s hitched horsehair work:


Alfredo hitched horsehair belt

 Alfredo hitched horsehair belt

Alfredo hitched horsehair belt

Hitched horsehair belt (three sections of the belt)

 Alfredo hitched horsehair hat band

Hitched horsehair hat band

 Alfredo hitched horsehair quirt

Alfredo hitched horsehair quirt

Hitched horsehair quirt


Domingo and David

Domingo and David


Domingo, Pablo, David and Alfredo

Domingo, Pablo, David and Alfredo


Meagan, David and Pablo

Meagan, David and Pablo


Below, Pablo’s rawhide work. The colors are obtained from coffee or walnut shells.

Hatband, eyeglass holder and lanyard


Hatband, eyeglass holder and lanyard



Knife handle wrap and scabbard

Reins with quirt end


Reins with quirt end





Braiding Leather

Kangaroo Lace

Photos from Our WESA Trip

October 29, 2010

Last September, Will and Mike attended the WESA (Western and English Sales Association) convention in Denver.  The western market is broad and varied, covering everything from horse tack to rhinestone studded shirts.  WESA is an opportunity for vendors and small shop owners to get together twice a year.  For us, it was a chance to present Akubra hats and Karaka whips. 


Since this was our first show, we didn’t know what to expect.  But everyone was very welcoming and cordial.  We met attendees from all over the world. 


Some may not know this, but David Morgan is also the distributor of Akubra hats and Karaka whips to the North American market.  We sell to retailers throughout the country.  Our goal is to give as many people as possible the chance to put an Akubra on their head and crack a Karaka before buying.


Though Mike and Will were kept busy inside of the Denver Merchandise Market, they managed to get out into the hills to surrounding sites.



Prairie Dogs all about town.



The Chatauqua Historical Center in Boulder.  One of the earliest educational centers, it is now a hotel and restaurant.



Mountain Wildflowers.



Aspen grove in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.



A surly elk in Estes Park.



Mount Rainier.  Almost home

The New David Morgan Catalog Is Out

September 24, 2010

Our Fall/Winter 2010 catalog is now out. For those who haven’t yet received a copy, it should arrive within the next week or so. If you would like to request a catalog, you can do so here.


And of course you can always shop online. We have several new items including hats, scarves and jewelry. Below is just a sample of the many items available.


We now carry Begg scarves from Scotland. Since 1869, Begg has produced some of the world’s finest woolen scarves.



From Boma, the bright face of this Frog Trivet will warm any kitchen. Also available in a salmon design.






A perfect complement to your fall wardrobe, this Ivy Cap is made of 100% Merino wool with a water repellent finish.


For any questions on any of our items, don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 324-4934.  We’re open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm Pacific Time.



We Are Now on Facebook

August 20, 2009

David Morgan would like to invite you to our new Facebook page.  Not only will you be able to read our blog, but we have posted additional pictures.  If you sign up as a fan, you’ll  receive notices regarding our products.  We will also post videos for hat care and hat bashing.

For those who enjoy reading our regular blog, don’t worry.  We will still be here.

Click here for our Facebook page.

Country of Origin Flags on the David Morgan Website

July 9, 2009

Are you curious about the origin of our products?  For many of our items you will see a flag in the upper right hand corner, just opposite the price.  If you click on the flag, you will be directed to a list of all of our products made in that country.


For many customers, finding products made in the USA is a priority. For those who are interested in an authentic Panama Hat, it is convenient to see immediately that our hats are made in Ecuador.  If you need a gift from another country, check the list of countries on the side navigational pane.


Here is a partial list of products made in the USA:


Geier (Gloves & Moccasins)

Larry Knapp (Belts)

Welch (Suspenders)

Oomingmak (musk ox products)