The Hatsmith - Cowboy up!

If you mosey down Ortiz St. - just behind the Hotel St. Francis and Inn of the Governors, you'll find THE HATSMITH. Step inside and you'll be greeted by JD Noble, sporting one of his custom, handcrafted fur-felt hats and lookin' pure cowboy.

Photos by C. Whitney-Ward

JD  and partners Art & Fran Sundheim opened the shop a year and a half ago and although it's the new kid on the block,  the workmanship and ethic is Old Santa Fe.

S O M E   O F   T H E   B E A U T I E S

Intricate hand-beading by Artist Gayle Green turns a
custom hat into a work of art.

And then there are the exquisite silver hatbands by legendary silversmith Jimmy Begay Jr., who dropped by to model  his latest concho bands.

All JD's hats are custom built to fit a client's head and the process is fascinating.
The 'star' of the show is his coveted 1880's CONFORMATEUR - originally
used by the French to make wigs.

This beautifully-made instrument is placed on a clients head allowing sixty ebony ribs to push out, forming the circumference of the client's head.  A small white card, slipped into the lid, records the exact shape of the head.


"You curve and create lines that are pleasing to the eye," explains JD.

He steams the hat to loosen the sizing and then shapes the crown and irons the rim.

"When it dries," says JD, "it will have a memory for the crease and it will
 hold its shape perfectly."

Then the paper template is inserted into another antique instrument -

Wooden pegs are pushed against the edge of the template and the
 shape is locked with a built-in vice

The flip side of the formillion is placed into the hat and shaping and
adjustments made to create a perfect fit.

"It satisfies all my creative needs," notes JD, who wanted to be a sculptor and ended up  'sculpting' hats." It makes people happy when you place a perfectly-fitting hat on their head."

T H E   H A T S M I T H
228 Ortiz Street - Santa Fe, NM

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1 comment:

  1. Does anyone know how to reach JD Noble? He is no longer in business and his phone number has been disconnected. I have sent him numerous emails with no response. I paid for a gift certificate in the amount of $350 and he closed up shop before the hat was picked up. I either need the hat or I want my money back. Any information would be helpful.
    Casey Adams
    (806) 745-9718