East Texas craftsman keeps the art of handmade hat making alive

Now Thats East Texas
 
East Texans take great pride in their choice of cowboy hat. One local business owner is making sure the art of hand crafting their headgear, stays alive. 
 
Though it was the only way to make a hat back in the late 1800s, nowadays most cowboys hats are made by machine. Very few places in Texas continue to make hats by hand. But, one oasis in East Texas is making sure the craft continues to shin in the Piney Woods. 
 
For more than three decades Mike Helms has been hand-making cowboys hats. Learning from an Austin company, he brought the art to East Texas. 
 
“A lot of them say they make hats, but they use these fancy machines. I don’t do that. I do it all by hand. The old way. Which I think is the best way,” explained Helms. 
 
He started making hats at his family’s business, C&C Western Wear. When it was time, his parents turned the business over to him. Helms then transformed it into a hat making facility. 
 
Using tools and techniques from the 1800s, Helms does everything in house. 
 
From the forming, to the sanding, to the steaming, every hat comes with a personal touch. 
 
“Instead of just going into a store and buying a hat off the shelves, you get a personalized hat just for you,” Helms said. 
 
Click here to find out more information about Mike’s Custom Hatters

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