D Bar J Hats brings the gallantry of good old Western hospitality to hand made hat making. What we mean is D Bar J stands behind every hat that we make. If it needs to be cleaned, reshaped, or refurbished we will take care of your hat. What's more, when you buy a brand new D Bar J hat, it is custom made to not only the size but also the shape of your head. To get the shape of your head we use a conformator, this tool was used during the Civil war and we use it daily. D Bar J Hats are made the way you want it. If you saw it in a movie, have an old picture of your grandfathers hat, or can draw it on a napkin, we can probably make it for you.
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David first became interested in restoring hats while competing in Western Dance competitions. He wanted to keep his hats looking their best, so he began restoring his hats in his mother’s garage in 1988. After learning how to restore his own hats others began taking note of his handiwork and asked him to restore their hats.
As interest and demand for restoring hats increased, David began researching how to make cowboy hats. While researching the hat making process and speaking with other hatters around the country David discovered that the equipment from an entire hat making company in New York was for sale. Michael Santa Lucia immigrated to the USA around the turn of the century and began working at “True Hatters” hat shop in New York City in 1903 and bought the shop in 1909. Some of the equipment that they used in the shop dates back to the Civil War.
When Mr. Santa Lucia died in 1978 his family placed the entire contents of the hat shop into storage, where it stayed until David bought it in late1988, under the condition that it all be kept together. And for over 26 years it has. Over the years David has painstakingly restored all of the historic hat making equipment to its original state.
From humble beginnings in his mother’s garage in 1988, D Bar J quickly grew and moved into a storefront location on Spring Mountain Road in Las Vegas in 1989. The business quickly grew and flourished attracting local celebrities likes Tony Curtis to the shop. Because of the unique and historic equipment that was being used D Bar J was listed with the Clark County Museums as a historical site; David proudly gave tours of his shop displaying his 1860’s equipment.
Unfortunately in 2005 David’s health began to deteriorate, and he was forced to close down his store. His health became so bad that David tried to sell D Bar J and put his affairs in order. It was reported in one of the Western Chronicles that David had died. But, as quoted by Mark Twain, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated,” David continued to make hats when his health would allow.
Today, David and D Bar J are healthy and back to making hats in a brand new 6500-sqft facility. Continuing a reputation of high quality custom hand made hats from right here in Las Vegas, David is one of the few custom Master Hatters left in the country if not the world. Every D Bar J hat is hand made by David and his hats are shipped all over the world.
Over the years D Bar J has made hats for the Smithsonian, Charlie Daniel’s, Ben Johnson, Clint Black, and Tony Curtis to name a few. David was the only person licensed in the country to recreate Roy Rogers signature hat. It is David’s D Bar J Roy Rogers hat that is on the head of the Roy Rogers mannequin in his museum. D Bar J is also very proud that our hats were chosen and proudly worn by the greeters at the SALT LAKE CITY WINTER OLYMPICS in 2002 as covered by the Las Vegas Review Journal.