24 Frames

S11 E6 | FULL EPISODE

Boots and Hats

Get a behind the scenes looks at the craft of hat and boot making.

AIRED: November 13, 2018 | 0:26:03
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

relaxed electronic music

- I am Jared Coffelt,

owner of Flint Boot and Hat Shop,

here in Lubbock, Texas.

This location has been a boot shop

for at least 40 years.

When I started working here,

I started working in the boot shop,

and then they started teaching me

more and more stuff in the hat shop,

to the point where I kinda became

the head of the hat shop for a time,

while I was still in college.

As I got close to the end of my college days,

then the opportunity kind of presented itself

for me to take over the shop, as a whole,

and take over ownership.

You know, while we do a lot of the same techniques

and you do some of the same motions every day,

what you're working on is different,

and the final product is different,

it seems like, every day, and so

just seeing something go from a raw material

to a final product, that's really what drew me in

to wanting to continue this and to build on this.

So, someone comes in,

they may or may not have any idea what they want,

but one of the first things

and one of the most important things that we do

is get the measurements of their head,

so we can get the exact measurement around their head,

where they wanna wear the hat.

We create a pattern from all those measurements,

we build a wooden block

the size and shape of their head.

And then after that, then it becomes a little bit,

the ball is in their court just a little bit.

They've gotta decide what they want.

We've got lots of display hats that we can look through

and pictures, and some people will bring us pictures

of hats that they've seen or that they used to own

or that family members owned, or friends,

and they want us to recreate that.

Or they want parts of this, and parts of this,

and they wanna combine that,

and so we're able to create that design with them.

It's far from just your big brim 10-gallon cowboy hat.

It's more and more of the shorter brim,

Fedoras, and Bowlers, and gambler-type hats,

kinda coming back to popularity.

Whether it's the older guys

wanting to recreate those hats

that they had back in those days,

or even the younger guys, college kids, and women,

and people who wanna do that type of style,

as fashion trends and styles, they always circulate,

and you can't find those hats anymore

because those big name brands

don't build the same hats that they used to.

We're able to, like I said, because we have so many options,

we can recreate a lot of those hats in our brand.

We can get you fixed up with just about

whatever you can dream up.

Once we have the design in mind,

or at least the basics of the design,

we get the felt, we get just a raw piece of felt.

It looks maybe a little bit like a hat.

It's got a little bit of shape to it,

as far as a crown and a brim,

but it's just a raw, rough piece of felt.

We will then block it to be the correct size,

and use some of these old machines

that will iron out that crown,

to create just a real smooth shape of the crown,

the height, the size, and then from there,

we'll iron out the brim, to create a flat piece,

to really create that break line

where the crown and the brim meet.

After that, you've got to finish out that felt.

We do a lot of that by hand.

It's finished out to go from

that rough piece to a smooth soft finish.

So then we sew the sweatband into the hat,

and pretty much every process that we can do by hand,

we do by hand here, 'cause we have then

complete control over every aspect of it.

(gentle country guitar music)

And once that's all completed,

then they'll come in,

we make sure everything fits just the way they want,

then we'll crease it up, to whatever shape they want.

Everything we do there is by hand.

Every finished product is a little different.

I don't know that I've ever had two hats

that looked exactly the same,

(chuckles) even for myself.

So it's just a fun ending,

that everything is very personal.

Everything is completely custom-designed by the customer,

and finished out till they are

happy with that final product.

Yeah, there is between,

I say between five and eight working hours

in any one hat.

And that's very dependent upon the felt.

Because every piece of felt is different.

Other than that, there is just the matter

of dealing with these old machines,

and that these aren't machines

that are manufactured anymore.

Like, these are machines from

I couldn't even tell you when.

They are from the early 1900s, probably,

and when you have some issues there,

you can't just go down to the store

and pick up a part.

You've got to figure out what it is,

and make sure that you're doing it right,

because these machines are so important to the job,

but also that you can't just go and replace them.

So if we do have to spend a little extra time,

most customers are very understanding of that.

Location has been very nice for us.

You know, there's lots of Western stores, sure,

but there's not a lot of hat makers.

We've got a pretty wide stretch of land,

and land that's covered with people

that are kind of our perfect, ideal customer.

Lots of ranch land out here,

and lots of small towns,

and people that still wear boots and hats every day.

And so it just kinda creates that perfect storm

and really has let our business continue to flourish.

(lazy bass-heavy guitar music)

- I'm Brad Glenn, the owner and custom bootmaker

of BG Leather Shop and Custom Boots.

here in Lubbock, Texas.

I bought this boot shop out,

and then learned to build boots from a guy

by the name of John Higdon in Amarillo, Texas.

Took a two week course

and built two pair of boots,

then started taking orders,

and business has been great

since I stepped out and started doing it on my own.

To get a pair of custom boots made,

first you've gotta come in.

You come in and you get measured,

you step down on this manila envelope right here,

and I measure the ball, the lower instep,

and then your heel measurement.

If you can't wear a pair of store-bought boots,

we can build you a pair.

So you pick out your colors,

and the good thing about custom boots is,

you can make 'em as wild and crazy as yow want 'em,

and really detailed, or you can come in

and you can get one row of stitching

and whatever toe and heel you want to have,

and however high you want,

or however short you want.

So then when you give me all that,

we can put your initials in it,

we can put a brand in it,

we can put a logo, a Tech sign, an A&M sign,

a Longhorn sign.

I would rather not put them in it,

but go Red Raiders, you know?

(thrumming guitar music)

And then we can put collars around the top,

decorative stuff, we can do whatever you want.

We can put as many rows of stitching as you want.

The more rows, the more my art starts to come out.

I always like it when somebody comes in and says,

"I want to do five to 10 rows,"

because that's when it gets really cool,

and it gets really detailed,

and shows the ability that I have at the sewing machine.

On a good pair of custom boots,

that is not detailed and nothing with roses or lilies on it,

or no big inlays, you're looking at five to seven days

is where I'm usually at.

This boot shop is not only just a boot shop,

but it's more of a ministry.

I had a drug and an alcohol problem,

and got the chance to go to Teen Challenge and sober up.

When I left Amarillo, Texas,

I left out of Amarillo, Texas with this boot shop,

a pick up, and a dog, and part of my clothes.

And I was headed to Teen Challenge,

which Teen Challenge is a faith-based rehab.

It's a 12 month program and when I was down there,

God give me a vision of my boot shop,

and my boot shop now is built off of

Psalms 119:105, which is,

"I am a lamp to your feet, a light to your pathway."

So I look down into a dark deep hole every morning,

when I put on my boots, so every pair of boots

has Psalms 119:105 on

in between the soles.

Nobody knows it, but He said,

"Every where that boot steps, it makes that ground holy."

So then on the back of these,

on the inside of these boots right here,

on the gusset, you will see, in each boot,

you will see a cross.

(thrumming guitar music)

I start prayin' over them boots

when I start building them,

and God gives me a scripture

that I put in each one of them boots,

when the process is done.

So this is more of a ministry

because God saved me from a really bad wreck in my life,

and He says, "This is all you need,

"to do what I'm calling you to do."

People call me, or just send me Facebook messages

and say, "Man, your work is awesome.

"You blessed us with the Scripture.

"We think it's so cool."

I've had people come in and say,

"Hey, we love your boots,

"but we don't want the cross and the Scripture."

And I say, "Well, you don't get a pair of boots, then."

It's my trademark, you know?

That is my deal.

I can't take credit for none of this.

This is all God's work.

I sit here and I think and I pray,

and I seek God through this shop,

and my goal in life, my dream in life,

is to be the best boot-maker around.

That's where I want to be, and I will be, some day.

(thrumming guitar music)

- My name is Jordan Robert Kirk.

I am native to this area,

I've lived here all but three years of my life; I'm 27.

Been playing music since I was about 12,

grew up in church doin' it,

and actually wrote my first song

when I bought my wife an engagement ring,

and didn't have any money left over

for Christmas the next month.

So I wrote her a song for Christmas as a gift.

It wasn't my best song,

but she still likes it a lot, I guess.

But I realized that I was half-decent at it,

while I'd spent four years at Tech,

studying mechanical engineering

and didn't pick up a guitar

for the whole four years, pretty much,

except maybe just to mess around a little bit,

and go back to studying.

But realized at that point,

"Man, I really enjoy this, this is kinda cool."

And started writing from there.

We lived in Louisiana for a little while,

recently moved back here to Idalou,

got a coupla high school buddies,

and we started a band.

We've been doing that for

I guess, two-and-a-half years now.

(country guitar music)

♪ Well, hi-ho, Rita, my senorita ♪

♪ Standin' outside the grocery store ♪

♪ She had a hard time

♪ Just tryin' to make a dime

♪ She caught my eye and I want some more ♪

♪ Well, my first word was cotton ♪

♪ And her's was algodon

♪ Grew up doin' the same thing

♪ But her daddy swam the rio

♪ Don't know what she ever saw in me ♪

♪ But boy, I tell you what

♪ Her kisses are so sweet

♪ Well hi-ho, Rita, my senorita ♪

♪ Standin' outside the grocery store ♪

♪ She had a hard time

♪ Just tryin' to make a dime

♪ She caught my eye and I want some more ♪

♪ Well, in the state of Texas

♪ Payin' for sex is

♪ Frowned upon like beddin' down a whore ♪

♪ But she needs that scratch

♪ I think she's attached

♪ She even wants me to get a divorce ♪

♪ Well, hi-ho, Rita, my senorita ♪

♪ Standin' outside the grocery store ♪

♪ She had a hard time

♪ Just tryin' to make a dime

♪ She caught my eye and I want some more ♪

♪ Well, last year, Becky left me ♪

♪ Some hombre out in Reno

♪ She stole my car and broke my heart ♪

♪ But I still wear my ring, though ♪

♪ Rita is a Mexican

♪ I'm gonna make her a Texan

♪ Saddle her up with this old Gringo ♪

♪ Well, hi-ho Rita, my senorita ♪

♪ Standing outside the grocery store ♪

♪ She had a hard time

♪ Just tryin' to make a dime

♪ But she's mine for ever and mi amor ♪

(strums guitar)

That one's for Rita.

We had some pretty big opportunities to play for,

or I guess, to open for sold-out shows here in Lubbock,

at Charley B's and different places.

Then we'll turn around and go play at a restaurant

or a bar somewhere, and there might be two people there.

So there's a lot of highs and a lot of lows

and we've still got a lot more lows

than highs at this point.

I guess the thing I'm bound by is,

I'm just enjoying it

and I have a day job, I work nine-to-five,

or eight-to-five or whatever,

but I guess I'm consoled by the fact

that I just love writin'.

I write songs for my wife,

I write songs for fun,

I never dated a woman named Rita,

like the song I wrote, I just made that up,

but it was kinda fun to write.

I guess, regardless of success or failure,

I enjoy this, so I guess I'm gonna keep doin' it.

But hopefully, we've got an album comin' out here soon,

and it'll be the whole band on there.

Kind of a full collaboration for one of the first times

with a really great guy in town here, Scott Faris,

so we're really excited about that.

I'm, I guess, excited to see what the future holds.

(gentle guitar music)

♪ I got some real good friends but they're nothin' like us ♪

♪ When I'm barely trottin', they're eatin' my dust ♪

♪ When I slow down, they don't know how ♪

♪ When we used to talk and maybe say nothin' ♪

♪ Work and play long hours, boy, that was somethin' ♪

♪ All the times that we had

♪ Things cain't be the same again, can they, Dad ♪

♪ Some might say we do things different ♪

♪ But we know what works, and that's just fine with me ♪

♪ There's at least a few who know ♪

♪ They're the same kind of different as me ♪

♪ That's what we call family

(gentle strumming)

♪ Well I hope I never get above my raisin' ♪

♪ Could'na done it any better, and it's amazin' ♪

♪ Some day soon, I'll pass it on down too ♪

♪ When they start talkin' but they cain't say nothin' ♪

♪ Everything they do is a Polaroid somethin' ♪

♪ All the times we're fixin' to have ♪

♪ Now that I'm gonna be a dad

♪ Some might say, do things different ♪

♪ But we know what works, and that's just fine with me ♪

♪ There's at least a few who know ♪

♪ They're the same kind of different as you and me ♪

♪ That's what we call family

(strumming guitar)

♪ I got some real good friends but they're nothin' like us ♪

♪ When I'm barely trottin', they're eatin' my dust ♪

♪ When I slow down, they don't know how ♪

That's what we call a family.

So, bein' from Idalou, obviously,

I have a pretty big influence from

growing up listening to Josh Abbott,

and obviously, him being from Lubbock,

there is such a huge history.

Arguably, rock 'n' roll got started here,

or at least had a big chunk of it

get started here with Buddy Holly.

I think ever since then,

and probably even way before then,

you hear about Waylon and all those old guys

in old interviews and stuff.

Of course, I'm kind of a nerd,

and I go back and watch documentaries like that,

talking about how in West Texas

there's not a whole lot to do but farm.

Now that there's a university,

I guess you can work there.

Y'all know that first-hand. (chuckles)

Stuff like that.

But everybody had a piano,

everybody had a guitar,

everybody had somethin',

and so growing up, music has always been

a part of the High Plains, or West Texas,

or whatever you want to call this area, the Panhandle.

Me personally, I've benefited a lot

from going up to songwriter nights,

Blue Light on Buddy Holly Avenue, imagine that,

and there's been so many artists recently have success

out of Lubbock, that it's just got me chompin' at the bit.

Like, "Dang, if they can do it, maybe I could too."

And so it's definitely inspiring and definitely encouraging,

and kinda spurs you onward towards the goal,

which is, maybe you could do music as a living,

and maybe you could do it, half-time, part-time,

or at least make a little money doing it,

where people come to see ya.

(picking strings)

♪ Bury me in a pine box

♪ Don't dwell long on my death

♪ Remember all the things I've done ♪

♪ How I always did my best

♪ Now don't spend money on a coffin ♪

♪ Or a real fancy gravestone

♪ Just bury my body in a pine box and leave it alone ♪

♪ I 'magine by that time

♪ I'll have had all I can stand, huh ♪

♪ Pinewood come cheap

♪ It grows all over Lousiana

♪ Ain't no life in death

♪ If there was death in life

♪ Follow my example

♪ Live and don't waste any time ♪

♪ Live and don't waste any time ♪

♪ So bury me in a pine box

♪ Don't dwell long on my death

♪ Remember all the things I've done ♪

♪ I always did my best

♪ Don't spend money on a coffin ♪

♪ Or a real fancy gravestone

♪ Just bury my body in a pine box and leave it alone ♪

(picking strings)

♪ Give my love to the family

♪ If there's any of 'em left

♪ If they get to boasting

♪ Tell 'em I outlived 'em dead

♪ 'Cause if I die before my time ♪

♪ I had a little too much fun

♪ Lord come with me, I still got the race to run ♪

♪ I still got the race to run

♪ So bury me in a pine box

♪ Don't dwell long on my death

♪ Remember all the things I've done ♪

♪ I always did my best

♪ Don't spend money on a coffin ♪

♪ Or a real fancy gravestone

♪ Just bury my body in a pine box and leave it alone ♪

(picking strings)

♪ Smoke up a bunch of brisket

♪ Just like my dad always did

♪ You can serve his memory right ♪

♪ But no one does it like he did ♪

♪ You can't do it like he did

♪ To live is Christ, but to die is gain ♪

♪ Take my soul up yonder

♪ Where I won't feel any pain, no more pain ♪

♪ So bury me in a pine box

♪ Don't dwell long on my death

♪ Remember all the things I've done ♪

♪ I always did my best

♪ Don't spend money on a coffin ♪

♪ Or a real fancy gravestone

♪ Just bury my body in a pine box and leave it alone ♪

♪ Just bury my body in a pine box ♪

♪ And leave it alone

I think actually, the ultimate goal of any musician

is not necessarily to do it for the money

but to have people actually listen to what they have to say.

I mean, money would obviously,

like, who am I kiddin'?

Money's important, hah!

But it's kinda hard

playing background music for a restaurant,

or it's nice when people come up to you afterward, like,

"Man, that one line in that one song!"

And I'm like, "Yeah, that's not even my favorite one,

"but I'm glad that you liked it!

"My favorite one's this!"

And I got to thinkin',

"Well that actually is a decent line.

"Maybe I overlooked it."

When people actually appreciate all the work you put in

and a lot of it's hit-or-miss,

may not be any good, maybe try it out,

maybe like, "I better not ever play that again."

(laughs)

It's great being from this area,

and having just a huge history,

lookin' up on the proverbial

Mount Rushmore of Lubbock,

if we were to have one.

There's a lot of musicians come out of here,

a lot of songwriters and singers

that have really put a dent on the world,

and not just Lubbock or Texas,

so if I could emulate a little bit of that success,

man, that'd be pretty awesome.

(uplifting music)

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