The Hatsmith

Susie Morgan - August 2, 2013

The Real Deal

Cowboy JD Noble has been in the Santa Fe-Taos area for over 23 years.  Once he gave up cattle wrangling, he went to work building some of the finest cowboy hats available while he worked at Montecristi for almost 20 years.

Three years ago, JD along with his partner Artie, hung out The HatSmith shingle at 228 Ortiz, just off Alameda.  He has been building and procuring some of the finest hats available.  JD has been kept busy by the movie industry, local cowboys and cowgirls and also supplies tourists that stumble onto teeny Ortiz Street.

This isn’t a store with ready-made hats–this is the real deal–a custom hat shop.  JD knows all the styles that have come and gone for decades – from the Cattleman, to the RCA, the brick, the GUS (famous from the Lonesome Dove movie) and the newly christened “Forehand” custom-designed for a new customer.  

Just about any time you stop in, there will be someone sitting at the table chatting while JD works on shaping or building a hat from scratch.  Not long ago, highly acclaimed actor Ed Harris tapped JD to build him a cowboy hat for his current film.  He was so impressed with the results; Ed brought in his 20 year-old favorite hat and asked JD if it could be salvaged.  JD said, “No, but I can build you one just like it!”  And he did.  Ask JD and he will show you the handwritten note he received from Ed Harris once he had returned home.

When I stopped in today, he was working on “half-breed” hats.  These use the brim from a fine fur felt hat, and the crown from straw to provide cooler durable hat solutions.  Half-breeds have a look all their own.  That’s my next hat.

But be forewarned, once you get bitten by the hat bug, you will be back again.

The Hatsmith – open Monday through Saturday 10am – 5pm.  228 Ortiz St  Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 995-1091