Martexin reproofing wax. Operating instructions on the can.
Archival Clothing endorses waxed cotton because it’s a rugged, natural, water resistant fabric that requires only wax reproofing to maintain its finish. Waxed cotton users should know how to reprooof their jackets, hats, and bags. Both Filson and Barbour offer factory reproofing services but we recommend performing the work yourself (at least once). Reproofing waxed cotton is relatively easy and personalizes the care and maintenance of your garment. Even if you live in the desert, you should establish a reproofing schedule for your waxed cotton. Reproofing extends the life of waxed cotton and prevents it from developing the folds and wear lines that often lead to holes.
I do my reproofing in August so I can move the work outdoors.
Basic tools: wax (warmed), water, sponge, blow dryer (or heat gun). If you’re using our 1.5 ounce tin, spoon some wax into a bowl and heat briefly in microwave. Some people recommend using Filson wax, say, with a Filson product, but I’ve switched between several brands of wax treatment (Filson, Barbour and Martinex) with the same results. I will concede that for a full reproofing job on a jacket, the larger tins of Barbour reproofing wax are easier to heat in a double boiler.
Dab off dirt with a moistened sponge. Do not use soaps or detergents.
Use clean sponge to spread warmed reproofing wax thinly on fabric. Short strokes work best.
Reheat surface of item with blow dryer to melt the wax into the fabric.
Reapply wax until it evenly coats the bag.
Restored to original factory finish
I still have wax left so I’m reproofing a couple of my Filson duckbill caps
You’ll be moving back and forth between wax applications and the blow dryer
Don’t expect the wax to glaze evenly over fabric. You’ll need to work it into the surface.
There! You’ve shopped from yourself. These rewaxed hats are better than new. Let the sun help w/the final reproofing. Use a blow dryer again if you find any remaining, unmelted spots of wax. If you’ve overdone it, fear not, daily use and rain will wear down the excess wax.
Click over to Heddels to read my latest Ward Order Blank column: Duckbill Dynasty – the Cap We Want Back. Here are some of the photos of caps I collected during the research phase of writing this piece.
Original Archival designer, Tom Bonamici, models a Filson shelter cloth duckbill.
One of my faves: Filson short billed cap in tin cloth. The leather sweatband and fitted style sadly disappeared in the last generation of these caps.
Handsome cap shape looks terrific from above.
Not a duckbill, but I dug a little into the history of caps used in the film, Empire of the Sun.
WW2 issue summer flying cap. I love the numerical markings on the brim (a tradition worth bringing back?).
David Mamet movies are peppered with duckbill caps. Gene Hackman sporting a Quaker Marine cap in Heist (2001).
Military issues morphed into hunting headgear in the 1950s and 1960s.
Cavalcade of stars – Filson duckbill lineup in the cap style’s salad days. Merino, poplin, and waxed cotton versions all on offer. Ah, to go back in time and buy them all up.
A duckbill cap was the first item I ever purchased from CC Filson. A decade ago, you could buy a Filson duckbill cap in tin cloth, shelter cloth, cotton poplin or wool. Filson even offered a short billed model (my personal favorite). The original duckbill version was fitted and came with a leather sweatband. Filson has dropped the wool and poplin models and switched over to a one size fits all model with a cotton sweatband.
I have a small collection of caps that I rotate through the seasons: poplin for summer, tin cloth for fall, wool for winter and shelter cloth cloth for spring. The duckbill cap makes for an ideal cycling cap. The long bill keeps the sun and rain out of your eyes and the low profile, four panel crowd closely hugs the head (making it possible to tuck the hat under a bike helmet).
I’m unclear on the origin of the duckbill style but there may be a military connection. A gent at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Honolulu once mistook mine for a WWII military reissue.
Unlike a baseball cap with a stiffened brim, the pliable, unstructured duckbill takes on an origami shape that makes it ideal for carrying in coat pocket or bag. Perfect for protection during a sudden squall.