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German Helmet restoration


o j kirby
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Hello,

I have a German steel helmet in need of a bit of care. The shell of the helmet needs a good clean, there is still evidence of the grey-ish paint colour, and there is a bit of rust as well. The interior has a fair bit of rust which needs attention. The lining is the 1917 pattern. The metal band looks as though it will survive while the leather pads are hanging off and need to be re-attached if possible.

Can any member advise me on techniques and products that I can use to restore the helmet?

Thank you

Owain.

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My advice. Stabalise it and leave it as it is....restoration will mean it loses character and value. It is nearly 100 years old!

Regards

TT

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My advice. Stabalise it and leave it as it is....restoration will mean it loses character and value. It is nearly 100 years old!

Regards

TT

Hello, Owain - I completely agree with Trenchtrotter. It saddens me to see some of the "restored" pieces that, in my opinion, were perfectly good items of historical militaria that were ruined by the owners having rebuilt them. If the helment were mine, I would clean the rust off as much as possible with 0000 steel wool and oil, clean the pads with a damp sponge, wipe the entire helmet down with an oily rag, and then wipe off the excess oil with a dry rag. Just my personal opinion.... Regards, Torrey

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Hello,

Thanks for the replies, Perhaps I "restoration" is the wrong word. Basically I wish to ensure that the condition does not deteriorate, and that the helmet looks more cared for. I am not looking towards rebuilding it nor losing the patina that time has given it. I like items which have a bit of character to them.

Owain.

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Owain,

Gently wash the exterior shell in warm soapy water and dry thoroughly. Then lightly spray with WD 40 and leave to "drip dry". That should remove the grime and help prevent the rust doing any damage.

The pads I fear are beyond hope. With my examples with frail pads I gently pack the shell with muslin cloth (available from any department store) and does not chemically react with helmet itself. This supports the frail leather which is the way it is because of 1. age and 2 the pads have hung downwards for years and this has caused them to tear.

Put the shell on a stand / kitchen roll holder / purpose bought display stand and tough as little as possible other than a dust and occasional re spray of WD 40. In a stable atmosphere it should remain as it is.

Note I do not recomend the above use of WD 40 for stable shells with good paint finishes and also note never leave helmets such pickelhaulbes or caps resting on their visors as the stitching will fail and be damaged.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Regards

TT

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I concur with leaving well eough alone, but if you must I would avoid things like WD 40, which is okay for your basic garage activites, but overall not great stuff - especially for artifacts. I'd suggest you give it a clean with something like vulpex archival soap, or even just a light wash with a lint free unbleached cotton rag dampened with denatured alchohol and then finished with a preservative finish of a microcystaline wax, like this http://www.printfile.com/renaissancewax.aspx

Anything with oil in it will just sit on the surface of your helmet and collect gobs of dust - greasy dust, and it will all stink too.

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