RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Before and after pictures of restoration projects

Moderator: b.loree

Post Reply
SHOOTEST
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:43 pm

RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by SHOOTEST » Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:15 pm

I need to know how to reshape a helmet body that has a flat spot from long storage. The visor has come unstitched but body has become distorted.
Any help would be greatly appreciated !
Attachments
DSCN9285.JPG
DSCN9283.JPG

User avatar
b.loree
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5908
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: Ontario CN

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by b.loree » Fri Oct 23, 2015 5:54 pm

Thanks for reposting with pictures, so much easier to see the problem. This is what I would do...... you need a styrofoam head form, most collectors have them so I am going to assume you do. Put a plastic bag over it so your liner won't stick to it. Next take a couple of sheets of paper towel, put them together and fold until you have a double thickness strip of Ptowel about 2 inches wide. Wet this with water, pull your liner up out of the shell. Tip the helmet up on an angle, if you have a rectangular container (to hold it) put it in that tipped up and facing you. Next, place the wet Ptowel strip along the back rim of the shell where your problem is but not on the liner. Leave this in place for approx an hour. What we are doing is wetting that particular area which has collapsed and not the entire helmet. The water from the paper towel will soak into the leather making it soft. Once this has happened put your helmet on the head form, making sure that that rear area has been pushed out to where it should be to match the circumference of the rest of the shell. Allow to dry for 24 hrs. This is called "blocking" If you had a hat stretcher, you could leave the liner pulled out, avoiding any moisture contact. Then, put the stretcher into the shell and push that area back into place. I use antique ones but there are modern ones available on Ebay. This is an easy fix, you should have no problems.
Remember, Pillage first THEN Burn ...

SHOOTEST
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:43 pm

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by SHOOTEST » Fri Oct 23, 2015 7:56 pm

b.loree wrote:Thanks for reposting with pictures, so much easier to see the problem. This is what I would do...... you need a styrofoam head form, most collectors have them so I am going to assume you do. Put a plastic bag over it so your liner won't stick to it. Next take a couple of sheets of paper towel, put them together and fold until you have a double thickness strip of Ptowel about 2 inches wide. Wet this with water, pull your liner up out of the shell. Tip the helmet up on an angle, if you have a rectangular container (to hold it) put it in that tipped up and facing you. Next, place the wet Ptowel strip along the back rim of the shell where your problem is but not on the liner. Leave this in place for approx an hour. What we are doing is wetting that particular area which has collapsed and not the entire helmet. The water from the paper towel will soak into the leather making it soft. Once this has happened put your helmet on the head form, making sure that that rear area has been pushed out to where it should be to match the circumference of the rest of the shell. Allow to dry for 24 hrs. This is called "blocking" If you had a hat stretcher, you could leave the liner pulled out, avoiding any moisture contact. Then, put the stretcher into the shell and push that area back into place. I use antique ones but there are modern ones available on Ebay. This is an easy fix, you should have no problems.

SHOOTEST
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 7:43 pm

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by SHOOTEST » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:00 pm

Thanks for your reply to my question about reshaping my helmet I will give it a try...I do have quite a few old hat stretchers so will put one to use !
I really appreciate your kind help this is one of the many reasons I like your site !

User avatar
b.loree
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5908
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: Ontario CN

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by b.loree » Fri Oct 23, 2015 8:57 pm

You are welcome. I would again recommend placing a small plastic bag over the stretcher before you put it into the shell, just to avoid any sticking problems. Have fun!
Remember, Pillage first THEN Burn ...

chinstrap
Contributor
Contributor
Posts: 291
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:18 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by chinstrap » Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:28 am

Brian,

I want to do some re-shaping with a hat-stretcher to the back of an M95 helmet. The liner still has its original adjustment ‘string’, which is tightly knotted, and I don’t want to interfere with this, so I can’t pull the liner outwards to let the stretcher sit on the shell,rather than the leather of the liner. I’m sure I read in another of your posts that pressing the liner against wet leather will result in the liner sticking and being damaged when peeling it off. Would it be safe to place a bit of plastic bag between the liner and the damp leather before using the stretcher? Otherwise I don’t think I can use the hydrating technique and will just have to see whether the action of the stretcher on the dry leather over time brings about an improvement. Any thoughts, comments or advice?

Thanks

Patrick

User avatar
b.loree
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5908
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: Ontario CN

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by b.loree » Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:23 am

Yes I have used a plastic bag when dealing with that situation, so go ahead. I am also using wet sponges now in the hydration bag instead of wet newspapers. I recently had to hydrate a front visor from a Grenadier Officer helmet. The eagle tail had severely depressed a section of the visor. After two days in the bag the visor was very pliable and the depression popped out when pinned to a styrofoam head covered in a plastic bag. The sponges obviously are just placed in the bag and not in the helmet. Let me know how this goes for you. :)
Remember, Pillage first THEN Burn ...

User avatar
Sandmann
Exceptional Contributor
Exceptional Contributor
Posts: 818
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:06 am
Location: Germany

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by Sandmann » Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:37 pm

Brian, that sounds interesting. Did I understand correctly that the air humidity inside the bag makes the leather malleable enough to reshape it?
Best wishes, Sandy

User avatar
b.loree
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5908
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: Ontario CN

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by b.loree » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:46 pm

Yes Sandy, you need a clear plastic (so you can watch the helmet) sealable bag. Place another plastic bag in your helmet shell then put wet news paper or wet sponges in that bag. Then seal up the first bag . The humidity in the bag will increase and ideally, the helmet will become supple again. Leave this for 24 hours then check it ......is the leather softening ? If not, then back in the bag. You have to carefully check on the helmet every day. Eventually, the leather will change. What will happen if you forget about it and leave the helmet in too long? Disaster! Mould will form on the helmet and the finish will flake off. I speak from experience :-? . Once the helmet has softened, block it on a head form again covered with a plastic bag so the liner will not stick. A hat stretcher can also be used but always covered in plastic. I must also stress, there are no guarantees when dealing with 100+ year old leather. Sometimes this works great and at other times not quite as well.
Remember, Pillage first THEN Burn ...

User avatar
Sandmann
Exceptional Contributor
Exceptional Contributor
Posts: 818
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:06 am
Location: Germany

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by Sandmann » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:26 am

Thank you very much for explaining. Does this method leave waterlines on the leather after drying?
Best wishes, Sandy

User avatar
b.loree
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5908
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 4:52 pm
Location: Ontario CN

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by b.loree » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:14 pm

No water marks Sandy when using this process. The method for fixing a depressed top using wet paper towel does leave water marks.
Remember, Pillage first THEN Burn ...

User avatar
Sandmann
Exceptional Contributor
Exceptional Contributor
Posts: 818
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:06 am
Location: Germany

Re: RESHAPING HELMET BODY

Post by Sandmann » Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:31 pm

Thank you very much, that sounds great :)
Best wishes, Sandy

Post Reply

Return to “Pickelhaube Restoration”