1. #1
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    Default Cairns Leather Paint Problems

    I know about 6 or so years ago, Cairns leather helmets were having a lot of paint problems. Paint peeling off after a couple of jobs, some after none.

    Have they corrected this? I'm thinking about buying a new helmet, just curious though if the peeling problem has been fixed.

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FORTff View Post
    I know about 6 or so years ago, Cairns leather helmets were having a lot of paint problems. Paint peeling off after a couple of jobs, some after none.

    Have they corrected this? I'm thinking about buying a new helmet, just curious though if the peeling problem has been fixed.

    Thanks.
    Most likely not. As far as I know, they still use a standard paint that has no heat protective properties.

    All is not lost however. Order a natural and paint it yourself. I have had good luck using a primer, 2 coats of high temperture BBQ paint, and a final layer of hard layer epoxy paint. It should all be avaailable at your local harware store for under $20.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Most likely not. As far as I know, they still use a standard paint that has no heat protective properties.

    All is not lost however. Order a natural and paint it yourself. I have had good luck using a primer, 2 coats of high temperture BBQ paint, and a final layer of hard layer epoxy paint. It should all be avaailable at your local harware store for under $20.
    Any brand info on this "Hard Layer" epoxy paint? And are you applying both these types of paints with a brush or are they spray cans?

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    Is this helmet being used as a show piece or a firefighting helmet? Wash the thing off and keep on getting on the truck and making fires.

    If it get so bad, do as E-34 said clean it up and paint it. Did you contact MSA-Cairns about it or the dealer who you bought it from??
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    The timeframe mentioned above is approximately when Cairns & Brother were purchased by MSA.

    It was explained to me, that MSA had Cairns switch to a water-based paint as a cost-saving measure. I believe the same person told me the paint they were using (prior to MSA taking over) was an oil-based Sherwin-Williams.

    I repainted mine about 4 years ago with an oil based SW. Have had no problems with flaking or peeling, but then again I was mostly driving/operating with an occasional interior service.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I've painted helmets in the past, had very good luck using spray paint. Was just wondering if anyone has bought a near Cairns helmet recently and had any problems with the paint peeling.

    You generally don't need any high heat bbq paint, if your head gets hot enough to need bbq paint, you'll probably need a new set of ears as well.

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    Man, how times change.

    Back in the 70's, when Cairns was a family business and actually gave a crap about the product they put out, you could walk into their office and they would give (yes, GIVE) you a quart of paint. It would paint a good number of helmets.

    Got my leather in 1976. Paid $67.00.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I would love for Cairns to be the way it was.

    According to an inflation calculator I found.

    $67 in 1976 is the same as $255 in 2008. Why are they over $400 then???

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    Quote Originally Posted by FORTff View Post
    I've painted helmets in the past, had very good luck using spray paint. Was just wondering if anyone has bought a near Cairns helmet recently and had any problems with the paint peeling.

    You generally don't need any high heat bbq paint, if your head gets hot enough to need bbq paint, you'll probably need a new set of ears as well.
    Wrong. You think standard wall or spay paint is designed to be able to withstand even low to moderate temperatures that are encountered while doing an interior fire attack?

    You came on here asking a question and soliciting advice. So do it your way and ask the same stupid question a year from now when its flaking again.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 12-08-2008 at 01:54 PM.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Calm down there killer.

    I did ask a simple question. I have painted about 5 helmets, all of them have seen some fire since I painted then. That paint was/is fine, not peeling at all. I was just asking in reference to new helmets from Cairns if the paint is peeling so easily soon after purchase like it was about 6 or 7 years ago.

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    Just receieved a brand new N5A as an award. I guess Ill see soon enough how the paint holds up....truly though Im not that worried if the paint cracks or flakes. I seriously doubt Ill ever repaint mine, (unless a promotion of course).

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    The crappy paint goes way back before MSA acquired Cairns. I had a brand new Sammy that the paint fell off in sheets the first time it was exposed to heat and that was probably 15 years ago.

    The BBQ paint that you can get at the big box stores works fantastically. It is also rated for far higher temps than even auto header paint.

    Personally I agree with the advice of getting it natural and painting it right away with BBQ paint. That is a lot easier than later on trying to get the rest of that ****ty paint off they use at the factory when it is time to repaint.

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    All I know is don't get paint on the zipper that goes over your mouth--you'll be buying new leather sooner than you wanted. And you will be punished for messing up. Punished, you dirty, dirty boy.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Wrong. You think standard wall or spay paint is designed to be able to withstand even low to moderate temperatures that are encountered while doing an interior fire attack?

    You came on here asking a question and soliciting advice. So do it your way and ask the same stupid question a year from now when its flaking again.
    Those helmets are a bitch to paint with a roller.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    With each little paint that chips away is another story. Your helmet is your history in the fire service. Be proud of it, not embarassed.

    Who really cares if you loose a little paint over the course of 15-20 years. If you do, then maybe you should buy a Fisher Price plastic helmet.

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    If you do, then maybe you should buy a Fisher Price plastic helmet.
    That's a ridiculous piece of advice. You know that helmet is not NFPA approved.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Since we are on the subject. If i wanted to completely strip and repaint my helmet. Would I use general paint thinner etc... or a different type of product? Any suggetstions?
    Fir Na Tine

    "You can't help anyone, without getting there first!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RRFD77 View Post
    Since we are on the subject. If i wanted to completely strip and repaint my helmet. Would I use general paint thinner etc... or a different type of product? Any suggetstions?
    Use a citrus based paint stripper you can pick up at Lowes or Home Depot. Do Not Use Paint Thinner! The solvent will saturate the leather and become a flammability issue. That and getting the paint to stick to the leather soaked with thinner will be a bitch!
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    My buddy and I got the New Yorkers about 2 months ago. We have made about 4 fires. I had to turn off the gas meter, which was on fire. The helmet took the heat just fine. My buddy got a pretty good knock on the head when some hard suction fell off the top off the rig. Both helmet's paint jobs appear to be holding up just fine.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Or you could just wear a plastic helmet. Lot cheaper and the color goes all the way through. I've never had to paint mine...
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
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    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by RRFD77 View Post
    Since we are on the subject. If i wanted to completely strip and repaint my helmet. Would I use general paint thinner etc... or a different type of product? Any suggetstions?
    I have never seen anyone use thinner. It's supposed to be blasted with walnut shells like at the factory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MassFireGuy View Post
    With each little paint that chips away is another story. Your helmet is your history in the fire service. Be proud of it, not embarassed.

    Who really cares if you loose a little paint over the course of 15-20 years. If you do, then maybe you should buy a Fisher Price plastic helmet.
    I cared when I bought a new N6A in 06. Cairns paint chips. It has for a long time. I am fine with that. The problem I had was that the ****** Nozzles at Cairns used a white primer. After two weeks I looked like a freaking chief.

    I ended up selling the POC 06 N6A and bought a excellent condition (actually looked unused) 98' N5A. Great helmet. not problems at all.
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
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    for stripping you helmet paint. Pick up a container of "Citristrip" works great and doesnt damage the leather.
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
    Always Remember *343*

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdemarse View Post
    for stripping you helmet paint. Pick up a container of "Citristrip" works great and doesnt damage the leather.
    If someone wanted to refinish a natural to paint it black, would the citristrip strip the finish on a natural?

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    I cant say for sure but I dont see why it wouldnt.
    "Train as if your life depends on it"
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