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    Default Painting Natural Leather N5A

    Hey guys. I have a natural leather N5A. I like the look but I'd prefer to have a black helmet. I've been told that if I paint it it will ruin it because of the clear coat that is applied at the factory. Is that true? Could I sand it and then paint it? Thanks. By the way, I did I search and couldn't find any information on this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF_Johnston View Post
    Hey guys. I have a natural leather N5A.
    What helmet did your department issue you?

    Any modification you make to a helmet is likely to void it's certification for use as PPE. Of course, if you bought it as a wall hanger you can do whatever you want with it. Just don't modify it out of manufacturer's recommendations and expect to wear it to a fire.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF_Johnston View Post
    Hey guys. I have a natural leather N5A. I like the look but I'd prefer to have a black helmet. I've been told that if I paint it it will ruin it because of the clear coat that is applied at the factory. Is that true? Could I sand it and then paint it? Thanks. By the way, I did I search and couldn't find any information on this.
    Do not paint the helmet until you strip the clear coat off the helmet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BKDRAFT;
    Do not paint the helmet until you strip the clear coat off the helmet.
    It has been my experience that using any kind of paint stripper, even the natural citrus stuff, wreaks absolute havoc on leather helmets. The brim will crack within 1 year, especially if repeatedly exposed to high temps. The leather soaks the stripper up, it is impossible to completely remove, and the leather just dries out.

    My process that I have had consistent good luck with is sanding or scuffing, self etching primer, 2-3 coats of hi-temp paint, and a couple of coats of enamel of appliance epoxy paint to top it off.
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    So basically as long as I sand the clear coat off I can paint it just like a leather that came painted from the factory? That's pretty much what I figured, just wanted to make sure.

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    Take a look in helmet picture thread, if you like to see photos of helemets that were refinished and how to do it. It's not hard at all.
    Stay Safe
    Bull


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    Quote Originally Posted by FF_Johnston View Post
    Hey guys. I have a natural leather N5A. I like the look but I'd prefer to have a black helmet. I've been told that if I paint it it will ruin it because of the clear coat that is applied at the factory. Is that true? Could I sand it and then paint it? Thanks. By the way, I did I search and couldn't find any information on this.

    Just buy a black helmet and keep the other one at home.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    http://www.customlidpaint.com/

    Send it here, it looks like he does good work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Just buy a black helmet and keep the other one at home.
    If they weren't so damn expensive that's exactly what I'd do. I actually bought this one to replace an older N5A that I retired. I'd heard bad things about cairns paintjobs from the factory so I figured I'd just buy a natural one and paint it myself. Obviously I should of done a little bit more research beforehand.

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    It is your helmet and their are various methods. Whichever you decide be sure to remove the clear coat. Use a leather colored primer after the clear coat is removed. Then use an enamel of your choice to brush on several coats of black paint.

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    Cairns soaks their leather helmets in boiled linseed oil before painting. The citrus stripper works but you have to make sure you dont use too much or leave it on too long. I would recommend applying it and leaving it for 30 minutes then with a plastic scraper taking the clear coat off. If there is still a significant amount of clear coat on the helmet reapply then repeat the removal process. Wash and rinse the helmet with soap and water and let it dry. Once dry put two coats of linseed oil on the helmet, I used a foam brush for this step. Then once the linseed oil absorbs mix 1:2 paint to linseed oil and brush on one coat, then 1:1 paint to linseed oil. (these coats will remain tacky) Let the helmet dry for 24 hours then 1-2 coats of straight oil based paint. Let the helmet dry and put it to work. I used the one shot sign paint from the firestore. I have in the past used grill paint and break caliper paint and found that they didnt stick to the leather well.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Just buy a black helmet and keep the other one at home.
    Everyone has an extra $500 laying on the coffee table....
    Career Fire Captain
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Everyone has an extra $500 laying on the coffee table....


    I suppose. He never did say why he bought it natural in the first place. I guess his dept didn't really care about the color. ummm?


    You need 500?
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    You need 500?
    Next time you're at the RFDCU, make a quick withdrawal for me.
    Career Fire Captain
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    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Next time you're at the RFDCU, make a quick withdrawal for me.


    I'll just transfer it to you. Give me your bank account and routing number!!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    I appreciate all the advice guys. On second thought, though, I did spend about $500 on it, so I think I'll send it to someone who knows what they're doing and have them paint it. I'm not really in the mood to ruin my brand new lid.

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    Scuff sand the clear and paint it.What do you think CLEAR is? T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    What helmet did your department issue you?

    Any modification you make to a helmet is likely to void it's certification for use as PPE. Of course, if you bought it as a wall hanger you can do whatever you want with it. Just don't modify it out of manufacturer's recommendations and expect to wear it to a fire.
    Here we go with this again...

    The kid asked you how to repaint a helmet, not call the NFPA police.

    To the OP, other than this, you have been given some good advice on how to go about it. I did a buddy's one time. We just sanded it, and then spray painted it.

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    I would seriously consider not using any form of stripper. I think you will find it wreaks havoc on the leather. No amount of soap and water will ever get rid of all of it and the leather will dry out and crack around the brim - promise.

    Aside from that, nut up a little. What's the worst that can happen. When you get done, if you use it correctly it will be in one of the worst environents that man is able to enter and operate. A little smoke after a good job or two will cover up any blemishes that are less than perfect.

    Do it yourself for about $20.
    RK
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    "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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    one shot sign paint - good stuff

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    Yeah I guess I'll just do it myself. I don't really have the time to send it off. Anyone know where I can find the one shot flattening paste? I've checked everywhere I can think of locally (Home Depot, Lowes, Sherwin Williams, Ace, Walmart...) and I can't find any. I've only found one place on the internet to get it and they're in California and don't even have it in stock.

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    I used Hi temp Engine enamel on mine(spray can)came out MINT. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF_Johnston View Post
    Yeah I guess I'll just do it myself. I don't really have the time to send it off. Anyone know where I can find the one shot flattening paste? I've checked everywhere I can think of locally (Home Depot, Lowes, Sherwin Williams, Ace, Walmart...) and I can't find any. I've only found one place on the internet to get it and they're in California and don't even have it in stock.
    I would bet they wouldnt have it, but you can look into a pinstriping shop. One that does actual pinstriping not the sticker kind. The lettering paint is a favorite of the pinstriping crowd. Or you can order it from here...

    http://www.eastwood.com/paints/pinst...ent-quart.html
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    one shot sign paint - good stuff
    x2 great stuff.

    I re-furbed my leather and used that one-shot and it came out flawless. I had a natural but traded with my LT. (who had a normal black but with some wear and tear) after he found out I wanted to paint it. He loves a good natural.

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