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Thread: Shaping my leather? Questions!

  1. #1
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    Default Shaping my leather? Questions!

    I havent posted in the forum, but I have been reading alot.
    I have a Cairns N5A New Yorker. Love her to death, and yes I've caught a few jobs with it.

    I am looking to bend the front brim just a bit, as my Bourkes are in my line of sight. I am also hoping to bend the back up, or "flat" a little bit. The way it sits on my tiny head, and with my SCBA on, if I look up, or am crawling it sometimes hits the top of the bottle. I am NOT looking to do a Bronx Bend, or completely flatten it.
    I am just looking for the best way. Do I put it in the oven (which I dont wanna do), hairdryer? Steam from boiling water?

    I know that I can void the warranty, chip the paint, etc etc. And I am prepared to pay for a new helmet if I screw it up. But the way it is now its not comfortable, or very functional.... considering I cant look up with a SCBA on.

  2. #2
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    After each job, GENTLY form the leather to the desired shape. It may take several/many fires, but I found that is the safest way to avoid premature cracks, etc. The heat and natural steam from each fire softenes the leather just enough. Be patient!

  3. #3
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    If the Bourkes are in your way, take them off! They're worthless anyway. 99 times out of 100 they're gonna be too dirty or scratched to see what you are doing, and they don't provide adequate protection anyway since they're too far from your face.
    CaptOldTimer likes this.

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    Hey brother, I wear a Cairns N5A New Yorker as well. Great lid. I put a bronx bend in mine and was able to do it while getting my bottle changed at a job. I do have to say my N5A has a ton of chips on it but the paint tends to bubble up when exposed to high heat and then just get brittle. I defiantly would not use the oven. I have heard of guys putting their lid in their vehicle when out during the summer when its really hot and shape it after a few hours.
    Last edited by firedan525; 02-14-2014 at 10:44 PM.

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    I never had to bend my N5 in any way to get it to work properly. It never hit the SCBA cylinder. Any bends or "Character" that my helmet took on happened naturally and not anything I did intentionally to it.

    As far as the smoke "glazing" your helmet over and keeping it black that isn't the point of the paint to keep your helmet a particular color, it is to protect the leather and keep the natural moisture in.

    Further, for your own health and well being you should be cleaning your helmet to get the smoke, soot, carcinogens and other toxins off from it and away from you.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 02-11-2014 at 07:08 PM.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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  6. #6
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    Let it bend naturally, I also wear an N5A with an almost flat "boston bend" I just always liked that look the most. Let it happen naturally, but if your deadest on doing it without the introduction of natural fire, I hear a good hot hair dryer does the trick. Leather forever.

  7. #7
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    Pour hot water on the brim. Bend to desired position. Hold until firm.
    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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    What I've noticed in this particular thread is several new posters. Welcome brothers!
    DeputyChiefGonzo likes this.
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    Whatever method you use to heat the brim, be careful... ever since MSA bought out Cairns, the paint on the Cairn's lids tends to be brittle.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    STEAM........I do this all the time on refinish/refurbs......this will not make the brim brittle or weaken it.....I will say that I do all my work shaping (regardless the style requested) while the lid is devoid of paint and prior to a final buffing of the leather.....but I have done a few while painted and never came upon a problem.....moist heat!

  11. #11
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    If your lid is hitting your bottle when looking up, chances are you are wearing your SCBA too high on your back. Loosen up your straps, allow the waist strap to ride your hips and snug up your shoulder straps. Riding it high on your back (usually) means you are a kid trying to look cool by not wearing your waist belt at all.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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