1. #1
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    Default natural finish on leather

    i've searched the threads pretty extensively, so if this has been covered, my apologies, i couldn't find it. i'm refinishing a my cairns, and i'm going to go natural instead of painting it black. so any advice on what to finish it with? i've heard clear-coat, but a guy at the hardware store suggested a sealant, liked you'd use on a deck. any expertise would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    BUGGY5632
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    Ching are you going to put it back into service?

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    Default Natural leather

    There is no listed clearcoat on the market at this time that meets NFPA Compliancy for a clear finish on a leather helmet. Hence Cairns N6As in natural are only OSHA compliant. What ever you decide to use if you put the helmet in service is a risk. My advice would be to get in touch with Cairns and find out what they recommend. I believe it might be a waterbased polyurethane. I get requests for natural refinishes but until I can nail down something that will meet NFPA 1971-2000 compliancy Im stickin with paint.

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    buggy, yeah i'm putting it back into service as a working fire helmet. so take that into consideration i guess. a coat of neatsfoot oil just won't do the trick...
    the way i figure, a good clearcoat is as good as sherwin williams or rustoleum. but something less brittle would also be nice, as it wouldn't ship as easily, which is why the deck waterseal kind of caught my attention as a tenable idea.

    sgnl50,
    i appreciate your advice, i've seen your work and i know you know about twice as much as me about refinishing helmets. that said, since this lid is for me, and thus there are no liability issues that aren't personal liability issues, i'm not really all wadded up about nfpa. frankly, neither is the dept. i work for. you should see the gear modifications round here, man. i do want it to be safe and functional, but i'm not particularly into the old osha/nfpa ****ing contest.

    thanks,
    chingon,
    el hijo de la chingada ma' chin'

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    If you change your mind about this and decide to just paint it, I found this straight off the cairns/msa website on how to properly paint a helmet, I was going to post this on a older post on how should I paint my helmet, but figured posting here would be good enough.

    Leather Helmet Painting Instructions

    The following procedures are suggested for those wishing to repaint a structurally sound N6A Houston or a N5A New Yorker leather helmet. If there are any questions concerning the serviceability of the helmet, please contact MSA Fire Service Customer Service at 1-877-MSA-FIRE or info@MSAFire.com.

    STEP 1: Before proceeding, inspect the helmet for damage. If there is any sign of burnt or broken stitching, soft or cut leather, cracked leather, etc., the helmet should be repaired before proceeding.
    STEP 2: Remove front piece.
    STEP 3: Clean off the helmet with soap and water to remove as much surface dirt as possible. Use the minimum amount of water possible.
    STEP 4: Roughen the entire surface of the helmet with fine sandpaper, taking care to avoid excess sanding of the stitching.
    STEP 5: Apply one coat of the recommended primer. Allow to dry completely.
    STEP 6: With all surfaces of the helmet thoroughly dry and clean, apply the first coat of paint.
    STEP 7: Allow the helmet to dry thoroughly and apply the second coat of paint.
    STEP 8: After the second coat of paint is completely dry, put the front piece back on the helmet.

    Recommended Paint/Primer and Colors
    Sherwin Williams Kem Lustral Enamel*

    Primer Paint
    Gray E61 A 45
    White E61 W 12
    Red E61 R 26 Gloss Black F65 B 1
    Bright Blue F65 L 10
    Gloss White F65 W 1
    Lemon Yellow F65 Y 44
    Vermilion (Red) F65 R 1

    Due to the lack of control over conditions and methods used, MSA/CairnsHELMETS cannot guarantee the result of repainting helmets when performed in the field.

    Fiberglass & Kevlar Helmet Painting Instructions

    The following procedures are suggested for those wishing to repaint a structurally sound 1000, 1010, 990, 660C and HP3 helmets. If there are any questions concerning the serviceability of the helmet or if you would like Cairns to inspect the helmet, please contact MSA Fire Service Customer Service at 1-877-MSA-FIRE or info@MSAFire.com.

    STEP 1: Before proceeding, inspect the helmet for damage. If there is any sign of a cracked or blistered shell the helmet should be evaluated by a Cairns representative before proceeding.
    STEP 2: Remove front piece.
    STEP 3: Clean off the helmet with soap and water to remove as much surface dirt as possible.
    STEP 4: Roughen the entire surface of the helmet with fine sandpaper, taking care to avoid excess sanding.
    STEP 5: Apply one coat of the recommended primer. Allow the helmet to dry completely.
    STEP 6: With all surfaces of the helmet thoroughly dry and clean, apply the first coat of paint.
    STEP 7: Allow the helmet to dry thoroughly and apply the second coat of paint.
    STEP 8: After the second coat of paint is completely dry, put the front piece back on the helmet.

    *Cairns recommends the use of Sherwin Williams Super Acrylic Spray Enamel. Be sure to ask the Sherwin Williams representative what type of primer to use.

    Due to the lack of control over conditions and methods used, MSA/CairnsHELMETS cannot guarantee the result of repainting helmets when performed in the field. MSA/CairnsHELMETS does not recommend the painting of a thermoplastic shell: 660 or 360 helmets.

    Copyright Mine Safety Appliances Company MSA 2004.
    All Rights Reserved. E-mail comments to: info@MSAFire.com
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    Has anyone found out or know what to use in this case? I too am getting ready to order a N5A and would like a natural finish but would like to protect it.

    Update: Contacted Cairns/MSA, spoke to a women there and she stated that the natural finish helmets are treated at the factory but she wasn't sure with what. She is trying to find out and is supposed to contact me with that information.
    Last edited by cashton; 10-05-2005 at 11:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chingon
    that said, since this lid is for me, and thus there are no liability issues that aren't personal liability issues
    Well as long as you don't see an issue..
    i'm not really all wadded up about nfpa. frankly, neither is the dept. i work for.
    You, and the departmnet you work for should be.
    you should see the gear modifications round here, man.
    no thanks, and I hope I don't ever get in any form of incident in your area.
    i do want it to be safe and functional, but i'm not particularly into the old osha/nfpa ****ing contest.
    I didn't know that OSHA and the NFPA were fighting...

    regardless, there is a reason I'm sure that there is a reason behind Cairns not sealing, or clear coating the lids after manufacturing. Deck sealer..yeah..good choice.. Do two things..send it to Cairns, or send it to a certified repair facility. While you may have to pay for it, most likely they will inspect it as well prior to the refinish, at least you know it will be safe.
    FF/NREMT-B

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    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

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    chingon, a good name brand clear laquer should do the trick. That's what the guys with naturals use around here. Don't worry about these haters and NFPA Nazi freaks on here trying to bring you down.

    I hardly think that the finish on your helmet is going to get you killed.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by IronsMan53
    chingon, a good name brand clear laquer should do the trick. That's what the guys with naturals use around here. Don't worry about these haters and NFPA Nazi freaks on here trying to bring you down.

    I hardly think that the finish on your helmet is going to get you killed.
    Haters, NFPA Nazi's? Surely this wasn't directed at me. The only thing I was getting at is that if he doesn't know how to refinish it, or is questioning on how to do it, to send it in and get it profesionally done. The other thing you need to be aware of is how the product your applying is going to effect the leather. Just remeber, if you are injured or killed in the LOD, and there is an investigation, it will come back to haunt the dept, if it's found that somthing is out of compliance, that could have or should have been prevented. I'm all for individuality, and for making things help you in your work, but it still needs to be safe, no need ot get hurt or killed over somthing stupid.
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

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    Maybe I'm just getting tired about every time someone brings up a leather helmet people turn it into an NFPA argument. This conversation was going in that direction too. Did his department adopt NFPA standards for their helmets? If not then don't worry about NFPA. Put clear on it and be happy!
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    Okay, heres the scoop, this came directly from Cairns/MSA via telephone conversation I had earlier today. Natural finish helmets ARE sealed at the factory with a clear waterbased non-flammable(duh!) shellac of high quality. They would not disclose any brand name information or the like and highly recommend the helmet be returned to them to be shellaced when needed. They said if done at home, use the above mentioned shellac and they take no responsibility if you helemt is damaged or if you are injured by improper shellacing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IronsMan53
    Maybe I'm just getting tired about every time someone brings up a leather helmet people turn it into an NFPA argument. This conversation was going in that direction too. Did his department adopt NFPA standards for their helmets? If not then don't worry about NFPA. Put clear on it and be happy!
    I don't belive anyone was arguing over NFPA regs. As cashton says, send it to Cairns, your a moron if you don't, they get paid to take care of their products.
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pfd4life
    send it to Cairns, your a moron if you don't
    I guess that everyone I know including myself (around 75-100 guys) that own leathers are morons. If we had to send the helmets back to Cairns if they needed paint well then, we would be constantly sending them back. Why? The first time the helmets get hot the paint flakes off in large chunks. It happened on both of my leathers and every one else that owns newer Cairns leathers.

    Why? I don't know. Maybe they are painting the helmets when the leather still has a bit of moisture in it and when it gets hot the water steams and bubbles the paint off. That is the best explanation we could come up with. But it does happen. So what the guys usually do is either wear the helmet in the original paint until they run a good fire and the paint flakes off then they strip the paint and repaint the helmets themselves or they go ahead and strip the new helmet prior to use, heat it up to remove any moisture and repaint it so that they don't have to worry about the paint.

    I have seen just about every kind of paint used. Some last longer than others, but I have yet to see any problems with helmets due to them being repainted.

    P.S. I was so ticked off when the Cairns paint bubbled off of one of my new helmets that I used a base coat of black BBQ grill paint with black gloss paint on top of that. To say the least, the paint is still there.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    ManoWar Marine Spar Varnish. I buy it at the Home Depot or Lowes. Thats what I use to refinish our helmets if they are getting soft or look dry when I strip them. I put a coat or two on the helmets then paint them. From what i am told this is very close if not what they use in the factory. hope that helps, and i would still clear coat the helmet just for added water repelent and protection.
    Stay Safe
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    IronsMan53...I said that you were a moron if you didn't send it to Cairns, IF you didn't know what you were doing, or if you were unsure you were doing it correctly.
    FF/NREMT-B

    FTM-PTB!!

    Brass does not equal brains.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to control it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pfd4life
    IronsMan53...I said that you were a moron if you didn't send it to Cairns, IF you didn't know what you were doing, or if you were unsure you were doing it correctly.
    Yes you did in an earlier post then the one I quoted. The post in which I quoted from is in it's entirety below:

    Quote Originally Posted by pfd4life
    I don't belive anyone was arguing over NFPA regs. As cashton says, send it to Cairns, your a moron if you don't, they get paid to take care of their products.
    It is obvious that you narrowed your argument between your two posts. This later post clearly states that somebody is a moron if they do not send their helmet into Cairns to get painted. Don't be backpedalling on me!
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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