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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber bradsimpson301's Avatar
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    Default Natural -> Black N5A Leather Lid

    I've got a natural N5A. I'm getting grief from the powers that be to get a black helmet. I know that people refurb helmets every day and change colors/refinish to a different color. If the helmet has never had paint on it, what steps, if any, are there to make it black? Thanks in advance for any help.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber rpferry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsimpson145 View Post
    I've got a natural N5A. I'm getting grief from the powers that be to get a black helmet. I know that people refurb helmets every day and change colors/refinish to a different color. If the helmet has never had paint on it, what steps, if any, are there to make it black? Thanks in advance for any help.

    I have an N5A as well and a buddy of mine got the same one. He wanted a flat black look for his and took some sand paper to rough up the shell and then took some high temp grill paint to make it black. Make sure to tape the Bourkes and the underside to prevent any paint getting on it. Also, you can take the eagle off for the same reasons. Hope this helps. PM me if you have questions.
    Last edited by rpferry; 08-31-2007 at 08:58 PM.
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  3. #3
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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  4. #4
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    I wouldn't paint a helmet, even though Cairns has instructions for it.

    If you want to have your leather last, it needs to be bead-blasted and then dyed to whatever color you want. Leather needs to breath, and painting generally doesn't let that happen.

  5. #5
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    I would not use the recommended paint from MSA. The original paint that Cairns uses does not hold up. What would make you think that more of the same bad stuff would do any better??

    Scuff it up a little. Apply primer. Appy a couple of coats of BBQ paint. If you want a dull look, do nothing else. If you want a shiny finish, aplly 2 more coats of either gloss hard hat paint or 2 part aplliance epoxy paint - both available at hardware stores.

    DO NOT USE ANY KIND OF PAINT STRIPPER. No matter how hard you try, you will not get all of it out of the leather. It will dry out and crack within a year.

    Good luck.
    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.

  6. #6
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    What would make you think that more of the same bad stuff would do any better??
    Just trying to help someone out with the actual manufacturer's recommendations. Also, for those who care about the warranty on their leather helmet, they must be painted by Cairns. They told me it would be about $50 for a helmet in good shape when I called about mine.

  7. #7
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    You could keep the natural lid, get a nice shield for it and mount it in your family room/office and get another N5A.

    To quote firefighter Mike Sullivan, Group 1, Engine 3, MFD...

    You can't be too thin, too rich or have too many leather helmets!
    ‎"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

  8. #8
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman View Post
    Just trying to help someone out with the actual manufacturer's recommendations. Also, for those who care about the warranty on their leather helmet, they must be painted by Cairns. They told me it would be about $50 for a helmet in good shape when I called about mine.
    Hey Noz,

    I didn't actually mean you!! Sorry. I was speaking more in general terms. As far as the warranty goes, I have only tried to warranty a leather one time, and to my amazement, it actually worked!!!!

    I had no problems what so ever and certainly no mention of paint.

    I certainly understand your point about staying within the manufacturers recommendations, but after the 1st leather I have ever had flaked most of the paint the first time it got hot, I have always redone the paint before I ever use them.

    Lets face it, I am sure that Sherman Williams never intended their paint to the the exterior surface of a firefighting helmet. Whay Cairns/MSA still insists on using wall paint when there is other stuff out there that can take at least a little more heat and abuse is beyond me. From now on, I am buying naturals and painting them myself.
    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.

  9. #9
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    I didn't actually mean you!! Sorry. I was speaking more in general terms. As far as the warranty goes, I have only tried to warranty a leather one time, and to my amazement, it actually worked!!!!
    I took no offense. I, myself, just got my first leather recently...a 6NA Houston. As much as those things cost (I'm poor), I sure don't want to take a chance at screwing up my warranty. I was actually in the process of inquiring with Cairn's about painting mine red in the near future (heh...I hope!) when I came across the post.
    Lets face it, I am sure that Sherman Williams never intended their paint to the the exterior surface of a firefighting helmet. Whay Cairns/MSA still insists on using wall paint when there is other stuff out there that can take at least a little more heat and abuse is beyond me. From now on, I am buying naturals and painting them myself.
    Although I haven't looked into it much, Sherwin Williams makes more than just wall paint. They make automotive and industrial grade paints as well. I just assumed that the paint they used on the helmets might be a little tougher than your run-of-the-mill hardware fare. I know the paint on mine sure seems pretty tough.

  10. #10
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    One Shot sign enamel.....Sold as leather helmet paint on thefirestore.com.....available at many paint and art supply stores as well. Works great.

  11. #11
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    I cannot recommend enough to stay away from the Cairns paint. After one burn I stripped one of my guys new helmets with compresses air. The factory pain fell off in sheets. I had spoken to the guys at the firestore before they were the firestore. Some of you may remember P&R helmet parts, that is how they got started. They suggested any good acrylic enamel spray paint. That is what we have always used. However the high temp stuff holds up well. We also use snow plow paint, it takes a beating also.
    Jason Brooks
    IAFF Local 2388
    IACOJ

  12. #12
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    Well, I think I'm going to send mine back and let them paint it. If it craps out, I'll waste no time posting about it. $50 is cheap to maintain a warranty on a $450-500 helmet, in my opinion.

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