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Mini Fire Helmet

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#1 jholderby29


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 01:47 AM

Long time browser, first time poster. I've been hanging around picking up on tips and knowledge for while, and figured I should probably post somthing! After seeing the Science Channel's "How It's Made" on leather fire helmets, I thought I'd give it a shot. After many trial (and error) runs, I finally got to where I wanted to be. Now I know this isn't perfect, but I figured out what needs to be done to make it where I really want to be.

I started off by making a template out of paper of what I thought the panels should look like. 5 templates later, I had the one I was looking for. I made 4 panels (out of 3/4 oz. for the workability of the leather), folded them in half, and ran a saddle stitch (waxed nylon thread) down the center of each, leaving about an inch and a half on the tops and bottoms of the panels to aid in giving them a semi round shape. I then saddle stitched 2 panels together, making up half of the helmet shell. After stitching the other two together, I brought the 2 halves together, thus giving me a completed shell. To give the shell a round shape, I used the top of my daughter's aquarium night light (which just so happened to be the perfect shape I needed. I added a small shot sack to make up the rest of the room, as well as give it some weight to help form the shell, which I wetted to accept the form. I put a small cut at the bottom of the shell at each seam, as well as under the seams I put down the the centers of the panels (8 total) so I could fold the bottom over to give it a flat foot that I could stitch to the brim.

For the brim of the helmet, I placed the the shell on a piece of paper, then rough sketched the shape I wanted for the brim. At this point, I decided I wanted to go with a real traditional look to the helmet so I made the brim longer than a modernized helmet. (*Firemen used to bend up the sides of the brim andbend the back of it down, allowing hot water to run down the sides and off the back of the helmet. If left flat, the water would run off the edges of the helmet and down the neck of the fireman's coat). I cut the brim out of 9/10 oz. to allow me to put that "Bronx bend" in it, and have it hold the shape I was looking for. I finger carved a few basic scrolls on the top of the brim to give it that old school look I was going for (a lot of newer helmets use a vine design), then placed the shell on top, and saddle stitched it to the brim. I left the aquarium piece and shot sack in the shell while stitching it together to help keep the shape, then cut the head hole out of the brim and removed them after the stitching was complete. I put a stitch around the edge of the brim for asthetics (real helmets have a metal wire sewn into the edge for stability and to help keep the shape the firemen would bend it into). Since this is a miniature helmet that only fits the head of my wiener dog, the wire was unnecessary. I contemplated leaving the helmet a natural color, but in keeping the traditonal aspect of it, I gave it a coat of One Shot fire red paint.

For the gold shield holder, I used a piece of 2/3 oz. that is folded in half and cut to give it the shape of a shield holder you would see on a fire helmet. Traditionally the fire service uses an eagle as the holder, but that is far beyond my skill level to make, so I went with just the basic shape. I used 23 karat gold leaf to cover the shield, thus actually making it gold, rather than using gold paint. For the shield itself, I used 3/4 oz. that I died USMC black (Fiebings), and painted the lettering and "1" with Angelus acrylic paint. I reluctantly opted for an alphabet stamp strictly due to the size of the lettering needed, but hand carved the "1" to try to stay with somewhat of a hand made feel.

All in all, I'm fairly pleased with it. I learned a lot about what to do (and especially what NOT to do), so my hopes is that my next one will be a slight step up from this helmet. I plan on donating this to my departments benevolent auction coming up next month, which raises money that we donate to people in need in our community. I know this isn't perfect, and like I said, I learned a lot about about constructing this but criticism is always welcome!

*I can only add one picture...apparantly they're too big. If anybody would be kind enough to help me add the rest of the pics, I'd be more than grateful!

Attached File  2011-03-22_23-02-19_343.jpg   1.07MB   193 downloads

#2 Tina


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Posted 23 March 2011 - 03:35 AM

That is a way cool little helmet :You_Rock_Emoticon:

Pictures: You need to resize the them (and crop away some to) I did some alterations to your photo and made it in a manageble size of around 900x900 pixels.

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"He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands, and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands, and his head, and his heart, is An Artist"


#3 EngineCo1



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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:16 PM

Just saw this. Good job. Looks awesome. I actually wear a Cairns N6A leather helmet for work.

#4 rawhide1


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Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:33 PM

Dang nice job!! While I currently wear a Paul Conway and I'm very happy I've been looking at a New Yorker.
I plan on building a full size one for conference in two years. It will be our 125th year. It will be auctioned off and the monies go to a scholarship fund. Once again outstanding job and I may holler at ya for some advice when I start on mine.


#5 jholderby29


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Posted 08 April 2011 - 07:34 PM

Thanks for the compliments! We wear Ben 2's, but I'm working on getting the Phenix TL2's approved as an option for the guys who want a leather helmet, not just a plastic one that only kind of looks like leather. I'll be happy to attempt answering any questions you might have (keep in mind I'm no expert though!!)


#6 76Truck


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Posted 14 March 2013 - 09:10 AM

Awesome, would love to see a tutorial if ya have one.

#7 compound



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Posted 15 March 2013 - 04:04 PM


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