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How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

Article about: The purpose of this thread is to share our own techniques on how to clean a relic helmet. I mainly follow 2 methods, which by the way may also be combined : METHOD 1 : very rusty helmet with

  1. #1
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    Default How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    The purpose of this thread is to share our own techniques on how to clean a relic helmet.

    I mainly follow 2 methods, which by the way may also be combined :

    METHOD 1 : very rusty helmet with no decal or parts of lining


    Phase 1: put your helmet in warm water and brush it with a synthetic brush to remove dirt and mud. Wash it again with clean water.
    Phase 2: put your helmet in a solution of water and a rust blocking product known here as "Remox" ( about 5-10% is Ok). Let it rest for 30' and brush the surface of the helmet with a brass brush.
    Phase 3: wash your helmet in a solution of water + sodium bicarbonate and then one more time with clean water only

    You can do some sharper cleaning job , with a porcupine quill or anything sharped that does the trick.

    phase 4 : you may like to add a thin lay of a french product known as "Rustoil", to preserve it better. You should lay it and wait a few minutes, then dry it a bit with blotting paper to avoid a "wet effect".

    I usually don't touch the lining, because I don't like the leather turning very dark after you apply any product.

    METHOD 2 : I use this for relic helmet in solid state, not too corroded and/or with decal traces

    Phase 1: put your helmet in warm water and brush it with a synthetic brush to remove dirt and mud. Wash it again with clean water.
    Phase 2: put your helmet in a solution of water + a 10% of oxalic acid and let it rest for 30/40'. You may occasionally brush it with a synthetic or brass brush.
    Phase 3: wash it with clean water only and let it dry.

    The result, especially in presence of original paint and rest of decals is amazing with the oxalic acid.

    You may now add a transparent satin paint or silicone spray finish (usually I don't do that, but it's a matter of taste).

    That's all for today

    Matt


    PS - Ade, if needed, please fix my english, thanks

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Hi Matt, very interesting. Your English is fine by the way

    It would be nice to see some pics of a couple of helmets conserved using the different methods described.

    Cheers, Ade.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Matt, thank you for this informations.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Hi Matt,
    Nice job.I would like to buy some of this oxalic acid but have no idea where to buy those chemical's here.
    Tom

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Quote by Tom Bennett View Post
    Hi Matt,
    Nice job.I would like to buy some of this oxalic acid but have no idea where to buy those chemical's here.
    Tom
    Here we go again!!
    Oxalic acid is to be banned in Belgium as it is hazardous and dangerous.

    Oxalic acid is to be found in the most vegetables ...but the concentration you want to treath rust is very dangerous.
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Hi Tom,

    If you go to your local Bunnings super store, you will find it in the area with other Digger brand products. It is about $25.00 for a 2.5kg bottle of the powder.

    Hope that helps

    Cheers,

    Grant

    Please be very carefull, as Stuka has warned, it is quite corrosive. I've burned my fingers!!

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Quote by Australian Guy View Post
    Hi Tom,

    ...

    Please be very carefull, as Stuka has warned, it is quite corrosive. I've burned my fingers!!
    Did you used it bear hands??
    Strange because oxalic acide does not feel like burning at the touch, that is what it makes it so dangerous, it penetrates your skin get into your blood and attaks your liver...!!!
    Also do not breath the vapours!
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Thank's guy's,
    I may give it a miss i think as it sound's dangerous.Not sure i am equiped to deal with acid like that!

    Tom

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Hi Stuka,

    Yes, stupidly I used it with bare hands, not realising the danger, I thought it would be a bit like citric acid, and ended up with very red and cracked hands the next day

    I have a bad habit of burning my hands, we found a WW1 shell at work last year, and it leaked a brownish substance that burned off the whole nail of one of my fingers when I moved it. That caused some exitement in the city, closed buildings evacuated staff etc......

    Still embarassed to think about my stupidity I always wear all the personal protective equipment I am supplied with these days

    Cheers,

    Grant

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to clean a relic helmet : cleaning techniques

    Quote by Australian Guy View Post
    Hi Stuka,

    Yes, stupidly I used it with bare hands, not realising the danger, I thought it would be a bit like citric acid, and ended up with very red and cracked hands the next day

    I have a bad habit of burning my hands, we found a WW1 shell at work last year, and it leaked a brownish substance that burned off the whole nail of one of my fingers when I moved it. That caused some exitement in the city, closed buildings evacuated staff etc......

    Still embarassed to think about my stupidity I always wear all the personal protective equipment I am supplied with these days

    Cheers,

    Grant
    Don't want to alarm you but have your self checked up (don't mean mentally...! )one of thise days, better safe then sorrow.
    Always looking for Belgian Congo stuff!
    cheers
    |<ris

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