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Relic rusting again

Article about: Hello Adolf With a helmet like this there is a fine line between restoration & ruination. Stabilisation of the rust without losing character & history should be the main concern. The

  1. #11

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    Hello Adolf
    With a helmet like this there is a fine line between restoration & ruination. Stabilisation of the rust without
    losing character & history should be the main concern. These helmets should be enjoyed for what they are.
    You will never turn them into something they are not.

    All the best

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  3. #12

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    Good evening and Merry Christmas everyone

    Thank-you so much for all of your input, very much appreciated. The spirit of camaraderie on these forums is fantastic !

    Ok, now to the helmet :-(

    As I mentioned, the helmet was ground-dug at Normandy, St Mere Eglise and from I can gather the ground is often damp. The sand that I did save from inside the inner ring is very red indicating a pretty rich soil. Both very bad news for any buried helmets, especially those with cracks and holes. The pictures that I put up really don't convey just how bad the rust was. The whole thing was one big rust bubble after the other, especially the inside. Now I live on the coast and after a few months I noticed major flacking and realised that I would lose the helmet sooner rather than later. That led to my decision to "restore" the old lid.

    In hind sight, I don't think I would have attempted this project if I had known then that the rust would continue. It's like cancer. I must say that it has been an interesting journey with the lid. Finding the single Decal was great and then discovering the bullet hole (hidden under what must have been a camo covering) through the top was very exciting. I travel a lot up and down the coast and my helmet has become a travel companion of sorts with me working on it at the various hotels and B&Bs. Money-wise, I never sell any of the things I collect so I'm fortunate not to have to factor-in resale when I make a purchase.

    I have in the interim secured two more relics from the Ardennes region (Battle of the Bulge). They are in a much better condition and feel structurally sound (unlike my Normandy one). My intention is this ... have them displayed under lights with the "restored" helmet, the one of the Ardennes lids "restored" on one side only (thinkTwo-Face from Batman) then the 2nd Ardennes lid completely unrestored. I have purchase three replica M35s and intend attempting to replicate the camo, etc. of some of the various theatres the Germans fought in.

    In closing, thank-you all for the input and Merry Christmas !



  4. #13

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    hi adolf ,thanks for sharing your thoughts on your future projects ,at least youve taken on board the advice given so something good has come out of this ,please post up pictures of the two relic stahlhelms you have purchased im sure we would all like to see them ,merry christmas to you too ,james

  5. #14

    Thumbs up Re: Relic rusting again

    Quote by Adolf Reichmann View Post
    Apologies for the inconvenience, it's my first posting and an honest mistake. Learning as I go :-) Thank-you for your patience with the 'new guy".
    Don't be too disheartened, we all do things like this at some time and rusty relics are some of the most difficult and frustrating things for collectors ( we all wish they were in 'as-new' condition ! )

    You have come to the right place, however. Search long enough, and you will find on this Forum much advice as to how to get the most enjoyment from your hobby.

    FWIW, I only have one German helmet - a rusty relic found in the Ardennes many years ago. The rust was so bad that I allowed it to dry thoroughly, then brushed the loose rust away very lightly with a soft bristle brush. Then I used the technique mentioned by a previous poster : applying a beeswax solution. That was nearly ten years ago, and no further rust or deterioration has appeared since.

    Welcome to the Forum - and enjoy your collecting in 2013 !

  6. #15

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    You will never stop rust it continues i used to be a sheet metal worker and over the christmas period we would store mild steel panels in the factory during the two week shutdown.We used to soak them completely in duck oil some panels by the time we had got back had drawn the oil in and the rust was all over them.We on return discovered bad rust and used orbital sanders to remove back to bear metal and guess what the rust came back to haunt us we soon learnt.Every year from then on all jobs would be sprayed with pre paint etching and guess what no rust! Just thought id share this guys but people can only learn from their mistakes and to me every restored relic is a mistake the minimum disturbance should always be used because these things are so fragile now.Just remember when you buy militaria who even knows if your item was ever used (unless you have provenance) these relics were actually in the combat areas so to me are the things we should try to look after more without ruining them as they were left for us to discover.If only these items could talk they are priceless especially in places they are found!

  7. #16

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    Quote by Adolf Reichmann View Post
    Good evening Doug

    Thank-you very much for your assistance. Apologies for the inconvenience, it's my first posting and an honest mistake. Learning as I go :-) Thank-you for your patience with the 'new guy".

    Merry Christmas


    No worries, here to help!

  8. #17

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    Good evening everyone

    Happy New Year to all, may you have an awesome 2013.

    Thanks again to everyone who provided their insight into my little (misguided) "project". I have spent loads of time reading as many threads on the forum as possible to (belatedly) increase my basic knowledge wrt German helmets.

    Something made me go back to the photos I took of my German relic before I started the "restoration" (using the term very, VERY loosely). I always assumed that the decal was of the Eagle clutching the Swastika but now it seems to me as if the decal remnants on my helmet were of a white background. This is where your experience will help me know a little bit more about my project. I bought the helmet from a South African auction and the seller indicated it was ground-dug outside of or near St Mere Eglise in Normandy, France. I have had great difficulty trying to determine what German units where in the area at the time.

    The question is: Do the standard German Eagle and Swastika decals become white to the extent shown in my pictures or is there a possibility that the decal is an SS one ? I don't recall finding any decal remains on the other side of the helmet so I assumed it was the single decaled Heer helmet. Did the SS also have one decal helmets ?

    Your help is merely for my own understanding of the helmet. No resale. The "restoration" is going ok(ish) and I will post a few pictures once I have made a bit more progress. I will also post pics of the two unrestored "Ardennes" helmets I have been very fortunate to acquire.

    Thanks again in advance,

    Kind regards


  9. #18

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    Hi Adolf,
    It was probably just the white base of a heer decal ( an SS one would have been on the opposite side anyway )
    A moot point however as the helmet is no longer like this.

    The "trick" to stalling rust growth is to stop oxygen from getting to the surface - as Martin mentioned, beeswax is a good way ( although it will darken the finish and shine it a bit ) or a FLAT ( matt ) finish spray lacquer ( such as fixative that museums use ) ....... oxidation needs OXYGEN and if you prevent that from reaching the surface then the item can be stabilised as best it can be.

    Good luck with future relics!
    Cheers, Dan
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  10. #19

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    Hello again

    For reference I have found the photo below on one of the forums dealing with an authentic SS Normandy helmet. I'm starting to get the very horrible feeling that I might have destroyed a relic SS helmet rather than a run-of-the-mill Heer helmet. My saving grace might be that the SS didn't appear to have fought at St Mere Eglise in Normandy, France .......... please put me out of my misery

  11. #20

    Default Re: Relic rusting again

    hi adolf danmark summed it up as the ss decal is on the other side

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