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Painting the ol' leather..

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  • Painting the ol' leather..

    Hello all,

    I finally got hired and my old N5A is looking pretty rough. So, I thought I'd bear the new 1010 they gave me while I refurb my old leather. It's in good shape and it's safe, but the finish is horrible. I have sent it back to Cairns twice to have it repainted, but I'd like to do it myself or find someone in the area that does them, as the last time I sent it back...it took forever to have it done.

    Anyone know of someone in MA/CT/RI that refinishes leather helmets?

    If not, any suggestions on paint, ect.??

    Thanks

    Brian

  • #2
    What color do you need to paint it? If it is Yellow give me an email I have a gallon of Sherman Williams Canary Yellow that i used to paint mine then my department changed to black helmets. If you do it your self just remember take your time and put quite a few layers on it.

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    • #3
      If you "just" got hired, how do you already have a helmet? Are you a volley? What did you do, stand up in the flashover simulator a few times???

      Comment


      • #4
        Painting

        When I repainted my leather, I used a citrus based paint stripper and took all the paint off of it. Didn't hurt the leather at all, took a bit of time to get it all off though. Don't sand the leather, you'll just wear it thin and damage it. The paint I used was Painters Touch, Indoor Outdoor Black Satin. It works great, took a few coats to get a good cover but it's great. Resists heat, resists chips, and looks like new.
        I couldn't be happier with it. Plus it's not that ugly flat black, it has a bit of shine to it, makes it look real nice.
        Last edited by FORTff; 09-30-2003, 11:21 PM.

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        • #5
          One CRITICAL thing Id like to add about painting fire helmets...or ANY helmets for that matter is this....even though some people have no choice but to repaint thier helmets,it is STRONGLY advisable not to do this...simply because MOST paint products are highly combustible and NON fire-retardant.If you must paint your helmet then after you paint it,be sure to spray it done really thorough with a fire retardant...otherwise...


          Donna C
          Fire Chief
          Bridge Canyon VFD
          http://cms.firehouse.com/dept/SeligmanAZ

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          • #6
            I have yet to hear of anyone ever having issues of their helmets catching fire after they painted them. I have never heard of anyone using a fire retardent on them either. Once the paint dries, you're good to go. The paint may discolor or chip or peel under high heat, but it should not combust.
            In it's liquid form especially as it's coming from an aerosole can it's highly flammable, but once dried, it's flammability is greatly decreased. As far as I know, there are no fire retardents used on painted helmets, not even Cairns puts anything on them. They just use inferior paint that barely lasts a year before it all peels and chips off.

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            • #7
              WHAT?!!!

              One CRITICAL thing Id like to add about painting fire helmets...or ANY helmets for that matter is this....even though some people have no choice but to repaint thier helmets,it is STRONGLY advisable not to do this...simply because MOST paint products are highly combustible and NON fire-retardant.If you must paint your helmet then after you paint it,be sure to spray it done really thorough with a fire retardant...otherwise...
              Are you serious?

              I'm sorry if I come across as a butthead... But, that's the most ridiculous thing I have read in a while. How do you think helmets are made to begin with? Plastic helmets like some of the older Bullards are not painted, they are colored plastic. Painting them with an enamel paint would probably result in worse chipping and peeling, but hey, it's a plastic junker anyway. Fiberglass like the 1010, for instance, is painted by the manufacturer. If the fire conditions are bad enough that the paint on your helmet has ignited... trust me, you'll never know it, and it won't be because of the paint.
              http://www.sanantoniofire.org

              IACOJ
              Got Crust?

              We lucky few, ... we band of brothers

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              • #8

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                • #9
                  Isn't that what happened to Richard Pryor a few years ago??? He had repainted his leather and next thing ya know - his heads on fire
                  Brian Rowe
                  Paramedic/Engineer
                  Colleton County Fire/Rescue

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by July36
                    One CRITICAL thing Id like to add about painting fire helmets...or ANY helmets for that matter is this....even though some people have no choice but to repaint thier helmets,it is STRONGLY advisable not to do this...simply because MOST paint products are highly combustible and NON fire-retardant.If you must paint your helmet then after you paint it,be sure to spray it done really thorough with a fire retardant...otherwise...
                    As FORTff mentions, once a paint is completely dry, the organics (VOCs) used to keep it in suspension are gone. The resulting film is composed of polymers, resins and pigments. While these may be combustible, in general they are not. They are certainly not flammable. For most paints, at least that you would buy at a Wal-Mart or Ace Hardware, they are also non-toxic when dry.
                    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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                    • #11
                      Re: WHAT?!!!

                      Originally posted by 33motor
                      Plastic helmets like some of the older Bullards are not painted, they are colored plastic. Painting them with an enamel paint would probably result in worse chipping and peeling, but hey, it's a plastic junker anyway. Fiberglass like the 1010, for instance, is painted by the manufacturer. If the fire conditions are bad enough that the paint on your helmet has ignited... trust me, you'll never know it, and it won't be because of the paint.
                      For the record, all thermoplastic helmets use colored plastics during the molding process. This is true of "older Bullards" as well as "newer Bullards" (at least the plastic ones) and "other plastic helmets". Some may not have the color all the way through, but it is molded into the shell.

                      The fiberglass helmets (plastic and fiberglass are the only 2 choices outside leather) are coated with a layer of paint. However, this can be bonded to the fiberglass during the manufacturing process. Also, Bullard and Cairns (I am unsure of others) use a process that embeds color throughout the shell, so scratches and dings still look like the helmet color (not white like they used to in the past).
                      My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

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                      • #12
                        Banana - To respond to your post... I've got 13+ years experience..as career/vollie/paid-on-call and I've been an instructor for about 8 years. I've got two Cairns 5A's and an N5A. One of the 5A's is a mantle-peice..the other saw some early action but has been retired..the N5A has been in service since '93..been painted four times (all by Cairns.)

                        I just got hired in Auburn and need to change the color...from red to black.

                        Ok...here's an update...someone locally recommended the citrus stripper as well..so I stripped it..the stuff works great. As a precaution I bought the "neutralizer" as well and wiped it down really well.

                        So, my new question is what paint works best.. I called Cairns and the Sherman Williams stuff they use at the factory is wicked expensive..and only available by the gallon.

                        Thanks

                        Brian

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                        • #13
                          Try this thread

                          http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=40773

                          Or do a search through the forums for Repainting Helmets
                          Shawn M. Cecula
                          Firefighter
                          IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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                          • #14
                            Have to say Donna I think a salemsmen or someone was "pulling your leg" about the flammability issue.

                            The thinner in the paint is highly flammable -- that's the volatile stuff you smell when you paint something. After it evaporates, the paint itself isn't particularly flammable.

                            You don't see many cars, houses, rooms suddenly flashing over 'cause a spark touched a painted surface.

                            I'm sure it can contribute a small amount to the fire gases, but in the grand scheme of things it's not that much.

                            ==========

                            BT, see my post in the thread Lewiston posted.

                            I've thought about doing the painting as a side-line, but I don't have a good heated workshop and I did stink up my kitchen for a week and had a bit of overspray to clean off my thankfully tiled floor after I did mine!

                            Hardest part of re-painting a helmet is having to borrow an old salad bowl from the quartermaster for the week and a half of doing a good job on the new paint job...and hoping you don't have any calls in between time so no one has to see you wearing it!

                            Good luck in Auburn -- I work in Worcester at the Telegram & Gazette, live in Connecticut so I pass thru there every day...and my best friend lives in Charlton!
                            IACOJ Canine Officer
                            20/50

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                            • #15
                              ok I replied to this right after you posted it and my post is not on here.
                              "I truly believe that tradition is important to the long-term survival of the fire service."-Lt. Andrew Fredricks, FDNY,9-11-01

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