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 Post subject: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:12 pm 
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This piece we have seen before, as it belongs to Al aka Czech Legion, he has posted photos previously. I received this when I met both he and his wife at the SOS. These are the usual "before pictures". There are two problems.....the rear of the shell has sunken in and is very dry and hard, second as can be seen the sweat band has pulled off the shell and needs to be restitched. The reshaping of the shell must come first and as we speak it is being rehydrated to get some flexibility back into that part of the shell. The photos:

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The mortar board top on this is actually lacquered covered cardboard for lightness. Obviously, it has curved down over time.

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This type of shrinkage, is typical of officer tschapkas in my experience. For whatever reason, the sides collapse in at the back of the shell. The OR's version, not so much, because the leather is thicker. Solving this is going to be the most challenging part of the job although, the stitching is going to be very "fine".

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:03 pm 
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Brian do you have a trick to straighten the mortarboard?
Bruno


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:31 pm 
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No Bruno, unfortunately, I do not. I can not think of anything that would not compromise it and make things worse.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:03 pm 
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This is going to be a great project !!


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 2:36 pm 
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Ok, the helmet was hydrated for 3 days using a method previously described. This shell was very dry and caved in, there was no way of trying to block it back into shape without hydration. This is what it looks like right now. It is on a plastic covered (plastic bag) head form, back into correct shape and drying. I am going to leave this on the head form for a week just to make certain that the piece holds it's correct shape. The next step will be to restitch the sweatband.

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Things look pretty good now but there is no guarantee that the shell will hold this shape. We are talking 100 yrs to shrink and then 3 days to hydrate. The helmet may have to be placed on a head form permanently. A plastic grocery bag is placed over the styrofoam head form in order to prevent the sweatband from sticking to the head. This is a lesson learned through experience, never let the styrofoam and leather touch. The purpose of the multiple elastics is obvious.

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The fittings had to be taken off before hydration.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 4:26 pm 
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Great job-again !
Thank you for sharing.
Francis


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:59 am 
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Looking forward to seeing how the hardware pretties up! :thumb up:


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 11:35 am 
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Hi Brian,

Thanks for going the extra mile on this helmet in re-shaping it, I appreciate it! It's looking a whole lot better already! =D> :bravo:

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By member glenn66:
Looking forward to seeing how the hardware pretties up! :thumb up:


Not sure that I want the metal fittings shined up on the tschapka. I had mentioned to Brian at the SOS about simply leaving the metal fittings as they are.

The eagle seems to have a lot of mercury fire gilt left on it, and it would probably clean up simply with some warm soapy water.

Best Regards,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:22 pm 
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Yes Al, I did not intend cleaning any fittings as you had not requested that in our conversation at the SOS. So no metal cleaning. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:58 pm 
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Some pictures of the sweatband restitch. I have never done one of these before and the tschapka liner is truly unique. The front part of the sweatband is stitched like a typical officer but the rest of it starting with the split brads holding the trim on is totally different. The pictures:

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The thread has totally rotted out around the rim of the shell. Very fine stitching!

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A pic showing how the stitching stops at the trim brads.

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A picture taken during the first pass of stitching. This is the most difficult because you have to clamp the sweatband as you go round the shell rim.

Image The first stitch pass from the outside of the shell. You can see how the first stitch pass fills in every other hole. Once you reach the other side, you have to stitch back and fill in. The stitch was hard on the rim lacquer and numerous pieces chipped off. This can not be avoided. While I am doing all of this, the shell rim is busy collapsing back into it's original shape. This piece must be kept on a head form from now on as we are fighting decades of the shell not being supported.

Image All stitching has now been replaced but you can see the loss of finish along the rim. The 100 year old lacquer is very brittle, I will try and fill this in with some polish.

Image We have one more problem to deal with and this as you can see is a missing section of finish at the rear of the shell. This also happens to be where the the shell rim insists on folding inward. I am hoping that filling this area in plus the sweatband restitch will add stability to the shell. I have already told Alan that this beautiful rare piece will have to be mounted on some sort of headform to stop the collapse. I have already applied 2 coats of finish to this area and will post pics of the completed project soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:22 am 
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Wow Brian, that's awesome work. It looks like it would have originally. I can't tell that it was ever unstitched! I am in awe! =D> :bravo:

I can't imagine how tedious it was to do this fine stitching! :thumb up:

Best Regards,

Alan


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian Garde Ulan Officer Restoration
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 2:25 am 
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You or the owner can put the top in traction to bring up the droopy corners .

Use a 3/4 in block of wood aprx the size of the mortar board and use C clamps on the corners . Tighting them all of the way may crack the shellac so only tighten a little at a time covering about 2-4 weeks should do it.

Place a thick piece of leather under the clamp's post so it does not give the leather a dimple under the board.


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