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 Post subject: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:29 pm 
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There has already been a post in the Pickelhaube Discussion section about identifying the original owner of this helmet so you can refer to that. Here are the "before pics" of the helmet as I took it out of the box after shipment. The helme is in pretty good shape and complete but as usual there are some common problems. Both visors need to be restitched as does the cloth liner. Unfortunately, for some crazy reason someone in the past has painted the cloth "red", why anyone would ever do this, I have no clue. This was done awhile ago because there is no scent to the paint. Originally as you will see, the liner was the typical beige ribbed silk that we find in many of our helmets. Please excuse the photos, as it is winter time here and I did not want to expose either myself or the helmet for too long a time outside in the cold. Thus, instead of "posing it", as I usually do, I just held the spike and shifted the helmet around for each shot. Let's take a look:

Image

Image
Image

The spike shows some old solder repairs around the top of the neck but it is a true general's spike top and it locks down nicely when screwed down.
Image

The painted liner.....WHY????. It looked secure when I first looked but when I tried to lift it and the sweat band out of the shell to access the inside, the entire cloth came off the sweatband. It had been crudely restitched using black thread and only 3 stitches per side....amateur!

Image
Unlike many, this liner has no tears. The sweat band shows wear but it is not torn either. Alles Gut!

Image
Obviously, Rust Red was not the original colour! :x

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:12 pm 
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Brian- a lot of dealers would say it is blood and it adds to the value :D

James

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:32 pm 
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Thanks James, I knew I could count on you for a "logical" explanation for this. I should have thought about that before. Too bad the painter missed the label and owner signature! :)
Another observation...I believe this to be an early war manufactured helme for the following reasons....the use of split prong stars studs and steel screw posts on the wappen, I could be wrong but these characteristics guide me in this direction. Everything else is pre war quality.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:46 am 
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Brian ;
Thanks for the photos
Looks like a real honest helmet
I like the fact that we know who wore it

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:08 am 
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So true Steve, please send me your picture of v Plessen when you can and I will post it here. BTW, this helmet belongs to the same lucky owner as the first Prussian General Off helme that I restored, shown in an earlier post.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 7:17 pm 
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See you got another challence on this haube

Pretty sure you will sucseed on the job it aint your first isn't it :-"

Good luck :thumb up:

Jonas


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 8:38 pm 
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Brian ;
The photo that I was thinking of
is another Prussian General who's name starts with a " P "
sorry wrong one
I might still have one
I have a few places to look

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:39 pm 
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I'm sure you'll do a great job with this one! I've a General a'la Suite with a lot of crazing to the body (and all of the silver removed from the eagle ](*,) ), but knowing you've mentioned this before, could you walk us through the technique of evening out the finish as you go? You might have a 'shadow' in Wisconsin doing the same to his helmet.

:D Ron

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:09 pm 
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Could you post a pic/s of what you are dealing with Ron? Then I can see exactly what is going on. Glad to help out.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:54 pm 
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By no means am I up to your speed.

As a matter of fact I have never even seen much less held a Generals helmet , and to work on one I would be scared that I would do more harm than good.

My hat is off to you on your skills.

I have read and seen ( on this forum ) on your sand and thinner style of filling crazing lines. Have you tried shellac with black coloring ?

I have tried this on some of my personal rebuilds and it works . Of course sanding is a must and generally it take 2-3 coats to get it were I like it .

But shellac is soft and it sands easy .

I use black paint coloring.

Using fiber glass resin , I am able to get resin coloring locally .


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 3:48 pm 
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b.loree wrote:
Could you post a pic/s of what you are dealing with Ron? Then I can see exactly what is going on. Glad to help out.


I will do that. Thanks!

:D Ron

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:26 am 
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Thanks Pickelhauben, I guess, along with my mentor George Birringer, you just have a love for this old stuff and you want to fix it and help it survive for another hundred years. I started refinishing antique pine furniture, I just wanted to fix it and hopefully make it better. You are just born with this.....it just is.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 6:57 pm 
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Ok, Ron sent me 2 pictures of his general's helmet, all fittings were originally neusilber:
Image

Image
Note, the proper fluted general's spike which screws down flush with the spike neck. It does not have a lip on it that covers the edge of the neck. The Bavarian fluted spike does have this lip. So, if anyone tries to sell you a general officer helmet with the Bavarian style you know that it is incorrect. Regarding the finish issue Ron, I don't generally apply shellac unless, there is an actual chip missing or bare area revealing the leather shell. The crazing that I see on your helme could be filled in with multiple applications of black boot polish. There is an exception though and as usual this depends on the helmet. If I see an area on a helmet where there are multiple cracks in the finish, cracks that I know go right down to the shell surface and ones that I could flake off, then I apply thin washes of shellac to fill in the cracks and stabilize that area. A light sanding (steel wool) between coats to remove shellac from the surface but keeping it in the cracks. This will prevent any accidental flaking or chipping. What I am seeing on your helmet Ron are crazing lines which do not extend right down to the surface of the shell. If this is not the case, then let me know. If you want the shellac formula that I use, email me.
There is an area on the von Plessen General's helme (right hand side, see pic) that should, in my opinion have shellac finish applied to stabilize it. I will post a close up picture of the area tomorrow, so you can all see what I am talking about. I have to contact the owner regarding this and the extra expense.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:58 pm 
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Some pictures of the von Plessen helmet being restored:
Image
Wappen removed.

Image


Rear spine and visor removed. These lines in the finish are important guides to lining up the stitch holes in the rear visor and shell. I can NOT STRESS ENOUGH, the need to make certain that these holes are lined up perfectly. You can not do a perfect and successful restitch unless they are! All the old thread must be removed from shell and visors.

Image
Rear visor cut off from shell using an exacto knife, be careful not to cut into the edge of the liner.

Image In this case, the spine is held on to the visor with a small brass tang. This is typical of the officer spine.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:13 pm 
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Thanks so much to Brian for posting those for me (photobucket isn't cooperating lately). It would be nice to get this one back into shape. The crazing is pretty deep and I'll try to take more photos this weekend. The helmet Brian is working on looks much better on the upper part of the shell than mine.

Cheers all!

:D Ron

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:21 pm 
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Very interesting helmet this one. It's a terrible shame that a lot of the crossbase types end up with the 'sunken top' effect. To me this looks really awful and I think I might ask to try to raise that skull. Not so difficult to do in itself but then the metal-work is out of whack as it's been sucked down too and it's almost nigh impossible to reshape it. Are you going to try this Brian?

Also Brian - what type of paint has been used on the liner, do you know? Watercolour do you think? I wonder if anything could be done to rectify that. Alas, probably not.


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:14 pm 
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Hi Mike: Yes, the top could be wet and then raised back into position using a styrofoam head form covered in a plastic bag. The bag stops the leather from sticking to the head. The metal arms of the cruciform base are actually easily bent so they can be re positioned to sit properly. Wetting leather and trying to shape it can be very tricky. I have not had much success in removing dents in the shell for example. I use plain water soaked folded pieces of paper towel so that you can wet a specific area and not the whole shell. For an OR visor, I would soak that for a couple of minutes and then immediately block it into proper shape on the head form with "T" pins. Let it dry in position for at least 3 days, even a week. Soaking time is determined by flexibility of the leather, you want to be able to reshape into the original position without it cracking or breaking.
The danger for example, of wetting this general's top is that if you wet too much the finish will start to flake off. then of course, you have just created another problem. Some people use isopropyl alcohol to wet the leather or a 50% solution of Alc/H20. I have used straight alcohol in the past but did not like how it dried the leather out so much. I had visions of the leather turning to dust eventually, because all the moisture has been sucked out. I may try the 50/50 method on one of my own helmets. Using water or alcohol, will stain the inside of the shell. I have used de mineralized H20 but it still stains. I am often torn on these restorations....do I suggest additional things to be done, once I have the piece and therefore add $ to the original quote? I do not want customers to think that I just look for ways to "jack up" the price. In this case, I had no clue that the silk skull cap had been painted and was totally loose from the sweat band. With the owner's "ok" this will be stitched back in with extra cost added.

PS Mike, I don't know what type of paint was used. I don't think it was oil based as there is no smell but it has stiffened the fabric.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:05 pm 
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Brian, keith here. New to the hobby. What is your technique for sewing the silk liner back in? Thank you and all others for their trmrndous information and insights. I truely appreciate these. Keith


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:46 pm 
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Hi Keith....are you the guy who just outbid me on the one that sold on Ebay today? :) . I need one for an 11th Ulan officer helme restoration. In answer to your question. First, if you have an original stitched into another helmet, carefully pull it up out of the shell and look at how it was stitched. If you do not have an original to examine, I will post some close ups for you, The silk liner is tack stitched, every 3-4 scallops, a small stitch is put between the scallops, slightly below the "V" where they meet. You start stitching at the point where the 2 halves of the liner, the 2 seams meet and you simply stitch around the sweat band putting a stitch in every 3-4 scallops and always just below the point of that "V". There are always 4 creases in the silk in order for it to fit the "oval" of the shell. If you start with the ends of the seams positioned in the middle of the shell these will end up in the proper position when you are done.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:52 pm 
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Brian, thank you for the information. If you were talking about a liner you got outbid on it wasnt me, but I am sorry I didnt even see it. Once again thank you for all the info. Keith


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:31 pm 
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You are welcome Keith. A picture is worth a thousand words so here is one which links to my previous post here:
Image
An OR rear visor..wet and then blocked. This one comes from a Prussian helme in similar condition to Andrew's...collapsed like a deflated football. The rim of the shell was soaked using strips of paper towel and H2O, plastic was placed behind the liner fingers and an antique hat stretcher was placed inside the shell to block it back into shape. It is still drying as we speak.

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:19 pm 
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Rear visor pinned into place...again, those lines must match up! Note as well this is a good place to start pinning from. This visor is now finished, more pics to come once everything is done.

Image

The rear visor is done, front visor pinned before stitching. This was the first one I have done with brass trim left on. The trim is on very tight and I did not want to risk damage. The wappen obviously has warped the visor. Quite often, the finish will melt down over the stitch line in sections and you can see here where holes have been drilled up through a melted spot.
Image

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:55 am 
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I assume in this case where the visor has shrunk so much that there is a gap between it and the visor trim there is nothing you can do?


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:48 pm 
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Glenn, in this case the visor has not shrunk as much as it looks in the picture. I have the trim unpinned and pulled away from the visor in order to access the first stitch hole. It is not as bad as it looks. In the case of bad OR/officer front visor shrinkage, you can cut one end of the trim and drill a new hole but you have to be very careful. You only have one chance to get it right. Usually, the amount to be cut off will be to the edge of the original hole.....cut there and then use a dremel tool to drill a new one for the domed brad.
Of course, if you didn't care, you could simply pull the trim back into position and punch a new hole for the brad! Obviously, I have never done that :)

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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:56 am 
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Thanks Brian, tidy work.


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 Post subject: Re: Prussian General Officer Helmet #2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:54 pm 
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A few pictures of the completed von Plessen helmet:
Image

Image
The white specs, are flakes of snow.

Image

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