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Author Topic: Has anyone attempted to make their own Pith Helmets?  (Read 6314 times)
andrew craven
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« on: February 26, 2012, 03:45:17 pm »

 Pith helmets come from the peoples of the Burmese jungle...a hat to protect their heads in the pressing sun of that region. To look at it further, its very much the same sort of hat as those large lampshade looking hats worn by the Japanese and other near cultures. Samurai helmets, could they be seen as a development of this sort of hat?

 Anyway, since the pith is supposed to have been a simple people's hat from Burma, I am wondering whether such a practice of making one's own pith helmet could be seen in the dibble dabbles of the churling steampunk!?
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Uncle Arthur
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 04:42:37 pm »

To me, as cheaply as they can be had making one isn't worth the effort. Your mileage may vary .
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 04:48:26 pm »

The Burmese 'pith' were cheaply woven straw. I'd rather buy something more solid. So I did. Smiley
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Uncle Arthur
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 06:08:47 pm »

Village hat shop has some darn nice prices.   http://www.villagehatshop.com/mens-hats.html
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andrew craven
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2012, 07:10:47 pm »

Excellent website. Reading their intro into the Pith. Sounds like a fair trade business going on with the Vietnamese.

 I was wondering, if one used strips of bark tied together and water sealed with filler or something? Looking towards it being practical in the lovely english rain!? My apologies...the rain world wide from where ever my dear reader is from.

 Perhaps if an individual made their own, it would break the mould of the usual meticulate cone and polo design pith helmets. Perhaps looking towards designs like the Samurai helmets. Piths do seem very cheap and it would be on my concience with regards to those who make these piths for export that they ill afford to live without. Lest the middle man is not fairly trading with those crafts-people. Steampunk culture is very much about DIY other than tat and cheapoid accumulation. And we can all agree that the Pith is one of those iconic elements that is common to see at events and in art. I have seen a brown leather design with the steampunk tag that I found different. Would be excellent to see something else!?
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 08:28:12 pm »

Had a go at this a while back in a thread entitled 'Taking the Pith'.

http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,29640.0.html
The basis for the structure was a couple of Hanging Basket liners  made of papier mache.

https://www.google.com/search?q=hanging%20basket%20liner&biw=1024&bih=491&sei=O4NKT_SfO6XQ0QWP59z7Bg&tbm=isch

Results were not too bad.



The shell is covered in Jesmonite resin with a coarse weave mutton cloth embedded in the surface to give the woven texture.
Head cradle is made of plastozote tubes threaded over a braided cord and sown through the body of the hat.

A coat of white or khaki emulsion finishes it off.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 08:32:07 pm by Dr cornelius quack » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 01:09:20 am »

With Piths relatively cheap buy one and heavily mod it.
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Uncle Arthur
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 03:06:44 am »

I say Dr Quack! Where ever did you find an avocado that large?
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Dr cornelius quack
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 08:51:10 am »

I say Dr Quack! Where ever did you find an avocado that large?

Not just one, I bought a pear.
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Uncle Arthur
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 05:55:10 pm »

Bada bing bada boom!
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Fenwick Tesla-Smythe
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 11:50:05 pm »

You can get modifiable piths for less than a fiver.   There's this french (white) one on ebay http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Replica-French-Military-Pith-Helmet-Fancy-Dress-White-/370123218555?pt=UK_Collectables_Militaria_LE&hash=item562d101e7b for under £15 inc PP.
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akumabito
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« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2012, 12:05:45 pm »

There's also the old-style Asian folding hat. Not sure where they originate, I've seen them all over South-East Asia.. Mostly worn by elderly women to be honest. But with a fw design tweaks and a better choice of cloth (rather than the horrific flower motife), you could end up with a perfectly workable folding pith helmet.. They're a bit like a fan/hat hybrid..





There are also quite a few of them on Alibaba.com but they all require gargantuan minimum orders..
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OswaldBastable
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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2012, 03:28:50 pm »

I've often thought about it but I suspect its beyond my meager abilities. Though I may still have a go, apart from the fiddliness of moulding, the biggest issue for me would be getting the shape right. The problem of the commonly available version of the Foreign service helmet is it flares out too much and looks a bit squat compared to photos. The obvious way to make a mold would involve getting a hold of an original which of course is expensive and if I could afford one I probably wouldn't need to make one, so a bit catch 22 for me
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« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2012, 07:57:18 am »

Excellent website. Reading their intro into the Pith. Sounds like a fair trade business going on with the Vietnamese.

 I was wondering, if one used strips of bark tied together and water sealed with filler or something? Looking towards it being practical in the lovely english rain!? My apologies...the rain world wide from where ever my dear reader is from.

 Perhaps if an individual made their own, it would break the mould of the usual meticulate cone and polo design pith helmets. Perhaps looking towards designs like the Samurai helmets. Piths do seem very cheap and it would be on my concience with regards to those who make these piths for export that they ill afford to live without. Lest the middle man is not fairly trading with those crafts-people. Steampunk culture is very much about DIY other than tat and cheapoid accumulation. And we can all agree that the Pith is one of those iconic elements that is common to see at events and in art. I have seen a brown leather design with the steampunk tag that I found different. Would be excellent to see something else!?

What has annoyed me with most of the pith helmets coming out of Vietnam is that they all have that same reed green lining color that my NVA helmet is covered in.  (my days as a Viet Nam War reenactor and even then for the time period I was covering, it was TOO GREEN)  It's not so much the color, but the "purpose" of the material.  It just makes me a tad uneasy. 
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« Reply #14 on: December 22, 2012, 03:58:27 pm »

I do apologize, this is a bit late for you, but for others who are looking to  make their own pith helmets, papier mache is DIY gold. If you are looking for a regular pith, as these other lovely people suggested, purchasing one is probably best. However, I am making a stylized miniature pith for a con (which I have not been able to find for sale), and I am finding the papier mache lovely as always. Simply blow up a balloon to the size of your helmet and adhere newspaper strips to the balloon after soaking them in boiled flour and water. Once the helmet is dry, pop the balloon with a pin and paint your helmet. You can use a bit of cardboard with a hole the size of your balloon to hold the balloon upright as you craft.
Happy DIYing!
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Mr Peter Harrow, Esq
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« Reply #15 on: December 22, 2012, 05:11:42 pm »

I used a swede and Miliput for my cat's pith, well he is quite a hunter after all.
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