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Author Topic: The hat and helmet modification thread  (Read 13538 times)
Miranda.T
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« Reply #50 on: April 13, 2018, 06:15:32 pm »

The woodstain has certainly done an excellent job of bringing out the pattern in the base.

Yours,
Miranda.
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« Reply #51 on: April 13, 2018, 09:36:57 pm »

The woodstain has certainly done an excellent job of bringing out the pattern in the base.

Yours,
Miranda.

This is what I got so far. The flaps are actually tied in the back of the finial, as they would be. It may not be necessary to use any snap buttons after all just the leather straps which are long enough to tie in the back. The rossette and finial are just set on top. The idea is to sew Velcro wool triangles to the faux leather segments at the top of the hat, and stick a panel of Velcro hooks to the bottom of the rosette.

The colour of the stain has lightened a bit after 24 hours of drying. Next step will be perhaps adding a bit of wax as the wood has lost its shine as shown in the previous photos.

Using a 1 inch cloth elastic band, a stapler and safety pin, I made a "belt" for the belt buckle to be tied to the hat, which you can barely see if you squint. This may or may not be a permanenet form of attachment, but I like the idea of using a belt or some form of band on the hat, and the belt hold the metal piece really formly in place (The eagle talons actually rest on the visor of the cap).


« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 09:55:46 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2018, 04:08:30 pm »

Variation:

I found an old faux leather belt in my closet. The belt is very soft, a good match for the  faux leather in the hat. The belt is brown, not black as I would prefer. However, I found that the belt made an excellent addition. It stiffened the hat and made it fit properly on my pinhead cranium  Grin but more importatly it held the belt buckle very firmly. You can only see the belt from the front as it is hidden behind the flaps, but it conceals the buckle's hardware.

It ocurred to me that the belt can serve another purpose. In the US Army (as in many European armies), there were colour codes to the uniforms (ie Red detailing = artillery). This means that the belt can be used to impart some service branch insignia to the hat.











I also applied a coat of polyurethane wood varnish to the rosette. The difference is very obvious... The wood stain had dried up and looked very grayish (see last set of photographs). The varnish brough back the colour. Not wanting to ruin the furniture-like finish of the finial, I just added a second layer of wood stain; if I want to make the finial shinier, I can just add wax to it.


Cheers,

J. "Having Fun" Wilhelm
« Last Edit: April 14, 2018, 04:45:21 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Miranda.T
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« Reply #53 on: April 14, 2018, 10:01:29 pm »

Looking really good; the belt is a great addition. It fits in so well one could imaging it's always been part of the design. Great job!

Yours,
Miranda.
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« Reply #54 on: April 16, 2018, 09:47:29 pm »

Looking really good; the belt is a great addition. It fits in so well one could imaging it's always been part of the design. Great job!

Yours,
Miranda.

Thank you dear Miranda! I'm happy with it too. Now I have to work on the attachment of the spike. I carved a small indentation on the bottom of the resette to allow space for the "button" of the cap, and, following a sugegstion by my room-mate, I will add a small neoprene foam gasket to conceal the space taken by the Velcro tape. About 2-3 mm of space, otherwise the rosette would look like it is "hovering" over the hat.
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« Reply #55 on: April 24, 2018, 09:49:59 am »

Attaching the spike... Its been a 3 day ordeal.

I tried going on the Velcro route.  Was not pleased with the results. I wisely chose to not do any stitching, and just cut out the elliptical Velcro segments to see how the spike behaved under its own weight, etc. On the insistence of my room mate, I made an elliptical gasket out of 2mm  neoprene foam to cover any gaps that may show due to the thickness of the Velcro tape. Otherwise it'd look like the rosette was "hovering" over the hat.


He was right. In fact downright prophetic. The gasket was not enough, actually. The rosette lifted from the Velcro base, on account that the shape of the hat is curved. I realised that in order for the rosette to fit flush with the artificial leather, one must secure the rosette to the leather along the edge of the rosette, whichever method you choose Real Pickelhaubes, American spike helmets and and British helmets have dual plates underneath the hat and above, which force the base to be flush with the surface of the hat, be it boiled leather, (Prussian), Felt (American), or any other semi flexible material, apart from a metal helmet.

So I decided that the rosette needed a different method of attachment. One which could "pin" the rosette to the flexible hat along the edge of the rosette, or as close to the edge as possible. Which is when I decided to go back to the snap button idea I described in the early stages of the project.  I needed to spend more money, but it was worth it. $5 later I came back from the super store with a pack of large snap buttons and special hammer and anvil for the installation of said buttons.

As I predicted, the snap buttons are extremely versatile. They have perforations that allow both the male and female sides of the snap to be screwed to a surface, such as wood.  I found some brass screws of suitable size and proceeded to attach the snap buttons to the rosette after careful measurements. I kept the neoprene gasket.


To mark the correct locations for the holes on the hat, I used more screws and attached them to the female snaps I had screwed to the wood.  The wood turned out to be very noble, not splitting under the pressure of the screws. The additional screws were used as "pokes" to mark the surface of the hat, so that I could then use a sharp metal punch tool.


I then punched holes through the soft hat and the interior fur with the idea of using the provided snap rivets


I absolutely hated punching holes through this magnificent hat. But now I can see that the amount of damage to the hat done by the stitching of the Velcro would be much greater than the punched holes. In the end I didn't need but four holes. This saved me a very large amount of time and effort as I didn't have to stitch anything.

As it happened the fur lining plus the leather turned out to be way too thick for the provided rivets. These snaps were never meant to hold together so much fabric. However, I noted that the rivets and the snaps themselves had a hole that is just wide enough to accept industrial / construction type rivets, the kind that you install with a giant pliers-looking tool. I've used these rivets countless times in a great many projects in aluminium and steel types in various length. Wonderfully adaptable and useful method of attachment.

I chose long shaft 1/8" aluminium rivets, to avoid any problems with oxidation, and later I'll explain below why it's better to use aluminium and not steel.


As you can see from the picture, there is a large aluminium remnant that protrudes way past the lip of the snap. This is a problem because it will not allow the female and male snaps to close. The excess material has to be cut off. Luckily, aluminium is very soft and it can be "munched away" by a sharp pair of miniature wire cutters. The other solution would be to use a Dremel to grind away the excess material. I chose the former method which gave me ugly but passable results.


The male snap buttons can be hidden later, as either there will be a wooden rosette on top, or I can use  4 "dummy" female buttons I made (see below), which should keep the elements from leaking into the hat during inclement weather.


Finally I can install the spike on the hat


And tie the two flap straps into a square knot behind the spike. I gave the finial/spike itself a layer of polyurethane as I noticed that the wood stain kept getting lighter and duller. I was trying to avoid ruining the super-smooth finish of the hardwood finial, but in the end the polyurethane was absorbed well into the wood, and gave me a deep furniture quality finish.


There is no back and forth play to speak of on the spike. It sits well on the leather and is fairly straight, which was not the case when I tried it with Velcro.  Best of all the installation was less than 4 hours between breaks and dinner and what not. So very quick to do.

I've been very disappointed with Velcro in the past. It seems to me the material is less practical than is advertised. A number of issues, from glue grip, to difficulty in sewing, make older types of attachments a better alternative. In this case, I know that as long as the artificial leather maintains it's integrity, those snap buttons will still be there. I'm sot so sure I could have made that claim with a Velcro installation

This hat is done!  Cheesy


Cheers,

Adm. Johannes Wilhelm, A/K/A Lt. Gen Julin Wodinaz Bahlmann
United States Airship Orca
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 09:04:28 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
ForestB
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« Reply #56 on: April 25, 2018, 02:35:12 am »

Nice results!
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Please take a look at my website, see what I create...

http://www.forestbetz.weebly.com
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« Reply #57 on: April 25, 2018, 04:44:27 am »

Nice results!

Thank you! I'm pretty happy about the way it turned out. And happier that the project is finished *whew.*

It's a good conversation piece and I've had a chance to wear it before the weather got too hot. I'm afraid it'll spend a lot more time on my shelf. Weather is getting warmer.
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #58 on: April 26, 2018, 10:50:17 pm »

A triumph! And if it doesn't get too much wear in the near future, it will be all the sweeter when the autumn rolls around again  Smiley

Yours,
Miranda.
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« Reply #59 on: April 28, 2018, 07:10:09 pm »

A triumph! And if it doesn't get too much wear in the near future, it will be all the sweeter when the autumn rolls around again  Smiley

Yours,
Miranda.

Oh! I think it will last  long time. Perhaps the only thing is trying to keep the fur clean. The fur is very fine, so over time it could become matted like a stuffed animal's fur. I'm actually quite sure it could be dry cleaned as well, given the materials... It's all synthetic, the one and single advantage of synthetic fur and leather over the real thing.

Dealing with real fur and leather is actually very difficult. Leather can only be washed in soap and water, because the dry clean chemicals strip the tanning off the leather. Washing leather with soap, still strips all the natural oils from the leather and fur, so you have to replace the oils again (reconditioning). That is an expensive process. I only know one business in Houston that can do it - all fur and leather received by dry cleaning outfits in Austin (a city of roughly 1 million) has to be sent to them in Houston!
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 07:28:22 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #60 on: April 30, 2018, 06:38:31 am »

I just heard from my employer a few days ago. I will transfer to a new shop they purchased further up north. It means I get to keep my job indefinitely, but I will have to look for extra income by September, or a new job.

This does mean however that I can at least window-shop for other items to complete the accessories to the hat. Today, I purchased a small wooden drawer knob to place on the hat instead of the sharp finial, when I want to avoid poking people on the bus  Grin


I also found a larger wood finial at my local hardware shop. I had previously discarded this design for being too ugly and "green onion" like.


The finial is substantially fatter at 1-3/4 inch maximum girth, but a 1/2 inch shorter than the spike finial I finished, but I figure that it would be a great base for the plume/tassel. I'm also looking at curtain tassels. Many of them are 10 inches long, which should be long enough to drape cover the entire height of the hat:



This is a wild guess on what this would look like. The "onion" finial is quite wide but the tip is very narrow, so the tip is buried in the knot of the tassel. I have scaled the finial (3.75 inch) to the height of the hat (6 inch) and I have assumed that the whole tassel including knot is 10 inches as they write (I ignore if that is just for the "hair" of the tassel or the whole thing)

« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 08:47:28 am by J. Wilhelm » Logged
Miranda.T
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« Reply #61 on: April 30, 2018, 07:12:41 pm »

I just heard from my employer a few days ago. I will transfer to a new shop they purchased further up north. It means I get to keep my job indefinitely, but I will have to look for extra income by September, or a new job.

This does mean however that I can at least window-shop for other items to complete the accessories to the hat. Today, I purchased a small wooden drawer knob to place on the hat instead of the sharp finial, when I want to avoid poking people on the bus  Grin


I also found a larger wood finial at my local hardware shop. I had previously discarded this design for being too ugly and "green onion" like.


The finial is substantially fatter at 1-3/4 inch maximum girth, but a 1/2 inch shorter than the spike finial I finished, but I figure that it would be a great base for the plume/tassel. I'm also looking at curtain tassels. Many of them are 10 inches long, which should be long enough to drape cover the entire height of the hat:



This is a wild guess on what this would look like. The "onion" finial is quite wide but the tip is very narrow, so the tip is buried in the knot of the tassel. I have scaled the finial (3.75 inch) to the height of the hat (6 inch) and I have assumed that the whole tassel including knot is 10 inches as they write (I ignore if that is just for the "hair" of the tassel or the whole thing)



I'm very glad the work situation is stabilised, if not ideal. So, how long until the plume is added?  Smiley

Yours,
Miranda.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #62 on: April 30, 2018, 08:13:10 pm »

*snip*



I'm very glad the work situation is stabilised, if not ideal. So, how long until the plume is added?  Smiley

Yours,
Miranda.

Could be very soon. The finials were left on the shelf of my local hardware store probably a canceled order, which I didn't dare to grab (since I know how long it takes to get a special order in that store). The real determinant factor is the curtain tassels. That could be a bit tricky unless I find a local store.
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #63 on: April 30, 2018, 09:37:39 pm »

It might be worth scouring your local goodwill shops too.

Yours,
Miranda.
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #64 on: April 30, 2018, 11:27:34 pm »

It might be worth scouring your local goodwill shops too.

Yours,
Miranda.

 So basically I'm hunting for gaudy curtains at Goodwill  Grin
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« Reply #65 on: May 03, 2018, 08:23:04 am »

Re Goodwill:  At my local equivalent curtain ties occasionally turn up in the belt section as well as the fabric section.
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« Reply #66 on: May 03, 2018, 05:05:34 pm »

Re Goodwill:  At my local equivalent curtain ties occasionally turn up in the belt section as well as the fabric section.


Oh! I'm sure I'll find one. I just have to get creative!

Carol Burnett As Scarlett O'Hara In Gone With The Wind! Hysterical!!

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« Reply #67 on: June 27, 2018, 09:51:09 pm »

Well, as Carol Burnett said, "I saw it in the window and I couldn't resist!"  Grin

I found this set of tassles and rope for $5 at a local discount shop close to me. The tassles are about 10 inches long. Not quite as long as a the plume of a British Household Cavalry Helmet, but it's long enough to drape over the length of the fur cap. Also, the colour is three shades of brown and bronze which is not the same as the gold tassels I saw last year. However, I think it will look good as brown will fot the overall colour scheme.


As I discovered with the smaller tassels I bought last year, these mass produced tassels are a delicate affair. They tend to come apart as soon as you cut off the top of the tassle where it connects to the rope. So I had to destroy one tassel just to find out how it was built and be able to use the second tassel.


The "onion" holding the "plume" is a rather heavy piece of plastic wrapped in rope/yarn that is independent of both, the tassel fibres and ropes.  You also have another independent "ring" wrapped in fibres below it between the "onion" proper and the "plume" proper. The fibres of the plume are stringed together like "hair extensions" and that in turn is glued with hot glue to both the "onion" and a giant plastic "golf tee," hidden under the fibres at the bottom, which has a hollow tube that connects with steel wires to the rope on the top of the tassel. Those are the steel wires you have to cut first - hence why the tassel falls apart as soon as you cut them.

The onion will probably be too tall and heavy to have pointing upwards. That is, I will have to turn the tassel upside down, with the "onion" actually being the plume holder from below and attached with a screw to the wood rosette, and use some sort of wood disk glued on top of the the plastic "tee." At two inches in diameter, that should be in similar size and shape to brassy top of the the British Cavalry Helmet plumes.

As I'm rather busy this summer trying to deal with employment issues, progress may be a bit more haphazard than usual.
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Miranda.T
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« Reply #68 on: June 29, 2018, 10:48:53 pm »

That should make a very handsome plume; I'm looking forwards to seeing it in place.

Yours,
Miranda.
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« Reply #69 on: June 30, 2018, 07:12:38 pm »

That should make a very handsome plume; I'm looking forwards to seeing it in place.

Yours,
Miranda.

It will happen very fast dear Miranda. I've found a way to safely detach the onion from the plume. The fibres are actually glued to the ring and the plastic "tee" but not the "onion" proper.  So I have kept the plume with the ring and I will attach it directly on this finial, which I have cut like so:


The finial on the right had already been modified with a brass threaded insert, and I used the double ended wood screw at the bottom, and screwed it on the top instead, where it will go through the tee and the ring holding the plume fibres. Thus the wood finial effectively replaces the onion. The wood finial is significantly lighter while being the same size. At the very top there will be a small wooden cabinet knob which acts as a "nut" to hold the assembly together. I have not taken pictures of the assembly, but it looks solid. The wood will be stained like the other finials I showed. More pictures will follow.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 07:16:27 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged
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« Reply #70 on: July 01, 2018, 08:02:13 am »

That should make a very handsome plume; I'm looking forwards to seeing it in place.

Yours,
Miranda.

This picture illustrates the problem at hand. The"plume" is attached to a ring and a grey plastic "tee." It's very fragile in this state, there isn't much holding the fibres together other than a piece of string and some drops of hot glue. Once the fibres get loose it's almost impossible to bring them back in line.


The gray plastic tee is made of some crude and rather waxy/pasty resin or plastic. Probably something like ABS or PVC. Today I bought a 2 inch wooden disk to cover the top of the plastic (bottom left) which I sanded to give it a bezel of sorts (bottom right), and I had a miniature wood knob to use as finial.


In this photo you can see how the assembly will hold the plume. It's basically like a press. I applied wood stain. Tomorrow I'll apply Polyurethane to give it shine. It's not very well aligned, because the double-tipped screw itself is not very straight, It may not matter as the finial is partially hidden by the plume most of the time.


View of the underside


View from the top




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Miranda.T
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« Reply #71 on: July 01, 2018, 11:20:49 am »

Ingeneous, and the plastic bits very neatly hidden.

Yours,
Miranda.
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yereverluvinunclebert
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« Reply #72 on: July 25, 2018, 12:06:54 am »

Following on from my original pith helmet conversion:



Right click and view image to view image in full size (1197 pixels wide)

18v batteries, tin/copper battery box and 12v fan over-volted to provide a good head draught,

I have replaced the faux leather straps and liner for good and solid real leather chin straps and a leather inner liner.

New photos in next post
« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 12:10:56 am by yereverluvinunclebert » Logged

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yereverluvinunclebert
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« Reply #73 on: July 25, 2018, 12:09:27 am »



Showing new strap and new liner.

The last photo is the car I shall be wearing it in...
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Banfili
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« Reply #74 on: July 25, 2018, 02:03:17 am »

Ooo err, unclebert!
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