Sunday, November 24, 2013

Custom Fire Helmet Shield Process

Sketch then completed shield
Sketch Process - Completed Shield
When folks order a custom fire helmet shield, they usually have an idea of what they'd like, sometimes they have a general concept with colors and shapes.   Some even have their owns logos, patches or designs already done.   No matter what the case I work with them to customize it for a fire helmet shield.  

Customer Provided Patch and Completed Helmet Shield
Customer Provided Patch 
There's no additional cost for artwork.   I'm often ask to provide a sketch before a customer orders,  unfortunately I don't have the time to do so - making a logo can take several hours.    After ordering you're placed in a queue for work.  When your order is up, I'll do a sketch of the shield and send for approval.  After that, I'll begin to carve the leather.

A fresh design just added to the front piece of the helmet shield
Custom Logo Just Added
We use premium cow leather for our shields.     Leather thickness is measured in ounces and each ounce is approximately 1/64th of an inch thick.   Our shields have two pieces of leather:  The front is approximately 13-14 ozs, and the back is around 4-5 ozs, they're stitched together with 100% cotton thread - it will not melt.  Stitching is done primarily for appearance, it finishes the shield nicely.     Black shields are dyed, and then then color is added using a special pliable leather paint.   Different color shields are painted using the same special leather paint - several thin coats are applied, then the images and letters are colored.

From start to finish, it takes 6 to 12 hour to complete.  The stitching is done with a machine, but everything else is done by hand.     Even if you order multiple helmet shields with the same design, there will be small differences in each shield.  Each one is unique.

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