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metal finishes

Posted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:33 am
by phil ainsley
hi all,

im having a pop at making a helm, mac bible style, and im looking for some advice on the finished effect on the outer surface of the metal. obvioulsy i dont wont some horrendous modern polished finnish spoiling the effct of the final piece. i was expecting to be making the helm from mild steel (1.5 mm sides, 2mm top), though any other advice would be welcome. i like the look of the finnish on this helm ... owski.html and im wondering how you might achieve this (kinda pock marked). any advice in general much appreciated, thanks

Re: metal finishes

Posted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:23 am
by gregory23b
What makes you think the pockmarked finish is the final one from a forge?

That modern repro looks like it has been made to show some sort of long-term ageing, or otherwise 'olde' look, which smacks of the 'it all looked old the moment it was made' attitude, similar to having clothes bought pre-stressed and worn out.

That pocking looks like rust pitting that has been sealed, ie what happens to metal that has not been looked after.

The finish looks more than a simple unpolished and not finely ground, which I suspect is where you are coming from.

Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a shiny finish, such finishes were prized, either by polishing or varnishing, across a variety of items.

Re: metal finishes

Posted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:00 pm
by Hobbitstomper
Nothing wrong with shiny helmets but don’t bother polishing off the big scratches. Just take out the small ones to make it shine. Dark and matt helmets seem like a good idea until you wear them in the sun.

I think that finish could be fire scale. Throw it in a forge to trash the metal for a while and it will look like that.

You probably don’t need 2mm thick on the top. 1.5mm will save some weight and be more than adequate (unless you are fighting cavalry with spiky war hammers).

Re: metal finishes

Posted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:05 pm
by Marcus Woodhouse
I'm with Jorge.

Re: metal finishes

Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:47 am
by phil ainsley
thanks for the advice so far, how do i achieve the polished finnish. ie, how do i get rid of the machined finnish that the sheet metal arrives in and turn it into looking like the finnish you see on most helmets? emmery paper? is there a polishing tool for a drill or something else ? if any one can tell me how this is done that would be appreciated.

Re: metal finishes

Posted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:34 am
by Captain Reech
A polishing kit for a hand drill will save you a lot of time (Unless, like me, you've managed to jam the chuck on your drill!) to achieve a high shine you really need to finish by hand with an abrasive metal polish (I believe there are some who swear by Autosol). If you want to do it the authentic (ie really hard work) way there are lots of threads about with people discussing it, every tinny has his own special theory!

Re: metal finishes

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:10 pm
by Mark Griffin
The helm shown, along with all Gregorys comments has been machine polished after construction. Mirror polishing steel is not a problem using medieval techniques. Just takes a heck of a long time and a lot of effort. handy access to a waterwheel is useful too! Or use a 13amp socket, the modern version.