I have a relic condition M1 helmet I recovered this past summer from a Pacific War battlefield. Regarding battlefield relics I am a firm believer of leaving them in "as is" condition and not cleaning or treating them with anything, but this helmet is deteriorating a little everyday as tiny flecks of rust fall off. I have the helmet displayed in a climate controlled environment in a cabinet on a glass shelf so I have been able to keep an eye on the overall deterioration since putting it in the cabinet. I would like to do what I can do to stabilize and slow the deterioration process of the helmet. Looking for tried and tested professional conservation techniques. Suggested products I should treat the helmet with? Ideally looking for a product that could be applied by spray can. Thank you in advance for any and all advice.
preservation of battlefield pickup relic condition helmet
Posted 09 January 2018 - 11:27 AM
Posted 06 March 2018 - 06:27 AM
Supposedly, if you have a very rusty relic, putting it in distilled water for a few weeks while changing the water regulary helps stop the rusting (extracts salt and minerals from the object that would cause further rust). It is definitely very important to keep the helmet in a dry atmosphere. If it has been dry for a while (I would say at least a few months) and loose rust has been removed, you can coat it with oil to preserve and seal it.
Ballistol is a very good oil for cleaning and preserving rusty metal, many relic collectors use it. It is a natural non-toxic product and can be purchased in liquid form or as a spray. It doesn't change the relics color, although it can give it a somewhat darker patina which may look better actually. If you spray it on the relic about every 6 months for the first couple of years, it should seal it and preserve it.
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