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Stopping or cleaning the rust on the inside of a M1?


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I just picked up this early fixed loop, front seam. There was still moisture between the liner and shell so I'm letting it dry out right now. My question is, what next? Try to clean it, leave it, or something else? I don't want it to get any worse, the hardware in the liner is just about rusted out. Thanks!

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I would just make sure they are both dry. Keep them by a dehumidifier maybe and even better to have a small weather station like they sell at Walmart to make sure you know the actual humidity.

 

Once they are stabilized take a microfiber or other such lint free towel and wipe off any of the rust dust from the area that you can.

 

Once they are mated back together as long as they are stored in a humidity/temperature controlled environment it should not progress any more.

 

Anything you put on it will risk getting it on the liner or it looking 'greasy' forever IMO.

 

-Brian

 

 

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I just picked up this early fixed loop, front seam. There was still moisture between the liner and shell so I'm letting it dry out right now. My question is, what next? Try to clean it, leave it, or something else? I don't want it to get any worse, the hardware in the liner is just about rusted out. Thanks!

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Go to the second page of this helmet forum and find the thread entitled "Cleaned M1 Helmet". The thread was locked down so you will see one of those yellow triangle thingies. Look at a helmet that I cleaned up. Look particularly at the thing I used to clean it. It is a product used to remove rust and not hurt gun bluing. I tried it a couple of years ago on an M1 and it worked like a charm. I did it again recently and I think it took the helmet from junk to a very usable piece. These things cost about 5 bucks the last time I bought some. They work and it isn't hard work! Check it out. I added a photo of the helmet before I worked on it and after. See for yourself.

Hope this helps.

Ronnie

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Here's another shot of some bad rust. Before and after.

In the first two photos down close to the rim and on the back side you can see the rust. It doesn't show up as bad as it really was. The last photo shows no rust.

Again hope this helps.

Ronnie

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So you took a helmet from original to a shiny altered piece?

 

 

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Here's the shell in question. It's IDd, came from the grandson of a WW2 captain, veterinarian corps. Lot number of 392A, early raised bar strap hardware, but was left in a damp attic since 1945 or so.

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Thanks for the pics, Ronnie. I'd like to stop the rust from getting any worse but there seems to be a huge disagreement over leaving it original vs cleaning off rust.

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As for the liner, it is a Seaman Paper, heavily rusted hardware, nape strap and liner strap are gone, and the remaining leather is shot. Not much to save here.

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Thanks for the pics, Ronnie. I'd like to stop the rust from getting any worse but there seems to be a huge disagreement over leaving it original vs cleaning off rust.

 

Why has this become such a big concern with everyone all of a sudden? Unless you plan on keeping this helmet in a dank basement or barn or plan on leaving it outside the rust will not continue or get any worse for probably as long as you own it.

 

If the helmet were a total relic an falling apart, then yes trying to keep what's left would totally be an issue. But here its just a little rust spot, let it be,

 

Ive had a 508th relic on my shelf for several years now, I have done nothing to it but dusted it. It still look exactly the same as the day I go it because like most civilized human beings in 2016, I live in a climate controlled indoor dwelling.

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As I'm not primarily a helmet collector I was simply asking for advice on how to keep things from getting worse as I have never in 40+ years seen something that is rusty get better on its own. So judging by your sarcastic comment, I assume you advocate leaving it as is.

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Matt many of these guys are pretty set in their ways when it comes to messing with a helmet. I understand that in some situations but there are times such as on the one I removed the rust from, that it's just better for me to do that. I was just showing you a way to remove that rust spot on the interior of your helmet. If you want it gone go to the web site on the package of the product I pictured and order a couple. In less than ten minutes that rust spot will be gone. The amazing thing is there will be green paint underneath it. It will not damage the paint. But these folks are giving you good advise too.

Ronnie

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My comment wasn't sarcastic its the truth. What you are looking at took 70+ years to get there. And as you said when you got the helmet there was a bit of water in it which has been removed. Since you are taking it to what I would assume is a climate controlled home, you are eliminating the exposure to the environment that would allow it to rust further. Once rust is there it doesn't just continue, without the propper environment. And you are right its not going to get better, but If you are just placing it on a shelf in your home its not going to get any worse either.

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Understood. This is the first helmet I've ever acquired that still had water in it. I figured Step 1 was to remove the liner and allow it to dry out. I didn't know what Step 2 was (hence this post). I know back in the old days, oiling the shell or shellacking it were things people did, but those options have been resoundingly reversed since and I wasn't sure what the current thinking was on the subject. The moisture has nearly destroyed the liner and restoring it seems pointless, so I thought I should try to preserve the shell as is without further damage.

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Understood. This is the first helmet I've ever acquired that still had water in it. I figured Step 1 was to remove the liner and allow it to dry out. I didn't know what Step 2 was (hence this post). I know back in the old days, oiling the shell or shellacking it were things people did, but those options have been resoundingly reversed since and I wasn't sure what the current thinking was on the subject. The moisture has nearly destroyed the liner and restoring it seems pointless, so I thought I should try to preserve the shell as is without further damage.

 

Yeah let it dry out and I would think you wild be good to go. From those pics it looks like you have a very nice untouched helmet and liner set, which in and of it self is hard to come by anymore. :)

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Matt many of these guys are pretty set in their ways when it comes to messing with a helmet.

 

You don't say? :o

 

I feel like I wandered into a minefield reading some of the posts on this topic in the helmet forum, the Mods should put up warning flags or something! Thanks for your suggestions though!

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GeneralCheese

I just let rusty shells air dry, then wipe off the rust flakes with a dry paper towel so they don't make a mess everywhere.

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Thanks! It wasn't water because after 3 days, it hadn't dried and felt oily. I went ahead and wiped it out and replaced the liner.

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Matt many of these guys are pretty set in their ways when it comes to messing with a helmet. I understand that in some situations but there are times such as on the one I removed the rust from, that it's just better for me to do that. I was just showing you a way to remove that rust spot on the interior of your helmet. If you want it gone go to the web site on the package of the product I pictured and order a couple. In less than ten minutes that rust spot will be gone. The amazing thing is there will be green paint underneath it. It will not damage the paint. But these folks are giving you good advise too.

Ronnie

agree 100% the helmet ronnie did shows now evidence of damage even magnified. If you were going to take the ruse removing route I'd use this method.

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I have used the product that Ronnie used on a limited basis and it has worked for me.

Frankly I don't really see a problem in trying to mitigate a small portion of rust on the underside of the helmet where nobody is going to see it anyway.

 

Personally I would get one of these pads and scrub just the circle of rust area with it.

Just to take off the worst of it.

Then I would wipe it with a paper towel to get rid of the dust residue.

If you do that, I don't think it would noticeably change or alter anything other than to get rid of some of the rust build up.

 

If you opt to leave it alone, I don't think it would be a problem either.

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As for the liner, I have used an UNUSED paint brush to essentially dust the inside of a liner when it is really dirty.

I use the brush gently just to remove the worst of it.

Then just blow out the residue.

That will leave it un-cleaned but still get rid of unwanted dirt.

 

Again, completely up to you as to whether you want to do any cleaning or just leave it be.

It is YOUR helmet.

 

This is a hot issue.

Some people take the position that any cleaning is destroying history.

Others take the point of view that dirt from lying in an old attic is not really history and cleaning is not a problem.

I generally leave things along but in limited circumstances I have done some minor cleaning.

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Burning Hazard

From personal experience:

 

Leave your helmet dusty/rusty = when selling, guys e-mail you saying it's garbage and in "poor condition", worth $5....

 

Clean your helmet = destruction of history....

 

sigh

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From personal experience:

 

Leave your helmet dusty/rusty = when selling, guys e-mail you saying it's garbage and in "poor condition", worth $5....

 

Clean your helmet = destruction of history....

 

sigh

 

+1

 

look at wood antiques, how many times have you seen oh well it would be worth more with its original finish. Or guns that have been cleaned or knives that have been sharpened.

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