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Reece Nelson




Location: Overland Park KS
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 6:44 pm    Post subject: GDFB Helm         Reply with quote

I was looking into purchasing a german sallet helm from GDFB and wanting to see whats peoples thought of it were.

Iv read that they are mass produced and that a few pieces sometimes come out wrong
Eek! But I thought i can always tweek it myself if it were to come to that.

Has anyone had any issues with this helm? Was the quality pretty good for the price?

Also some other photos would be greatly appreciated



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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't speak for this exact helm , but I did recently purchase the hounskull bascinet (AB0424). My experience is that you must purchase the largest size of the helm they offer in order to insert proper padding (unless you have a really tiny head). You will have to tweak the helm to get the components to play well together. You will have to sew in a proper liner. You will have to make minor modifications to make it work.

What do you expect for a few hundred bucks?

If you're handy with a hammer, it's a good bargain. If you want something to fit perfectly out of the box, look elsewhere.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Reece Nelson




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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I saw that the dimensions of the medium size was 25' and the large was 26'. I measured my head and it was 22'. So should have enough room for padding i think. Do you think it would be best to go for the large one? Or would the medium be better?
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 7:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't tell you which option to choose as the sallet may be made in a different facility altogether. I can tell you that my melon is 23 inches at the browline and with the SCA required minimum 1/2'" padding between nogin and steel, the large GDFB bascinet just barely fits. Eek!
...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2010 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

1/2" padding adds over 3" to the circumference. Extra is 2 times pi times padding thickness, or close enough to that for a reasonable roundish shape, so 6.3 times the padding thickness.
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Mon 15 Feb, 2010 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yep, padding adds up pretty dang quick. My head won´t even fit into the large GDFB helm without padding...much less with padding. If you need this for SCA use, you want the large since 1/2 inch padding is the min...but with helms as light as these, your gonna want the extra padding.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 15 Feb, 2010 1:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't speak for that particular helmet, but I've found the GDFB helmets in general to be good for the money. Not perfect, of course, but a huge step up from what we've seen in the past for armour at this price range. The medium fits me absolutely perfectly, so I'm a little biased there. Happy But for the price, you get a decent helmet, and most of them are reasonably faithful to the lines and proportions of historical pieces (though some models are better than others).
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Zac Evans




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Feb, 2010 3:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check their returns policy, and never buy anything you can't look at and hold before you commit. A good helmet costs a lot, but if you buy 3 cheap helmets that are no good beforehand then you end up spending even more.
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Feb, 2010 6:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I second Zac's comment. Check out your GDFB distributor online before purchasing. In particular, check out their return policy. They all sell the same merchandise that gets drop-shipped to your doorstep from a warehouse somewhere. I found this guy in my home town and was very satisfied with his level of service. Grant was very communicative throughout the entire process from my first inquiry through the arrival of the product.
...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Mon 15 Feb, 2010 8:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The quality on the GDFB helms has improved the last few years, a lot. I have checked out three in the past year, the Houndskull which Scott is talking about, a klappviser basinet I bought second hand here at ma, and the barbute. I agree with the other guys, they tend to run small. I would not fight in any of them. but overall they are pretty good for living history.
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Reece Nelson




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PostPosted: Tue 16 Feb, 2010 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I should have added what kind of use I intend to use this for. I do reenactment/living history so I'm looking to use this for (live steel) sparring.

Granted, we don't normally go for the head for strikes but I allow the guys to glance off my head for our shows Wink This seemed like a good pic considering the local armourer wanted to charge me $800 Eek!
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Jeff Kaisla




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Feb, 2010 12:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have the jawbone version of their sallet helms and I think it's great for the price, very tough and durable as well as well polished. My only complaint is the visor doesn't stay up very well. I've tried tightening it by peening the rivets but I'll just end up installing a spring clip. Personally I like this type of visor better!

My head is around 21" and with padding the medium fits me well, you might be better off with the large unless you want a really snug fit. The larger size might also help if you intend to wear it with a Bevor. I had to reshape my bevor from Merc Tailor to fit inside the rim of the medium.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Apr, 2010 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've just bought the helmet shown above. $159 shipped from KOA. I consider this a project piece, and it appears to be a good start. I like that it isn't drilled for lining rivets. I'll do that myself and install a proper liner after ripping, prying, burning or otherwise removing the strange full-leather GDFB lining. Needs new straps, too. Maybe slight reshaping of the top lip of the sight. New pivots. New polish.

FWIW: I've been looking for a German sallet project, and the choice was between this, the GDFB "Jaw Bone" variants and the Windlass sallet. Yes, this has more of an Italian export look about it, but the type is all over Austrian artwork of the period. I like that it's 14 ga. I think the Windlass is probably too light at 18 ga. I also don't like the very large sight and flimsy-looking visor "arms" of the Windlass. The GDFB "jaw bone" variants look good (see the Churburg sallets,) but the full, cusped visor appears to be the most common type in the artwork I'm looking at.

I'll probably start a new thread on this project when I get around to the work. Summer, maybe. Big Grin

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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JG Elmslie
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Apr, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

on a similar note, has anyone got horror stories about GDFB's open-faced sallets?



been eying up one of them for a conversion project, to have it relined, and then faced in blue velvet, and have bronze fleur-de-leys cast up, and added to it, similar to the one in Edge/Paddock's "arms and armour of the medieval knight" as a occasionally for combat, and predominantly for show helmet.

sine it's mostly for show, I'm suspecting that spending hundreds on a custom helm would be excessive.
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Apr, 2010 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JG Elmslie wrote:
on a similar note, has anyone got horror stories about GDFB's open-faced sallets?

been eying up one of them for a conversion project, to have it relined, and then faced in blue velvet, and have bronze fleur-de-leys cast up, and added to it, similar to the one in Edge/Paddock's "arms and armour of the medieval knight" as a occasionally for combat, and predominantly for show helmet.

sine it's mostly for show, I'm suspecting that spending hundreds on a custom helm would be excessive.


I have that one. With original lining (or rather sorry excuse for it) I would not use it for any kind of sparring without adding that or using a really good padded arming cap underneath. Chin strap seem to be made for Emperor Charles V WTF?! Easily fixed though.

I have patinated mine heavily and it will be used to embellish a quintain. I bought it on a whim (it was really a bargain when I bought it) and I am far far away from having anything else to match it. And have an "age-of-mail" project to complete first. That will take at least the next two-three years)

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Apr, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just got mine. Here's a mini-review to help out folks eager to try this product. Bear in mind that I view this as an unfinished "kit" project.

The Good: I'd say it's good overall, and may be the best $159 (shipped, from KOA) I've spent on arms and armour. Big Grin As remarked above, the side profile is nice. The visor profile--which is a part where most manufacturers fail badly--looks good to me. Surprisingly, the front view is more complex than I expected from product photos. Perhaps they've responded to complaints. It's slightly more hourglass shaped. The lines overall are excellent, I think.The sight is neatly done and isn't too large, which is one of the reasons I chose this piece over the Windlass sallet and GDFB "jawbone" sallet. The size is as advertised for a "medium" (~24.5",) which still swallows my wee noggin (~22). BUT although the thin, strange liner makes my head feel like a pea in a can, a properly made and attached liner should be almost perfect. The weight is 8.5 lbs, lighter than advertised (a good thing) but still 14 ga. throughout (another attraction over the 18 ga. Windlass). Another selling point--No lining rivets. That's bad for folks who want something historical-looking off-the-shelf, but great for those of us who don't want the manufacturer standing between us and doing it right. Some other GDFB sallets have riveted liners, and those are non-starters because the rivets are out of place.

The Bad: The liner...oh, my, what a problem! I'm going to be generous and assume that this is a cost-saver. Marking and drilling the bowl for lining rivets, driling, riveting, etc. takes time and eats drill bits. But how do you include a liner without rivets? Glue. How do you provide enough leather surface area to support a glued liner? Extend the liner all the way to the bottom of the bowl. The good news is that this liner lets go with some tugging. I'll be making an entirely new liner and placing the rivets properly. I don't know if I'll go for handmade octagonal rivets this time, though. Big Grin Been there, done that. The straps are junk but he brass buckle is of historical form and should be salvaged to use on the scabbard belt of your 15th c. German longsword project (if you have one--I do!Happy )

The raised-visor image below indicates the max height. The hand holding the visor indicates that it will not stay up on its own. 14 ga. ain't lightweight, and the visor cant get high enough to be past the tipping point. Visor doesn't stay fully closed, either, which is pretty simple to fix, especially if you want to add a late 15th c.-style spring pin.The visor pivots look more like temporary assembly rivets--they're lining rivets, actually, and much too small. Again, better too small than too large. I'll experiment to get a tight fit and improve articulation of the visor. One other visor issue, which I'm not sure is a-historical: The visor covers one of the strap rivets. I'm not sure I've seen that on any historical sallets. If I can't find an historical example of that I might want to make that edge of the visor deeper to expose that rivet. The top edge of the visor could be a bit deeper, too, so I'll look into that as well.

The polish is even but not as high as it would have been historically. On a scale of 1-10 in terms of historical finish, with 10 being an historical mirror polish, I'd say this finish is an 8. Not bad, by any means, and excellent for most purposes. The edges of the visor are cut square and bit rough in places, so I'll be smoothing those and beveling them. The "arms" of the visor are of historical shape, but slightly crude. I'll reshape those a bit.

Verdict: Excellent display piece. Wearable off-the-shelf if your head fits the thin liner, but probably not very comfortable, and not able to pass the 6' visual test due to the lack of lining rivets. Potential to be much more accurate, much more wearable and worth much more than the $146 KOA is charging.

The photos tell the rest. Hopefully, this is enough info to help you decide.



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-Sean

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Reece Nelson




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Apr, 2010 3:53 pm    Post subject: helm         Reply with quote

Sean, thank you so much for the review and pictures! After looking at you're photos and reading you're review I placed my order with KOA Happy
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Apr, 2010 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have the Jaw Bone: Odd non historical name here I think but justified by the visor being rather deep while some sallets visors are narrower.

Funny but I don't find the liner so bad as to comfort or usability, at least for casual costume wear.

One thing though is that the buckle and strap seem badly angled and there aren't enough holes in it to tighten it properly below the chin. The trap also become too wide to fit thought the buckle if one added holes in the right place at least for me.

All of the GDFB straps are split into two branches before becoming one strap that goes through the buckle, as a quick fix to make it more functional I would just cut off the strap below the " V " parts of the " Y " cutting off the end and use a leather lace as a tie.

Oh, good review Sean and I don't disagree with your projected product improvements to make it closer to a historically correct
sallet and you do seem to know more than I do about the small details that make it an over 6' accurate looking helm.

The visor on my " Jaw Bone " version is that the visor can be pushed up higher and does seem to stay up unless I jump up and down hard ! It would benefit from having a spring pin to keep it down although gravity seems to be enough. Wink Laughing Out Loud More to keep it from being pushed up too easily by and opponent in battle I would guess.

Oh, and the sallet you reviewed does seem like a good buy and better looking than in the pics on KoA: Not sure I will buy one since I already have the " Jaw Bone " version.

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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Apr, 2010 8:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, the "Y" strap is the right type for this sallet but it's hard to get it right. If it's even a little bit off angle, there will be more tension on one arm of the "Y," which defeats the purpose. This sallet's straps do seem to be a bit off. The little things that seem so simple sometimes prove to be some of the most challenging.

This sallet is so deep it makes me think more along the lines of German, last quarter of the 15th c.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 20 Apr, 2010 9:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Yeah, the "Y" strap is the right type for this sallet but it's hard to get it right. If it's even a little bit off angle, there will be more tension on one arm of the "Y," which defeats the purpose. This sallet's straps do seem to be a bit off. The little things that seem so simple sometimes prove to be some of the most challenging.

This sallet is so deep it makes me think more along the lines of German, last quarter of the 15th c.


The Italian " Export " Sallets seem to me to be styled to appeal to the German and international tastes so they may be closer to the German styles but a touch less deep or long as the true German styles while the Italians favoured the open faced and more compact styles as well as the " T " shaped Barbute.

By the way I have the GDFB Barbute and I find it to be a very comfortable and very close to the head helm ( Maybe a little too close as I should maybe have bought the larger size rather than the small ).

It does fit very close but is very comfortable, doesn't restrict vision to any degree and one can breathe in a completely non-claustrophobic way. In addition it doesn't feel top heavy as some other types of helms do: I can sort of understand why these where popular.

Oh, and yes the " Y " straps are badly positioned or just not angled optimally to go under the chin.

( Side note: I'm not sure if this is proper grammatical usage but I have been in the habit of capitalizing the names of armour pieces or weapons in all my postings as I think that in contexts they are being used by me as proper names ..... this may be completely wrong, but I'm a bit OCD about being consistent even if wrong, at least I'm consistent about it .... Call it a sense of style. Wink Laughing Out Loud ).

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