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Luke Royle





Joined: 15 Dec 2014

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2015 4:56 am    Post subject: Do helmets rust?         Reply with quote

Hi everyone. I'm pretty new to collecting weapons and armour so I am slowly building up my collection. Recently, I purchased a Olmutz Helmet from GDFB, (http://gdfb.co.uk/olmutz-helmet-613-p.asp) I am pretty happy with it, but I am a bit confused. Does the steel used in helmets rust at all? I was lead to believe so due to it being wrapped in something similar to the wax they use for carbon steel swords. Also, if it does rust, is it okay for me to use 3 in 1 oil on it? Many thanks.
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2015 5:39 am    Post subject: Re: Do helmets rust?         Reply with quote

Luke Royle wrote:
Hi everyone. I'm pretty new to collecting weapons and armour so I am slowly building up my collection. Recently, I purchased a Olmutz Helmet from GDFB, (http://gdfb.co.uk/olmutz-helmet-613-p.asp) I am pretty happy with it, but I am a bit confused. Does the steel used in helmets rust at all? I was lead to believe so due to it being wrapped in something similar to the wax they use for carbon steel swords. Also, if it does rust, is it okay for me to use 3 in 1 oil on it? Many thanks.


Darn right they rust and GDFB helmets are no exception. Carbon steel oxidizes due to moisture in the air and salt and oil in the skins of persons who handle them. There are preventatives like Renaissance Wax which will help but sooner or later some rust will form. That is why there are so many posts on this forum on the subject of rust prevention and rust removal. 3 in 1 oil is not the ideal preventative because it will get all over you and your clothing. Look at Renaissance Wax as a first line of defense from rust but keep in mind that you must reapply it from time to time.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Luke Royle





Joined: 15 Dec 2014

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2015 6:03 am    Post subject: Re: Do helmets rust?         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
Darn right they rust and GDFB helmets are no exception. Carbon steel oxidizes due to moisture in the air and salt and oil in the skins of persons who handle them. There are preventatives like Renaissance Wax which will help but sooner or later some rust will form. That is why there are so many posts on this forum on the subject of rust prevention and rust removal. 3 in 1 oil is not the ideal preventative because it will get all over you and your clothing. Look at Renaissance Wax as a first line of defense from rust but keep in mind that you must reapply it from time to time.


I've been using 3 in 1 oil for a while with my swords and I don't have much of a problem with it (although, as you said, it can get messy) I've heard that the renaissance wax is quite expensive, would using the 3 and 1 oil now an again be suitable until i manage to get some of the wax?
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Jeffrey Hildebrandt
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Location: Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2015 7:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is not just important what you put onto a steel surface, but also what you take off first. This aspect of armour maintenance tends to be under-emphasized, but is important because rust and discolouration can happen to a metal's surface even if it has been coated, if there are body oils and salts that have not been removed first. Whatever solvent will remove the rust-preventative layer that is already in place is probably a good bet for cleaning the armour before re-coating it. It seems like hassle, but when you consider how time-consuming re-finishing a piece is, and how it seldom looks as good afterword, it is entirely worthwhile.

Oil will work fine for sealing your helmet, if you are not bothered by the film it leaves on the surface. Car wax will work too, if you are not bothered by opaque residues accumulating in hard-to-reach areas (I recently saw some car waxes which claim not to leave such residues, which might be worth considering). I use Renaissance Wax in my professional practice, and while I admit to its limitations (it discolours blued surfaces, wrinkles leaf gilding, gives off dangerous fumes during application, and despite claims to the contrary, amplifies fingerprinting on polished surfaces) and its inexplicable cost, it does leave a more-or-less invisible surface (if buffed down properly) that will not sully everything it touches. I am not so satisfied with it that I have stopped looking for something better, though.

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Luke Royle





Joined: 15 Dec 2014

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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2015 7:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Hildebrandt wrote:
It is not just important what you put onto a steel surface, but also what you take off first. This aspect of armour maintenance tends to be under-emphasized, but is important because rust and discolouration can happen to a metal's surface even if it has been coated, if there are body oils and salts that have not been removed first. Whatever solvent will remove the rust-preventative layer that is already in place is probably a good bet for cleaning the armour before re-coating it. It seems like hassle, but when you consider how time-consuming re-finishing a piece is, and how it seldom looks as good afterword, it is entirely worthwhile.

Oil will work fine for sealing your helmet, if you are not bothered by the film it leaves on the surface. Car wax will work too, if you are not bothered by opaque residues accumulating in hard-to-reach areas (I recently saw some car waxes which claim not to leave such residues, which might be worth considering). I use Renaissance Wax in my professional practice, and while I admit to its limitations (it discolours blued surfaces, wrinkles leaf gilding, gives off dangerous fumes during application, and despite claims to the contrary, amplifies fingerprinting on polished surfaces) and its inexplicable cost, it does leave a more-or-less invisible surface (if buffed down properly) that will not sully everything it touches. I am not so satisfied with it that I have stopped looking for something better, though.


What sort of solvent is good for removing finger marks and such before the re-coating? Most of the time I just use a dry cloth to try and remove any marks, then put the oil on.
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Jeffrey Hildebrandt
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2015 8:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I use ethanol, because I find it effective and the fumes less offensive than mineral spirits and the like.
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Luke Royle





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PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2015 11:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Jeffrey, you helped a lot. I went and got some car was type stuff but in a sprayable form and some ethanol. I'm really happy with how it shines now, much better than the oil, which made it less shiny and added strange colours.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 4:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks very nice. I have used Renaissance Wax on sword blades and armor for quite some time and it works well for me. Never noticed any fumes from it. It is expensive but a little goes a long way. If you are getting good results from auto wax then keep using that. Jeffrey is quite correct about cleaning the steel before applying any protective coating. You have to do it. If you get rust just learn to live with it. I can tolerate some rust stains on armor but have always tried to keep my sword blades as rust free as possible.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Edward Lee




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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some people with sweaty hand touching your steel would make it rust fast, my friend put his hand on my breastplate and printed his finger prints on it...

Whenever rust occurs on my armor, I either use metal glo(sometime sit won't work) or I just sand it off with high grit sandpaper. If the rust is really bad and I can't sand it off with high grits I just leave it.

Have you though about painting or bluing the helmet? My helmet was painted to prevent rust.
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Sat 11 Jul, 2015 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes..all steels will rust, bronzes will darken . Honestly..as long as active red rust on iron/steel is taken care of, I wouldn't worry all that much. Signs of discolouration, etc, all just add to an item's "History/personality" Happy Buff off any active rust with a scotchbrite pad, wipe over with your oil of choice and leave it at that. Really shiny armour, to me, just looks a bit too "Hollywood", in my opinion Happy
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Sun 12 Jul, 2015 7:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fluid Film is the best there is for corrosion prevention
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Luke Royle





Joined: 15 Dec 2014

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun 12 Jul, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Lee wrote:
Some people with sweaty hand touching your steel would make it rust fast, my friend put his hand on my breastplate and printed his finger prints on it...

Whenever rust occurs on my armor, I either use metal glo(sometime sit won't work) or I just sand it off with high grit sandpaper. If the rust is really bad and I can't sand it off with high grits I just leave it.

Have you though about painting or bluing the helmet? My helmet was painted to prevent rust.


I've thought about maybe darkening it, but not painting. I know that painting of helmets was done historically, but I've never really liked the painted look on simple helmets.
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Jul, 2015 8:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

another word of praise for Fluid Film.
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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