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    Care and Preservation:  Dry and Cracking Decals

Decal Preservation

It is not uncommon to see original decals that are chipping off in fragments or have cracks where the decal is slowly lifting from the surface of the helmet.  This kind of deterioration can sometimes be seen on helmets because the celluloid material used in the manufacture of original decals degrades over time, and also because the lacquer finish applied to many helmet decals cracks with age.  The problem goes back to when the decal was originally placed on the helmet more than 50 years ago. In most cases, air bubbles under the celluloid material were not properly evacuated. Over time, the heat and wear from direct sunlight or poor storage accelerates the aging of the decal.  Many decals exhibit spider-web like cracks from very hard and dry lacquer that was properly applied at the time of manufacture.  To prevent further cracking a very thin layer of furniture spray wax (as noted earlier) can assist the decal in maintaining its condition.  Once again only a thin amount is applied to a soft rag and hand dabbed onto the decal.  No rubbing or abrasion should occur during the application as this will certainly damage the decal.  Remember!  If in doubt about this treatment, simply leave the decal as found and apply nothing!

Rules for decal preservation:

  • Never apply an abrasive chemical formula or cleaning agent to a helmet's decal.

  • Never attempt to "touch-up" an aged decal with paint.  Simply leave the decal as it was found.

  • Never attempt to reapply a coat of lacquer or varnish over a decal to protect it.

  • If in doubt about what to do about an aged and cracking decal, simply leave the decal as it was found.

    Preservation Main Topics

Care & Preservation Main

Rules for Care

Rusty Surfaces

Dry & Cracking Decals

Leather Care

Leather Balms

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