Thursday, January 21, 2010
A linen helm liner stuffed with natural fibers (wool, linen, cotton, bamboo) provides a nice progressively resilient padding, wicks sweat away from your face, allows for air flow, and resembles historical examples. Foam does not.
I like to sew channels 1.5" wide so that when stuffed more-or-less round and uncompressed it is about 1" thick. Compressed between my head and the helm this provides about .75" of padding which means the helm circumference needs to be 4.71" (2*pi*0.75") larger than my head circumference. Note that the unstuffed liner will need to be about 1.5 times the circumference of your head so that it will fit when the channels are stuffed.
SCA minimun is 0.5" of padding, which is only recommended if you have too many brain cells and you want to kill some off through repeated concussions.
Some bascinet helms have holes drilled along the edge for sewing in the liner, but for other helm designs I like to sew a strip of leather along the brow line of the liner and then glue it into the helm with shoegoo. I use c-clamps to hold the leather in place until the glue dries. This gives a strong but resilient bond that will not let the liner get into my eyes, but still allows me to peel it out and wash the liner from time to time.
These pictures show a loaner helm with a new liner. The blue foam has been added to make this spun-dome helm begin to fit a human head which is typically more oval than round.