Is price a major concern? Does your department require the NFPA $200 STICKER? My personal choice, that I have worn for the last 3 years is the Cairns New Yorker. It rides very well and does not cause that alleged fatigue of those HEAVY leather lids that some people speak about. If you have to have the STICKER the Cairns Houston will run you in the neighborhood of about 5-6 bills, the New Yorker can be found for about 4 bills, but no STICKER. The Houston does have the bumpcap that brings it to the NFPA requirements. I just like the look and the ride of the Cairns over the Conway, but as long as aother brother is going to leather it's all good!!
If you are looking for a true leather helmet the Paul Conway is not it. The American Heritage is a fiberglass shell wrapped with leather, if you warp it inside of a hot fire then it is stuck that way. I would agree with JD that the cairns is the way to go! My job requires the NFPA sticker on it, but it is not much different from the New Yorker. If you have a thin neck and need something a little lighter I have heard nothing but good about the Phenix TL-2.
I agree, Cairn is the way to go. I us to sell Cairns helmets. Some guys on my department had the Conway helmet and sold them and bought the Cairns N5A. Our helmets have to comply to the NFPA too. The way you do it is by getting a set of goggles, the burkes don’t comply. That it. The N5A “NEW YORKER” has a bump cap in it, but it is deferent from the N6A “SAM HOUSTON” bump cap. I also tell guys if they want it to sit lower on your head, take out the black round cousin on the webbing at the top. I have been using a New Yorker N5A for 6 years in JC with no problems at all. As long as you don’t take it in a flash over container or a live burn drill where you sit their to see how much heat you can that it will last for ever. O and don’t put it in the over to get the Bronx bend in it. That will damage it too. MSA bought Cairns out a few years ago. Cairns us to be in Clifton NJ for many years. They just moved to either North or South Carolina. I was at the NJ factory many times, they still used costume made one of a kind equipment that’s been in use for almost 100 years. They were a good bunch of people. Most of them were let go when they moved. If you buy one, try to get one manufactured before July 2007. They were still in NJ and the old time skilled workers were making them still. I hope the new factory still makes them by hand. I hope this helps. Good luck and stay safe. John
and a hardy Amen to John's comments. I just spent a small fortune getting the paint to fix my leather lid because like a dumb butt, I went into the flashover sim. Not my brightest moment. I have the Houston. I love it but the New Yorker is super cool. Go with the Cairns. I also know there is a Phenix leather helmet but I know nothing about them.
Cairns is the only leather to have. I have a New Yorker and a Sam Houston I love them both . I wear a Ben 2 with my industrial dept. I f you cant wear leather then a Ben 2 feels pretty good. You cant go wrong with a Cairns Leather.
I had a Paul Conway and as others said it is not a true leather. I personally didnt like the way the helmet rode. Cairns is the way to go IMO. The N6A is a nice helmet but is 77oz, I like the N5A the comes in at 48oz. But weight is no a issue with me since I am still wearing a Cairns 5A :)
If you can try the helmets on before you buy them I would. Make sure you try them on with and without a facepiece. If you are looking for a lower ride after you buy either the N5A or the N6A cut that 4" pad out of the top of the helmet.
Kinda off the subject of Cairns vs Conway, but I have question. I have a N5A New Yorker that I bought about a year ago for $200. I've since had it inspected and repainted by Cairns and looked like new when I got it back. It was cowboyed up when I bought it and when I tried to modifiy it , I wound up cracking the edges of the brim. Is there a way to bend the brim without cracking it? I don't want a Bronx bend but would like just a little more bend in the back to clear my SCBA and less cowboy look. Also, is there a way to fill the cracks? I've heard to use wood filler and then paint over it. Any suggestions would be appreciated since this is my first leather and I almost bought a Conway based on price alone. I LOVE my New Yorker and will NEVER go back. Thanks
The bronx bend will shorten the life of your helmet which in your case you can already see. I try to talk people out of doing all the time. To bend it back you are going to have to get the leather hot so it is soft and pliable. I would think the easiest way to do this would be with a torch. Like a propane torch the plumbers use. Get the areas that you need bent and the area around that hot and SLOWLY bend it back. To get it where you want it may take a time or two.
How did the paint job from Cairns turn out? I was so pissed when I bought my N6A a couple years ago and they used white primer. Cairns paint chips easily and within a month I looked like a freaking chief. I ended up stripping a 2 month old helmet down so I could reprime and paint it.
The paint job looked nice when I got it back but I've found the same issue with the white primer as you had. It is starting to kinda look like a photo negative dalmation, black with white spots.;-) Luckily they are all small spots for now. Woof-Woof
If I order the epoxy from The FireStore, I'll let you know how it works. I've seen it there before and almost ordered it, but was not sure how it would work. Thanks for your help and Stay Safe
Ive had a Conway helmet for years and have never had an issue with paint. Its a helmet I would never trade for anything. I had to have a new suspension put in because it was just beat up, and Conway did a great job. No complaints.
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