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I'm looking for pros and cons about the Paul Conway American Heritage Leather Helmet. I'm going to have this helmet for at least 15 years. I like the price, but I'm looking for feedback. Thank you.

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Good choice on the N5A. I bought mine while i was still an Engineer and when i got promoted i asked around about the proper paint to use and the best advice was to use high temperature engine block paint from the auto parts store. The paint worked great, i have had a couple of fires while wearing it and it still looks good. We have a couple of brothers here that have the Paul Conway and they love it, however everyone that tries it one immediately complains about the weight.
Leather Forever!

Scott
HI CHRIS, DO YOU STILL HAVE AN EXTRA N6a?
I don't...I sold it a couple of weeks ago.
My biggest complaint is the weight and it riding over your eyes while using an ax. I've had it for four years and the leather has no cracks. Get the fabric liner if you sweat alot.Also the leather is over a composite shell so it won't lose it's shape.It has a lower profile than the NYer and Houston wich is a plus.I think it will hold up for 15 years.
I have an N6A that I purchased for my own use. It was bought used and came yellow, and bent...I used hot water to soften the leather and put it back to almost original. This took some time and care to keep it from cracking. Then I simply sanded the yellow, primed then coated it with a black enamel. Currenty I have some chips from not taking the time to strip all the old paint off!

My department mandates that we wear the issued 'tactical tupperware' 660C from Cairns when on the job. No if's, and's or but's! However, when I'm training outside the department, I'm in leather...forever.
After all this time, Will, I hope you've been able to make your choice, but just cause I love leather helmets so much, I can't help adding my two cents.

I've owned and used on duty a Cairns N6A for 4 years, solid. Its a heavy helmet, but my neck got used to it. Our department does a lot of training so I wear it constantly. Its saved my noggin several times, acts like a shock absorber much more so than any plastic lined helmet. For looks, it sits deep on the head and I like that. The Paul Conway is tiny, sits high on the head, folks I know that have it have had trouble with their ratchets on the headband, and to be honest, it just doesn't have the old look to it that I prefer. There's really just something very kick a** about the Cairns leather, N5A or N6A.

Just my two cents. Leather Forever!!
Ben:

I've had my N5A for almost 6 months now and I'll NEVER own anything else! You're right about how it sits low on your head. I like that also. Two guys I work with have also swithced from the 1010 to the leather N5A, and they love it. The only issue I've had so far is minor chipping after a couple of hot fires, but otherwise I feel it's superior and far more traditional that it's more modern looking counterparts. Thanks for your input and opinion. Happy holidays!

Ben Fleagle said:
After all this time, Will, I hope you've been able to make your choice, but just cause I love leather helmets so much, I can't help adding my two cents.

I've owned and used on duty a Cairns N6A for 4 years, solid. Its a heavy helmet, but my neck got used to it. Our department does a lot of training so I wear it constantly. Its saved my noggin several times, acts like a shock absorber much more so than any plastic lined helmet. For looks, it sits deep on the head and I like that. The Paul Conway is tiny, sits high on the head, folks I know that have it have had trouble with their ratchets on the headband, and to be honest, it just doesn't have the old look to it that I prefer. There's really just something very kick a** about the Cairns leather, N5A or N6A.

Just my two cents. Leather Forever!!
Oh yeah, chipping is another issue. The Paul Conway won't do that. But, it isn't a real leather anyway. Mine is definitely due for a paint job!!
Hey fellow Leather Head;

Congrats on your selection of a NY'er!!! With proper care and occasional maintenance you will get years of continuous service out of your leather. I have even heard in some instances of them being passed down from one generation to the next. This being my first leather in my 20 plus years on the job, it was well worth it. Just some things in life are worth the cost and the wait no matter what.

When I got it, I shook it and even heard a loose nut or something like the front stud had gotten in between the helmet and was rattling around. I knew immediately that this leather was meant for me. I certainly prefer the feel and look of my NY'er over my 1010 at work and the weight isn't to far off between them. Maybe because I have a good sturdy neck and the extreme pride in wearing the leather makes my mind forget about the weight

I did a lot of searching and research before finding the one i liked and got lucky when I bought an almost new N5A off of ebay a few years ago. I will admit I have not been easy on mine and it is due for a refurb as soon as MSA gets back to me on how they go about it.I too have to paint mine red and often wonder what the exact paint number they use is. I saw a post somewhere one time about the Cairns and the types of paints they use and the numbers and most were available at NAPA. I have got the Bronx Bend in the back through a couple of fires but it has caused some cracking around the edges so be careful after coming out of a hot one and trying to make a bend. Do it nice and easy and it may take a few fires before you get the form your looking for.

I did have a small problem with the metal banding holding in the liner but I was able to correct that with the ability to take my time and go slow to not take away from the safety designed into it. When I get a chance I will post some pictures of the cracking and of course the normal paint chipping and reply on the refurb info once i get it.

Granted this is my first and only leather helmet right now but I think the only other one or two types I would move toward are first the Houston and then possibly the Phoenix. Some guys say the look is cool and for others it all about tradition and I say both tradition and being cool. Like you sometimes catch yourself looking at you in it in the glare of the truck window or a mirror somewhere...lol. I also made my own furnace front for it using the Paul Conway American Heritage design just super sized to make it proportional to the helmet. You can see it here and I promise I will load some more pictures.
http://community.fireengineering.com/forum/topic/show?groupUrl=trad...

take care and stay safe

Brad
Wow, what a great topic! I wear a Cairns New Yorker and wanted to give everyone a shot to view how their made. Check our site
www.midtennfools.com
and click on the tab on the left (The leather helmet) and scroll to the bottom. Enjoy and stay safe!
FTM-PTB
Greg
Ever since I saw my first NY'er a long time ago, I have always had a love for the natural and think the helmets are the best looking in that color.

Thanks for sharing the link brother.
I have the N5A and use hi-temp engine block paint, it comes in gloss or matte and does an excellent job of dealing with the heat and doesn't chip easily either

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