The Daily Helmet: Designing A Lineman’s Mask Scroll Saw Project

For a recent order of custom 3D wood helmets a customer requested a lineman’s mask for his three helmets. Normally for the original shell design I do a two-bar or single-bar mask. My 3D wood helmets are based on the standard 1970s and 1980s helmet graphic, like you would see on a fleer sticker, so there were not many good designs available via a Google search to use as a scroll saw pattern. Instead I went to the drawing board, literally. I took out a pice of paper and a pen and used the above image of Will Grant as sort of a rough guide to design a lineman’s style mask for my 3D helmets. To keep with the retro theme, I decided for the actual mask to use more of an older mask style, like the ones used in the early to eighties. I just figured it would go well with the shell design. The hardest part was trying to keep the bars all the same thickness or close to it. I’m sure a seasoned graphic artist could whip something up digitally, but given my skill set, I figured the quickest and easiest way for me was to just draw it instead of wrestling with a graphics program that I am an amateur at best at. Using a pencil and a ruler with a bit of erasing an starting over, I came up with a pretty good design. I then used a sharpie to trace over the lines to make them dark enough to scan and copy so I would have the pattern for future use. Then I cut. I am still in the process of painting, but the pre-painted (and sanded) mask design turned out pretty well. This project has opened up the possibility for more 3D wood helmet customization. maybe I can start making player specific helmets and masks. obviously there are limitations to what can be represented on a piece of wood, but certain masks might still look good in a two-dimensional form.

Bigger Orders Mean Bigger Work Space

With nearly twenty 3D wood helmets currently in progress and more to come, it became necessary to expand my work area to paint the helmets. I normally hand paint everything with some occasional spray painting in my workshop, but when 20 helmets need to be painted at the same time, it is time to bring out the big guns (table) and move part of the operation into the open space of the Sports Lair. My fiancée is assisting me with the painting while I continue to cut the logos on my scroll saw. The hardest part will b keeping track of all the parts and not forgetting what color one thing or another has to be. All and all it is a pretty productive operation. i will be posting some of the finished products later in the week.

Gumball Helmets Are Not What They Used To be

The other day when I was killing some time in the local mall I saw a rack of gumball machines. I’m always keep my eye out for football or sports related stuff. My favorites right now, being the various stickers. They also have a lot of miscellaneous items, like super balls, build-able mini characters, mini-mugs and other stuff. In the old days, I was all about the gumball helmet. the molded plastic gumball helmets, where you had to apply the logos and masks yourself. Unfortunately, that design was fazed out and we were left with a cheaper version and now you would be lucky to find a helmet in a gumball machine at all. This time though the mall did have some helmets, which were marketed as pencil toppers. The design was pretty much exactly the same as the later era (and lamer era) gumball helmets, but they contain a spot to insert your pencil. It is a kind of cool idea, until you have to erase something i guess. I don’t think many kids these days are even using pencils, but as a decorative piece I guess they are okay. The prices are definitely not the same as when were kids, with this one cheap pencil topper helmet going for $1.00. That seems pretty steep for such an inexpensive item. You can actually buy the whole set on ebay for far less if you want. The fun of it though, not accounting for the price, is the surprise of which team you will get. I remember back in the early 90s trying so hard to finish my 28 team set and instead getting duplicate after duplicate, mostly the Kansas City Chiefs as I recall. At some point places did sell individual helmets you could choose from to complete your set, while that was nice it just wasn’t as fun. As for my pencil topper, I got the 49ers. It fit perfectly on my pencil and it will be displayed in my shop.