Making an SCA helmet is not a task for the lighthearted. It takes a lot of work and you will likely learn lots of new skills. The cost of buying a helmet may seem expensive, but you can often get a used one for $100-$200 and you get to start fighting right away. Some things to consider about SCA helmets:
- You want a helmet that is made from at least 14ga (gauge) steel. 16ga is permitted but in my opinion, isn’t strong enough to avoid being dented. It’s your head in there, do you really want to wear something that can be dented? Remember that the lower the gauge number, the thicker (and heavier) the steel is.
- Stainless steel doesn’t rust, while mild steel does. If you want a shiny helmet with very little maintenance, get stainless steel.
- You want something that fits properly, with ¾-inch foam padding. It should be snug on the crown of your head and not jostle around.
- The minimum diameter of a face grill bar is 3/16-inch. That’s fine for grills that have lots of interconnecting pieces that form a mesh. If you have large sections (over 3-inches) without interconnecting pieces 3/16-inch is not strong enough and will bend. I’d suggest no less than 5/16-inch.
- Riveted helmets tend to ring less than welded ones.
- Riveted helmets tend to have two or three layers of metal at the points where you are most often hit. That gives you a lot of protection. You can also lose a rivet and your helmet is still reasonably safe. If a weld cracks, you could be in trouble.
- Great helms (enclosed face) are totally medieval but are also terrible for breathing and visibility. Helmets with a face grill allow you to breathe and see your opponent.