Building & Finishing
All helmets start out as a block of wood that has either been pared down from a larger piece or is the result of joining several slabs together. Larger blocks typically have been air-dried for two or more years before being ready for machining. After carefully squaring and surfacing the block is set on the CNC router and one of several design programs are initiated that rough carve and then finish surface each of the two 'sides' of the helmet, top and bottom. Using this CAD based technology we are able to deliver a piece of predictable and even thickness and contour. Once the helmet “blank” is completed by the machine it is on to the hand building phase of manufacture where we are able to further customize and enhance each shell individually.
Each shell is hand shaped and finished. Cracks and natural imperfections are filled with a clear gap filling epoxy that retains the natural aesthetic and character of the particular piece while actually making it structurally more sound than it would have been without the imperfection. Shells are sanded to 220 grit before they are sealed.
The sealing process begins with three coats of epoxy to make them watertight as well as to give them durability and abrasion resistance. Then the epoxy is protected from UV damage by three coats of Linear Polyurethane which also provides excellent protection against abrasion. This is similar to the durable finish applied to new cars.
Coyle uses a polyurea coating on all of its helmets that both improves shell durability and can improve the ability of each helmet to mitigate impact energies. This coating is the descendant of a product originally developed for the US Military to improve the energy absorption and armor anti-fragmentation capacity of armored vehicles and structures. It was adopted and used effectively to manage the destructive effects of regular bombings in the Middle East.
The coating contains no VOC's (volatile organic compounds) which can harm people and the environment. It effectively seals and protects the wood shell.
In testing our coating significantly enhanced the durability of our wood shells reducing shell damage and virtually eliminating fragmentation of shells during the most significant test impacts. Check out this video of the original testing of this product.