Der Rittmeister Militaria, LLC. Imperial German Merchandise: Handcrafted Wooden Display Products: Custom Wood Helmet Stands, Wood Cases and Other Wooden Display Accessories.     
Updated on
14 November 2016.       Contact us

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Announcement: We now offer a third, larger helmet stand size!
It is perfect for stahlhelme and/or helmets
sporting  "lobstertail" rear visors!!




Collecting militaria is one of the most rewarding hobbies in the world. Believe me, since I was a young boy in the 1950's (yes, I know that I am dating myself), I have acquired MANY collectibles. From militaria to stamps, from coins to art work, baseball cards, automobiles, etc., I’ve collected a lot. One central truth I have found with all collectibles: once you have obtained the items, it is VITAL to find the right (imaginative is a better word) way to display them.
From the beginning I searched for distinctive ways to display the interesting items I had acquired for my collection. Because I prefer a more classic look, I found that the best way to display a wide variety of my collection is through the judicious use of wood products. Over the years I have commissioned wooden display cases, sword and dagger racks, etc. But I always had a hard time finding products that were worthy of the pieces that were being displayed. Sure, it is always easy to find cheap, mass-produced wood display items. Finding custom-made, high-quality pieces has been quite a challenge.

Several years ago I was talking to a friend and fellow collector who lives in Pennsylvania. I told him about the problem of finding good quality wooden display items. I wanted something that would enhance items from my personal collection. I also needed something to display inventory items. I don't mind telling you that I am very particular. I demand quality in the items I intend to display, and in the display products I use.

One of my special problems was how to display pickelhauben, busbies, and headgear. Like so many others, I had started out using Styrofoam® heads. However, that hardly seems a worthy display method for a high-grade pickelhaube that may cost $5,000+. I then noticed some wooden display stands for headdresses on E-Bay. I ordered a few and was appalled at their quality. They were frankly little better than cheaply stained kindling. I was embarrassed to have them in my home. Kindling is exactly what they became, and I reluctantly returned to Styrofoam® heads.

I told my friend of my problem and he said, "I can help." That, my fellow collectors, was an understatement of enormous proportions! He designed display stands that are, in my humble opinion, the best option on the market. On the page below he describes the process he goes through and materials he uses. I am not an expert on wood, but I know excellence when I see it. Not only does he use the most outstanding materials one can buy (including the wood and the stains) but he is just about as anal as I am when it comes to quality. He produces pieces reminiscent of old world craftsmanship. When you place a pickelhaube on one of his stands, it comes to life.

I have since converted my personal collection and inventory of pickelhauben, kugelhelme, tschapkas, etc. to his helmet stands
EXCLUSIVELY. In my office and inventory room I have shelves where I keep many of the helmets and other pieces of headdress that I offer elsewhere on my site. Today (as you will see in the attached photos) I have lined up my helmets in a manner that displays them handsomely AND securely. As you will note, the helmet rests on a very wide shelf. An equally wide base at the bottom distributes the helmet’s weight evenly. They combine to absorb the weight and cushion the helmet admirably. At the same time the base and the exposed shaft below the helmet rest have a rich, expansive presence that brings the helmet alive. I have shared these stands with some very discriminating collectors. They ALL have been as impressed with the stands as I am. 
The little added touches and special details of a first-class product are what these stands are all about. He even has felt pads on the bottom of each stand! This is a detail you cannot see with your helmet in place, but makes the stand "friendly" and secure to the surface on which you choose to display your helmet. It is just one more mark of the extra quality and craftsmanship he puts into his work.
With the cooperation of my friend, I  offer these helmet stands on a very limited basis. When you see one of the stands in person, you will be amazed at its superiority. For not a lot more than what you would pay for mass-produced stands or Styrofoam® heads, you can enjoy the ultimate in handcrafted quality directly from a master woodworker. This is just the beginning. He will be offering other products to you in the future. Included in his plans are a variety of wooden display cases, which can even have locks installed, sword and dagger racks, and any other type of specialized wooden display item that you might imagine. I have seen some photos of his cases. They are unbelievable for the display of medals, badges, etc.
Below, in his own words, is the process he uses to select his material and assemble the helmet stands. As you read this description, you will clearly see the pride and love that goes into his craft. He is a busy executive who does this for the joy of it and for relaxation. This is not about making a lot of money. I believe you will see this when you read his description, and when you consider the nominal price he is asking for these superb helmet stands. We will be adding examples of his other products to this page as time goes by. We will also put you in touch with him directly for any special needs that you may have.  Take a look at the attached photos and descriptions. I think that you will be as impressed as I am. Believe me, I no longer display my helmets on anything but these stands.

(Click here for more images)




We now have a size that is ideal for displaying Garde du Corps and Küraßier pickelhauben. These also work well for stahlhelme. They are attractive if you prefer an elevated display for a regular helmet.

Pricing is as follows:


Small stands:         $40.00                 9 1/4" tall

Medium stands:     $45.00               12 1/4" tall

Large stands:         $50.00               15 3/4" tall                  



(Click here for images of the new styles)


Woodworking Process used In Creating Helmet Stands



The lumber utilized is from species that are native to the American Northeast. I prefer using Black Walnut for my pieces because of its rich color and use in high-end furniture. Other woods can be substituted (such as Cherry or Oak) if desired. For my tastes, the deep brown of Walnut adds an additional touch of class to the piece being displayed.


Wood Preparation


Trees are milled by a professional furniture maker and myself to guarantee the best figure, cut (i.e. “quarter sawn” and “flat sawn”) and yield. Afterwards, the wood is left to dry for at least a year. Air drying produces a much darker and richer color in the stock as compared to kiln-dried wood. All attempts are made to manufacture pieces from lumber that came from the same tree. This prevents parts from having noticeably different colors after finishing.






The helmet stands were originally designed to display pieces from my own collection. After seeing only cheap clear plastic or Styrofoam stands for sale I decided to make my own from wood.  The design and size were developed to accent each piece – not overpower them. For example, I have found that steel helmets require a longer post to prevent them from looking top heavy. The base is designed with a nicely routed classical edge to add the flavor of fine furniture to these stands. The top part (upon which the headdress rests) was specifically designed to avoid damaging the piece. The top surface is specifically rounded over to prevent scratching the piece or tearing a fabric liner. Even this part’s sides and bottoms are rounded over to prevent accident.






(Click here for more images)




All stands are made in production runs. This allows me to keep the cost down because I am always making more parts than necessary. I can then manufacture a specific number based on an order. I prep sand the entire boards before parts are cut to final dimension. This allows for a much smoother surface on the finished piece because the sanding process actually produces scratches in the wood. If this sanding was performed on the individual part these scratches would be noticeable in the smaller area. It is important to note that scratches removed with progressively finer grits of sand paper. In addition this prep sanding prevents rounding over or “wavy” edges. Prep sanding starts with 80 grit paper and ends with 200 grit.
Once the parts are cut the holes for the post is drilled. All pieces are placed into a jig to assure exact placement (centering) of the post. This would not be possible after the decorative edges are routed. The last step of handwork I perform before routing is using a hand plane to remove any saw marks from the dimensioned parts. This process removes shavings of wood so thin you can see through it.
All edges are routed by hand in several passes to prevent too much wood being removed in a single pass. While more time consuming this dramatically reduces the chance for tear out or splintering. These are furniture grade stands and these extra steps assure a high end product that you will be proud of for years.
The last step before assembly is fine sanding each part with Linseed Oil. This is accomplished with 220 to 400 grit wet and dry paper. Using Linseed Oil serves three very important purposes:

First, it acts as a lubricant, making the sanding process much more efficient.

Secondly, the oil mixes with the resulting sawdust. This “slurry” actually fills in the pores of the grain – resulting in a finish that feels as smooth as glass.

Lastly, the oil pre “finishes” the wood, preventing any excess glue from possibly preventing the finish from penetrating the wood.

All areas of the parts are sanded – not just the flat areas. All curves and other rounded areas are sanded with the paper wrapped around mandrels (steel dowels) to keep the radius from being altered. Afterwards the parts are left to dry between 24 – 48 hours.




The posts are glued to the base with wood glue and secured with a ¾ inch screw for strength. Each post is aligned perfectly plumb (square) to the base with machine squares and left to dry for several hours. Any excess glue is removed before it is completely dry. The Linseed Oil used earlier prevents the glue from adhering to the wood. The tops are attached to the post with marine epoxy. Epoxy has a much longer setting time (11 hours) allowing me to make sure the part is square to both the base and post. It also imparts a much stronger joint. It is necessary to use epoxy on the top because a screw cannot be used – it would be visible on the top and could scratch the helmet or headdress.

(Click here for more images)




Once the parts have sat for several days to allow glue and Linseed Oil to dry the final finishing can occur. No stains are used during finish. There is no need to use stain because the wood had been air dried. Earlier I mentioned this results in a much deeper and richer color. I use a product called Waterlox™, which is polymerized Tung Oil. Each piece receives at least 3 coats. Each coat is applied by hand and left to cure overnight. Between each coat the finish is cut back by hand, rubbing with extra fine steel wool. This levels out any surface imperfections and provides better contact with the next layer of varnish. The final coat of varnish is applied very thinly. Lastly, felt pads are applied on the bottom to prevent scratching the surface on which the helmet stand is placed.




Other Products


All of the processes (except the specifics regarding the assembly) described above are used in everything I make. This write-up concentrates on the Helmet Stands, but I also create custom wood cases designed to fit your needs. I plan on doing other items, such as:

Sword & Dagger Mounts/Plaques

Stickpin Displays

Firearm Mounts

Regardless of the piece the same quality and effort is incorporated.




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