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Does anyone know how or what to use to properly restore a US M1 helmet? Particularly the "corking" effect.

shadow
 

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If you mean the grainy rough texture, it can be replicated by spraying on a coat of OD Green paint, then while it's still wet, sprinkle on some fine sand and apply another, thicker coat of paint.

The first coat causes the sand to stick, the second seals it onto the metal.
 
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