Hard Hats FAQ

With the growing demand in custom airbrushed hardhats, we felt a page specifically dedicated to our custom hardhats was necessary. We get a ton of questions about them daily about the process, what’s involved and so forth. We have put quite a bit of information here for you; so hopefully we are able to answer any and all of your questions.

A Brief History of How We Got into Custom Airbrushed Lids

From the moment we knew we were going to move forward with Original Rigger, we knew that airbrushed hardhats were something we wanted to offer. While developing the product lines and website, we had talked to a number of air brushers about painting custom lid for us with not much luck. First off, to be clear, there are a lot of air brushers to pick from. But only a hand full that are extremely good. The largest concern we had was air brushers having issues with the paint to stick properly to the plastics used for hardhats. A few painters had said themselves that in the past they’ve had hardhats returned with issues. Once they were hit, the paint would crack and chip, like an eggshell. Knowing the risk vs cost, we wanted to be especially careful before we started selling these things. We came into contact with Mike in Oct of 2013. With 20 years experience in the Graphic arts industry, he started airbrushing, his true passion about 15 years ago and launched MOB airbrushing full time about 7 years ago. Discussing his experience, he sent us numerous pictures of the lids he’d done in that past. Mike explained that in 2007 he started doing some custom airbrushed hardhats for a few clients they wanted to use as gifts for their clients. At that time he didn’t see the huge potential in the industry and what it would yield today. We expected to maybe do a couple of sales a month max, but we were willing to give it a shot and see what we could do with this. Mike knew we could do a whole lot more! So MOB and Original Rigger decided to join forces. To date we have taken the market by storm with some of the most amazing airbrushed hardhats out there. As with any company, there has been a few growing pains but we have NEVER had a hardhat come back and everyone is more than happy with the finished product. The interest is always there and with every client we set the bar higher in some way.

What can we do with a hardhat?

Well we can pretty much do anything! It really depends on you and how much you want to spend on the Lid. Cost is usually the largest limiting factor when designing a lid. A single Custom Airbrushed Hardhat starts at $350.00 per Lid. That gets you a one of a kind killer Original Rigger custom hardhat. Typically this gets you; • A simpler image on both sides as well as either front or back of the lid • Some text somewhere on the lid such as a name or saying (most people like to do the back brim). • And of course all the images are tied together with some background graphics to help it all flow and take your lid to a whole new level. Depending on the extras that you want such as detail of the images and quantity of those images, the price can go up. Portraits are extremely popular so if you want one or more, Lids with a portrait start at $500.00 as the level of work and detail that is involved to make them look the best is high. The more portraits we do, the higher the final cost.

Why does an Airbrushed Hardhat start at $350.00, doesn’t that seem excessive?

Right off the hop, yea, a $350.00 starting point for a hardhat is a lot of money. Especially when that same hardhat can be picked up at Mark’s Work Wear House for around $50.00. But remember, you’re not getting a simple blank hardhat. Our Hardhats are 100% custom to your personality or what you want on that lid. It can represent anything you want. Because these are all hand painted, a lot of time goes into several stages of what we eventually release as the final product. So just a quick overview based on a single $350.00 hardhat. • Close to a third of that price is in product alone! This includes the cost of the hardhat, the paint and primer, the materials for prepping that lid, and ultimately the clear coat. Clear coat is a pretty big killer of that cost, but we only use the best so that your investment holds up. • We of course have to make a cut for taking the time to take the order and get the details down from you. This adds up to roughly a 6th the cost of that lid. • So we have roughly 2/3rds of the cost of that hardhat that goes into; of • The time figuring out and laying out the design on the lid. • Prepping that lid for best paint adherence. See prepping the lid. • Designing and preparing the vinyl for any stenciling • Again, further prepping that lid with the vinyl and taping off sections of the lid if required. • Prepping the equipment and paint for painting. • Actually painting the lid. • And once all that is complete.. Clear coating that lid so it lasts! So a lot of time is spent on the artists side with your lid, fortunately with experience comes efficiency which allows him to get you an incredible product for a reasonable price. The trick on the artists side is getting you that lid, for the quoted price and still make it worth his while! All the risk is on him and if anything goes wrong with the prep, paint or clear, he is losing money.. A cost that you never see. But quality is NEVER compromised as for as long as that lid exists, both his name and the OR brand is on that lid. People will see that lid and we refuse to put out a product that someone may think is subpar. May not be your style, but anyone that has an eye for art will agree to the quality. Still question the cost? If you are that interested in airbrushing, I challenge you to find an artist that is good enough to put out an amazing layout and final product for that price. I am sure you will find a few artists as good, you may find a couple even better, but at what price? Some Air brushers wouldn’t even consider putting out a hardhat of similar quality for less that double that price. You’re welcome to look!

What is defined as a portrait?

It’s actually pretty simple. A portrait is anything that meant to be a replica of an image provided. Typically portraits encompass pictures of people but if you want your bike or truck can be a portrait as well depending on the detail involved. Basically it is something that requires a lot of time and attention to detail to make the image on the lid look like what you want it. For example, typically we do a silhouette of a rig on the side of a hardhat.. this is considered a simple image to paint, while if you want the details in the derrick of the different cross members and shadowing, this is a portrait.

Once I get this lid, can I wear it? Or is it strictly an ornament?

I personally have one of the most expensive lids we have ever done and I wear mine every day. I have dropped it, banged it, been hit by stuff in the lid and so on and it still looks great! Sure I got a couple of small scuffs on the really hard collisions, but like I said, I buffed it out and she is as good as new. These Lids are meant to be worn or else why bother right? The clear we use is the best on the market and we don’t just do one, we do four once the painting is done. As a result the hardhat is extremely durable and will hold up to some abuse. So that being said, it isn’t indestructible! The hardhat is plastic and the clear is ONLY so strong so don’t use what we said as an excuse to abuse the lid and get mad when it doesn’t hold up. Hit it hard enough and the clear can become damaged and as a result, damage your once beautiful paint job. But once complete this lid is yours so you can do what you want with it. We don’t judge.. but really would rather you show your lid off to the world and tell everyone who did it!

Is the Hardhat still under warranty once painted?

That is a complicated question. Technically no it isn’t. BUT if you read the warranty it says that “any alterations to the hardhat will void warranty and safety ratings” and this includes stickers on a hardhat. It also says that once dropped it should also be replaced as the integrity may be compromised. Now that being said we could get a certification which would allows us to paint hardhats, which will not void the warranty. The last time we looked into it, we are required to send a $5,000.00 check to the hardhat company with a painted hardhat for their inspection. They in turn give us a certification that allows us to alter the hardhats by painting them without voiding the warranty. One thing to keep in mind is we CAN get hardhats that once painted still retain their warranty. These are called the MSA “Skullgard” model, and cost approximately slightly more than DOUBLE the cost of the MSA “TopGard” model that we predominantly use now. They are different because they aren’t made from polyethylene plastic, they are made from fibreglass and other polycarbonate materials that still retain their warranty from the manufacturer. The cost factor is by far the number one reason why the VAST majority of clients opt for the “TopGard” model. Talking to people that do run these hardhats, they will agree that the cost is worth it as the actual hardhats are extremely comfortable and light. So if you would like one of these, just let us know. Ultimately the actual structural integrity of both types of hardhats remains UN-AFFECTED by the paint process that we use. BUT their fine print says that the warranty is void if any alterations are made to the hardhat.

Okay, I do want an Airbrushed lid, but I don’t know what I want...

No problem at all!! I usually suggest people check out our gallery of hardhats that we have already done. Remember though that this is stuff we have already done, that is not the limit of what we can do for you! Once you check them out, if that hasn’t sparked any ideas, I suggest making yourself a list of what you are into. Your likes, hobbies, loves, interests, and no on. When thinking of these, keep in mind what you want the theme of the hardhat to be. This may help determine what you want on the lid. Here are a couple of ideas to work through the thought process; • A lot of rig hands are big Harley enthusiast, so maybe a Harley themed lid is to your taste with an image of your bike on one side. • You have a HUGE amount of patch pride and would like to pay tribute to the patch with an oilfield theme, so only things in the oilfield will go on that lid. • You proud of the service you provide for the oilfield, so you would like some of your specialty equipment on the lid. • You like dark themes.. so Skulls and flames it is. • You’re a Righand but have a farm back home which is your true passion, so we can do a Oilfield/Farm theme. • Your family is everything and you really like portraits.. Portraits it is. Of course we can do any combination of any ideas that you have. But For example, putting a teddy bear on one side and skulls on the other may clash. Something to consider is do you want the lid to be black and white or color or a combination of both. This can have a huge impact on the appearance of the lid and will obviously dictate your personal style. Some artistic tricks are to do a piece in black and white and do key things in color which help it really pop. Do you have a preference of how we tie your lid together. Some people like clouds, or electricity or smoke with skulls in it or a checker plate texture.. these are just some of the things we have done in the past. If you don’t the artist will figure out what he feels compliments the styling of the lid. Do you want any text and what you want that text to say. The most common text is someone’s nick name or last name on the back brim. But we can do anything you want. Lastly, we need to know if there is a NO to anything, any certain color, image or what ever. Some people don’t like skulls. That’s cool, no skulls.

How long is the wait?

Typically we quote about an 8-week wait, give or take a week, before you receive your final product. This time frame is greatly determined by the artists workload but assuming nothing interferes with that time frame, we should be pretty close. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that it takes 8 weeks to paint your lid. As we mentioned, the painter has a lot of customers waiting for theirs to be painted so it takes time to work through those orders and get to yours. Once he does get to your order, it will be put together with a group of lids to optimize production and it will take about a week to finish those lids. Once done, that group goes in for clear coat and once dry, pics are taken, products are packaged and then shipped off.

What if it takes longer?

Although we put out a near perfect product, we aren’t always perfect in our production times. Unfortunately the painter is only one person. When you buying a custom hardhat through us, you are getting HIS work. SO if anything interferes with his schedule, that slows production and increases wait time. So since the artist is human, he can be affected in many ways, such as health, his family’s health, the weather, and so on. Anything that could determine whether or not you can go to work he is also prone to. Ultimately the artist (and we totally agree idea) refuses to put out sub par work as his name is on that lid. He will not rush through orders and will not cut corners which is a good thing for you! But this effects the time frame as there is not such thing as picking up the pace. We would much rather explain to an upset customer that is it going to take a little longer for their lid than explain why it looks like crap. Regardless, even if the time frame is extended, you will not regret the final product. Once you open that package you will see the work and agree that the wait was worth it… we know this cause we have experienced it.

So I know what I want, what do we do now?

Once you know what you want I will put together a work order for you to review. We also need your shipping address as well as any special shipping instructions as well as phone number just incase the artist has any questions and needs to discuss them with you. I will email it to you and once you are satisfied with it, we need you to sign it and email it back. We also require any reference pictures that you have that can help the artist. It is best to assume that the artist has never painted what you want, so the more reference pictures the better.. IF you want the artist to create direct copies of an image, WE NEED HIGH RESOLUTION PICTURES.. or as high resolution as you can get. This will allow for the artist to see the detail better, which will allow for a better replication. Once we receive full payment for the lid either by PayPal, we can run your credit card manually, or we accept eTransfers (what ever is easier for you, we like eTransfer the best), the work order will be processed with the painter and your lid will be put in que and the waiting begins.

Why Do I Need to Pay In Full Before I get the Product?

Nature of the beast unfortunately! Because this is going to be a custom lid specifically for you, we need to receive the payment to help pay for the products used and the time the artist will spend on the lid. Once the lid is complete there is no going back. If you don’t have the money for whatever reason after the fact, we are out the money for the product and the time the artist has spent. Something that won’t allow us to stay in business for very long. Sorry!

Can I just make a deposit and pay the rest later?

Sorry we can’t do that either. We get a lot of customers paying for work up front and the artist is in high demand. This is just one of the rules of business that Original Rigger has to follow. Again, it comes down to the customer having the money once the product is completed.

What if I need a refund?

Depends on when you ask. If for some reason something happens very soon after ordering the lid, no problem. We can give you a full refund for the order. If the artist has already ordered the product for your order, this includes the hardhat, paint and so forth, we reserve the right to give you a refund minus 20% of the price of the lid for restocking the product that was ordered. The paint and clear coat the artist uses isn’t cheap and to carry a lot of this on hand is an expensive overhead cost. Shortly after you make the order, the artist orders the product for your lid as it can take a couple of weeks or more to get. Some of these paints are specialized for your lid and may not be used regularly and if you cancel, they also all have to be returned to make available the funds to credit you and they usually have a restocking fee. BUT if for whatever reason down the road, you decide that you want to order again, that 20% will be credited to you and go towards your new order. If the painting has started or complete, we cannot do a refund. Because this lid was custom ordered and designed for you, the lid is useless to us and we cannot sell it to someone else. I know this involves a huge amount of faith on your part that the product is going to be as awesome as you hoped but unfortunately is needed. We haven’t had a customer to date yet that has said their lid didn’t meet or exceed their expectations and we post every lid that we make in the gallery. As long as the customer is okay with that. Again, check the gallery as see.. if there is anything there that makes you question the work, it may be a good idea to look for another painter. That’s the best we can offer.


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