Without trying, over the years I feel like I have somehow grown my very own collection of leather fronts. Whether I changed due to station reassignment or promotion, I feel like I have somehow collected ten or more, and now I find myself having a shield for any occasion.
I recently found a new company that I took a liking to. I’ve read a few things about metal fronts but never tried them, until now. I decided to send a message to the company Facebook page, and wouldn’t you know it; I got a quick reply. So while I was unsure about whether or not to try a metal front, I contacted Taylor McLaughlin over at Taylor’s Tins. He told me he was a relatively new company that was trying to make a name for “The Metal Front” in a game of traditional leather accessories. I couldn’t understand what the fuss wasabout, so I decided to give it a try. After about six months, I now own 4 of them. That should speak for itself.
As I said, I have always been wary about metal fronts. “It’s not tradition.” “Leather Forever.” etc., etc.
But after I received my first one, I was pretty impressed. The front was wrapped and delivered in a retired fire hose pouch that is excellent for protecting the shield when not in use. The quality and design (cut) of the metal was very professional. The artwork wasn’t bad at all. I designed two fronts at first; one for each of us (“The Irons” and “The OVM”) and one for me to wear on my helmet at work. Then I just had to see how well it would hold up. I instructed the live fire burns at this past year’s Great Florida Fire School and put it through the rigors of 5 days in a burn building. Sure, I wouldn’t have treated it this way in a real fire, nor would I have intentionally burned my leather fronts, but I have burnt them in the past, and I knew how easy they were to melt. So in true fashion, I had to cook this one too.
To my dismay, it held up well.
After completing the week, the front is slightly charred, but I wouldn’t mind referring it to “slightly seasoned.” And before you say it, IT’S DEFINITELY, BY NO MEANS, SALT! Sure, this may sound slightly fairy-tale like, but I do believe these metal shields would hold up well in “the elements.” I’ve worn it now for about nine months, and I think they add a little bit to the look of the helmet. Metal fronts can be designed better and with more precise graphics than leather fronts. They hold up, don’t burn, and can be cleaned easier.
Taylor has taken his classic fronts a step further.
He is now offering numerous add-ons and different designs based on many of your different tastes. If you desire an American flag background, he has it. If you want that traditional leather “carved” front, he has it. Have a logo you would like on it? He can basically put any logo on a front for you. Gold leaf? YES! Carved front with a rough etching? YES! Taylor is now messing around with a “heat-glow” that glows-in-the-dark when it is in a hot environment.
If you can think it, he will try to do it!
One thing I can thank Taylor for is changing my mind about metal fronts. The other thing I can thank him for is hooking us up and letting us try out his impressive products so we can come up with this review and show that there are more options than the traditional leather shields out there. So with that being said, please take the time to read a couple reviews from my friends that have also tried out Taylor’s Tins and head over to his website to order yours today! Robert Woodhead -The “OVM”
Everyone has that custom leather frontal that they love and end up either never getting or spend upwards of $150 to get. Then what happens? You catch a couple of good jobs and that front that you spent so much money on is as well done as an overcooked steak. Well, I was one of those guys too. I spent money on a custom frontal that I loved and after a decent amount of fires and live burns it was toast.
Luckily, we had the opportunity to try a custom frontal from Taylor's Tins, and it has surpassed my expectations. Taylor's Tins offers excellent custom artwork, engraving, gold leaf lettering, the whole 9-yards to make your frontal stand out. Best of all, it’s firefighter owned and operated. Our Taylor's Tin Frontal has been put through a considerable amount of torture, and it has passed everything that I have thrown at it. His metalwork and his artwork are still holding strong! The artwork is not chipping, and the front is not bending or shrinking like a traditional leather does when exposed to fire. I will tell you this; I will be ordering, as well as some of my guys from my station, from Taylor's Tins for a long time.
This is a great product, and if you have not gotten one yet, you’re missing out! James Cook - Contributor - Station-Pride.com
I got one for my senior man, and then my crew got me one as a Christmas present. A metal shield to prevent having to replace a damaged, unreadable leather shield that holds so much information. To some, that's stupid, because traditionally we like to have wall hangers and other items to remember your career. But to me, a metal one is an excellent idea for safety sake. For instance, a mayday is called by Firefighter Jones. Himself and his partner, Firefighter Smith, are stuck on the second floor in heavy smoke conditions. Firefighter Jones states he can not contact Firefighter Smith. RIT 1 locates a firefighter in the landing directly at the top of the stairs, and reports they have a firefighter. During their descent down the stairs, command asks which firefighter they have so that the second RIT team can be sent to a proper area to search. RIT 1 returns that they are unable to determine without removing the firefighter's mask, as his helmet shield is unreadable. Until he is outside and the mask is removed, they discover that it is, in fact, Firefighter Smith and that they have lost radio contact with Firefighter Jones sometime during the search. Maybe a little far-fetched; I don't know, but perhaps not. The Taylor's tin shields prove to be tough, easily recognizable and readable identification tools for firefighters; period. While mine is decorative, and I am not allowed to use it on duty, my senior firefighter shield is in service and has not shrunk, deformed, darkened, or peeled....and it won't. Website: https://www.taylorstins.com/