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Thread: Modern Celluloid Scales

  1. #1
    Senior Member Phoenix51's Avatar
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    Default Modern Celluloid Scales

    After reading more than just a few volumes on "Celluloid rot", the "Uh oh" mode kicked in and has prompted me to ask this question:

    Are the celluloid scales being used today in manufacture of straight razors as hazardous to the health of the blade as the earlier formulations?

    I have a Boker Silver Steel which I value as one of my best razors, It has the imitation tortoise shell scales as were supplied by the manufacturer. I carefully clean and dry ALL my razors after use; this is the only one which has celluloid scales. All others are wood, bone, micarta, or carbon fiber.

    Might I be advised to get this razor rescaled??

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    Thanks in advance for any advice.
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    Thread derailment specialist. Wullie's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry unnecessarily. Just keep an eye on it. You'll see the signs manifest before the damage is done if you pay attention.

    I'd watch for warping and/or slight discoloration of the pins themselves or the around the pins. Smell it occasionally, if you get a slight whiff of camphor, then is the time to think about new shoes.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Haroldg48's Avatar
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    If that's a newer one like the one I bought 8 months ago, I don't think the scales are celluloid, I think they're a more modern plastic substance.
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    Thread derailment specialist. Wullie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haroldg48 View Post
    If that's a newer one like the one I bought 8 months ago, I don't think the scales are celluloid, I think they're a more modern plastic substance.
    I hope that is the case. I can say for a fact that German cell from the 70's, 80's and 90's was crap. Seen a LOT of German pocket knives turned to crud from scales of that stuff. It did give plenty of warning that it was going South if you watched for it.
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    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    I don't think sealing has ever been proven to help celluloid. As a matter of fact if sealed and it starts to go it may make it worse. Besides, sealing won't protect from heat and light which are big time promoters of celluloid deterioration.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Just my experience. If the razor in question is with free flowing air through and around it, some degradation is eliminated. In a closed shadow box or razor box it can go fast.
    A friend who collects, maintains, and displays a lot of razors found this change in a DD after two months since the last checkup.
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    The razor was in a sealed shadow box with a few other razors. A mate in another box was the same but worse!
    Some of the scales were fine but they used a cheap for of celluloid for the wedges. DD, HESS, And some of the Beau Brummel and other of the same manufacture were notorious for that.
    Some old celluloid was stored for years before use to prevent bad out-gassing. Fine fountain pens are examples of ten year open storage before finish machining of barrels and caps.
    The new Acrylic examples of Tortis and such are going to last a long time.
    YMMV
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    Last edited by Geezer; 07-17-2014 at 12:02 AM.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    FWIW they do still make and sell celluloid. I bought some several years ago from a US knife supplies outlet, and I know there is a niche market among fountain pen makers and luthiers for it. As far as I know there are factories in the US, Italy and Japan, probably more.

    Regards,
    Neil.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haroldg48 View Post
    If that's a newer one like the one I bought 8 months ago, I don't think the scales are celluloid, I think they're a more modern plastic substance.
    ^^ From what I've read, it seems that Bakelite replaced Celluloid quite a while ago. Not sure what they use now, but I think acrylic is quite popular.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Miller View Post
    FWIW they do still make and sell celluloid. I bought some several years ago from a US knife supplies outlet, and I know there is a niche market among fountain pen makers and luthiers for it. As far as I know there are factories in the US, Italy and Japan, probably more.
    Regards,
    Neil.
    Some of the old stock is still available on line. There are persons that have found old caches of Italian and other manufacture and that sometimes comes up for sale. It should be tremendous as the outgassing has had time to settle out. There are new varieties of the material that are not a true celluloid. Ordering is very iffy as the material is processed in small batches and may be suddenly out of stock. I await some material at this time.
    I love the look of Tortoise and still hate the idea of the natural product being used any more.
    ~Richard
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