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I posted this in the Case group already.

I have a Case Christmas Tree toothpick with a sabre grind. I love the blade and handles, it was one of the first knives I got when I started collecting a couple years ago and it wasn't mint when I got it. I'm concerned because, from what I'm told, the celluloid scales can start deteriorating (I live in FL where it's humid) and gassing out, which will harm not only the Case knife but anything around it including the steel. If you look at where the handles meet the bolsters, you can see a bit of shrinkage, but also discoloration, especially on the far right photo. SO, what can I or should I do and should I be concerned? I printed out a form to send it back to Case, but I don't know what they'd do to it or what to expect or even to ask. Would they change out the handles for acrylic ones or corelon ones? This is just a bit out of my experience. Any advice would be great.

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I have the answer to your question: none. Or to phrase it Jeopardy-style, "The respected, yet brainless knife company that made limited edition collectors knife handles out of flammable materials that gas out over time and destroying themselves and any metal nearby." Answer: "Who is Case?" "Folding Knife Disasters for $200, please?"

I mean, how could it be anything else? Is corelon or acrylic that much more expensive to use? Use the retro pattern, but use a safe handle material, too, for Pete's sake! They look just as nice. I'd love to have this rehandled in a smoked or blue oyster! These aren't my knives, just here to marvel at.

John McCain said:

Now here is the big picture, $64 question !!  As Howard so aptly pointed out, celluloid handled knives were not  originally meant to be collector's knives. The question is, why would Case Classics have a whole program devoted to limited edition, solely meant to be collectible knives, knowing the deterioration factor of celluloid ?? Ignorance, greed, or a new age game of "Hot Potato"?? I don't want to harp on the Case Classic line, as many other companies have used celluloid in knives meant to be collector knives. Just makes you wonder what the thought process was with these companies.

Well, I got a quote of $80 + shipping for genuine abalone scales and a file-worked blade from Finney. Sounds reasonable to me. I think that would, if not keep it's value as a collectible limited edition Christmas tree Case knife, at least keep it's value as a Case toothpick with unique scales in an exotic material. So I think I'll do that, rather than butcher it myself with wood handles.

I'll probably sell a few knives to raise the cash. Maybe I'll do that Kickstarter thing and start a "Save My Knife!" fund!

I also bought some Flitz and will give it a good rub tomorrow.

Beautiful knife. Garrett does exceptional work and you would not be disappointed.

Thanks! He was recommended by several people on this site. I'll post the results when I get it back.

Today's episode of "As the Knife Turns" is titled "What a Difference a Day Makes" or "Toothpick Takes a Flitz Bath!"

Well, as promised, I got some Flitz at Ace and gave the old girl a good rub down and things aren't as bad as I thought. Keep in mind, I did the same thing with Brasso when I first got the knife and the stains remained. This time around most of the stains came off, especially on the bolsters and backspring, which makes me wonder now if this is really gassing out at all? The ends of the handles are still curving outward somewhat. The pitting on the blade follows the curve of the handle when the knife is in the closed position, with the exception of what looks like a round cornered rectangle at the mid point, which could have been a price sticker. So I'm wondering, since the handle material, other than the slight bowing at the ends, is still in solid condition, could this knife have been stored or in proximity to ANOTHER knife that was gassing out and caused the pitting damage? In which case, maybe I'm jumping the gun in my efforts to rehandle this thing. I don't know what the first signs of gassing are on the handle material itself, only the resulting damage to the bolsters and blade. There's no odor or other signs of it. I think for now I'll just hang onto it as is since apart from the minor pitting it's in good shape.

OK, so I dont know that gassing makes them bow out.  A great way to check for Gassing is close the blade, visual where the line on the blade is from open to closed.  Now look at that line with the blade open.  Gassing will usually begin a discoloring which looks like the upper portion of the blade is slightly darker.  Also the pitting be we also know that can happen in many ways

Well, that dark line is exactly what's happening. The top portion in the second picture, it exactly follows the handle when the blade is closed, but as you said, it could have been caused by something else, perhaps another old knife gassing out nearby. Now that the blade and bolsters are polished and clean, it'll be easier to mark any subtle deterioration and keep an eye on it.

I dont think your issue is that another knife gassed out near it, I think this one is going.  The key to celluloid is no heat and temp control.  The flitz will help some

You know Richard, as much bad news as we have given you on this, I am very glad you came here.  Having a place to discuss it, work through it and make informed decisions on our sharp friends is always great!  Thanks for sharing with us !! 

Oh absolutely! And I want to thank everyone for all their help and assistance, and not just this group. People in the Case group have been very helpful as well, including one member who said one of the first signs of decomposition is the material near the bolsters shrinking and bowing out. I think you're right - the knife handles are going. But thanks to iKC we've:

1. Examined the evidence and clearly identified the problem.

2. Got Flitz on the blade and bolsters to help protect the surfaces and minimize the damage.

3. I know not to seal the knife by itself which will contain the fumes and increase the damage, but also keep it away from any other blades.

4. Explored rehandling it in wood and doing it myself, neither of which being an intelligent idea

5. Contacted a recommended knife restoration expert who'll rehandle the knife in an appropriate material for a reasonable price.

I can't think of anywhere else I could have gotten all this information to be proactive in the saving of this knife. Thanks again iKC! And I've only been here a week!

...and just fyi, this was Case's reply to my asking about a rehandle:

"Good morning,

Unfortunately the first is true.  Many of the case classics with celluloid were produced with a very limited warranty.  We are unable to repair the items as we do not have any of the tooling or material that could be comparable to the original.  I am sorry that we could not help more.  

Matthew Burt"

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