Celluoid ... can be pretty ... nasty when it degrades !!


How do you care for your celluloid ??


What are some of your do's & don't's ???


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When celluloid begins to break down ... is there absolutely no saving it ??

Is there any thing I can do to delay this ??

On knives that are 50/60 yrs old ... will it still happen ??
Nice posts ... great info !!!

Hey, a big thanks Trent !!

A serious "Thank You" for the celluloid articles. I read them this time.

Just skimmed through them yesterday. Today, I read them. Saved the pdf file, copied parts of the 2cnd one to a .doc file.

Nice articles. Actual references ... not just opinions.



I had NO IDEA about the celluloid gases
Then one day I looked at my Italian Fascist Youth dagger and it had this weird pitting
I immediately "quarantined" all my celluloid handled knives
I had maybe 10

The sad part is
I really like the LOOK of some of the older Imperial & Colonial knives with cell handles
I have a Union Cultlery fish knife that has a celluloid handle
I'll keep that one
I have been "thinning out" my celluloid knives
Mostly as gifts

Another issue is each celluloid has a different "formula"
So, some may emit gases/shrink more than others

Air circulation is the easiest and most effective deterent. Never store celluloid in an airtight enviroment. I have nearly 300 celluloid handled knives and with very few exceptions (Fightin' Roosters are tough!) I've had virtually no  problems with off gassing and/or shrinkage with any that were free of it when I got them. Early on I custom built a storage/display that allows air circulation from bottom to top. Anytime air moves in the room, it moves in the cabinet. I used fiber filters to keep out dust. Also, over the years I've done a little bit of experimenting on cell handled knives I've purchased that had light to moderate off gassing/shrinkage. I found that by using the thin type super glue, you can fill most of the cracks and voids. After filling, very lightly sand the entire surface. In most cases this will pull celluloid dust into the still wet adheseve, coloring it naturally. (repeat if needed to level) There was also one case where after the fill and sand, I overlayed both handles with a thin layer of the same adhesive, sanded with 600 & 800 grit wet/dry paper after the adheseve was dry and finished with a 1200 grit polishing. The end result was perfect and after 2 years the handles have shown no sign of further deterioration. 2 pieces of advice that I'm certain no true collector needs to hear, but I'll throw them out there anyway. 1.I only advise doing this as a possible way to keep from doing a full rehandle. Some handles will be too far gone to bother with and 2.If you ever sell the knife, please be honest with the buyer. I've only performed this on about 5 knives, (all are still in my possesion) but atleast 4 of the 5 are virtually undetectable to the naked eye. The wilder the pattern the better it works. Plain colors really aren't suited to it. Give one a try sometime and let me know how it goes.


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