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Fixing Scratched Celluloid

celluloid repair parker vacumatic

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28 replies to this topic

#1 AlexisZephyr

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 21:15

Hiya,

 

Lord Z here.  I am looking at buying an old vacumatic.  It has small scratches, like those common on well used plastic.  I want to return the piece to a good looking, shiny state.  Would you recommend (1) buffing, and if so, how, (2) an acetone-fume (not liquid, just vapor) bath, like those used on ABS 3D prints, or, (3) a little tiny bit of brasso (Which happens to clean ABS to a nice shiny state, and, so, I assume, should do the same to celluloid.)

 

Also, there is a little bit of crud or tarnish on the clip and other metal bits.  Is this gold plated in the vacumatic, or are these pieces brass/rolled gold? Should I clean it with brasso or a more gentle process, like a toothbrush and alcohol?

 

Thanks,

 

Lord Z


Edited by lordz, 29 July 2014 - 21:15.

"Minds are like parachutes--you might have lost yours, but that doesn't mean you can borrow mine."

--A wise, wise man.


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#2 AlexisZephyr

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 22:01

bump


"Minds are like parachutes--you might have lost yours, but that doesn't mean you can borrow mine."

--A wise, wise man.


#3 Flounder

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 22:25

I can't recommend Brasso it in an fp context. To be fair, I have used it to excellent effect removing scratches from plastic Swatch crystal. Certainly keep it away from any kind of plating.

 

Greygate make a special polish for use on 'cellulose acetate' plastic, I keep meaning to source some.


Edited by Flounder, 29 July 2014 - 22:25.

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#4 PAKMAN

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 22:34

I would not recommend alcohol or acetone! The clip and fittings are gold plated brass. Over polishing will remove the gold plating. I like to use semichrome on Vacs for a nice shine and very lightly also for the clip and fittings.


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#5 UltimatePenPolish

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 00:56

Cough cough cough ;-)


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#6 VOKEY

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 02:17

Hiya,
 
Lord Z here.  I am looking at buying an old vacumatic.  It has small scratches, like those common on well used plastic.  I want to return the piece to a good looking, shiny state.  Would you recommend (1) buffing, and if so, how, (2) an acetone-fume (not liquid, just vapor) bath, like those used on ABS 3D prints, or, (3) a little tiny bit of brasso (Which happens to clean ABS to a nice shiny state, and, so, I assume, should do the same to celluloid.)
 
Also, there is a little bit of crud or tarnish on the clip and other metal bits.  Is this gold plated in the vacumatic, or are these pieces brass/rolled gold? Should I clean it with brasso or a more gentle process, like a toothbrush and alcohol?
 
Thanks,
 
Lord Z

Put a dab of Zymol on your polishing cloth. Wrap it around your pen and start spinning the pen. While still wrapped in the polishing cloth, pull the pen up and down. Then do the same thing with a dry portion of the cloth.
I think Simichrome is probably the best polish but I can't find it any where.

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#7 VOKEY

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 02:20

I would not recommend alcohol or acetone! The clip and fittings are gold plated brass. Over polishing will remove the gold plating. I like to use semichrome on Vacs for a nice shine and very lightly also for the clip and fittings.


Where do you get your hands on Simichrome? I can't find it in any hardware store. Some of the staff at different places have heard of it but don't know where to get it

#8 GAtkins

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 15:14

The jungle....



#9 Ron Z

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 15:34

You can buff, but be careful. A buffing wheel can snatch a pen out of your hand faster than you can blink. If the wheel rotates clockwise (downward towards you) buff on the lower front quarter of the wheel. Use only a loose felt wheel, no faster than 1725 RPM, using light pressure and a compound intended for use with plastics. The blue plastic compounds are dry so they leave very little behind, but contain an aggressive, fine abrasive that gives excellent results.

Brasso - no. It's for polishing metal, and has heavy duty cleaners in it that could damage plastic.

I would not recommend using any "vapor polishing" method using any organic solvent. That includes acetone, MEK, methylene chloride. Celluloid can be rather fragile,and you don't know exactly how it would respond. It will take some time for the solvent to come completely out of the material.

I also recommend avoiding polishes that contain wax or other solvents, therefore don't use Simicrome on celluloid pens. I used to use carnauba wax until it was pointed out that the wax naturally contains acids, and Renaissance wax until we found out how hard it is to remove the wax from the object.

I do recommend and use only polishes that contain only micro abrasives suspended in water. With them you get excellent results, but nothing is applied or left behind that can harm the celluloid.

Always check with the vendor about the content of their polish before you use it if it is not listed in their sales information.

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#10 Shaporama

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 17:31

My favorite approach is to use Micromesh double-sided pads, starting with the coarsest grit and working my way up to the finest grit. I've found this to be much more effective than polish at eliminating or minimizing scratches.  Of course its a lot more work.  To reduce effort without compromising the results am now moving from coarse to very fine grit in two-step increments.  When I am done I apply a coat of Ron Z's polish, then buffer with a microfiber cloth.  For the finishing touches I often buff again with a nail buffer.  Caution: use your discretion - practice this approach on a few cheap pens first because it is not a "loss-less" process - you are removing a layer of celluloid.  Also, I take care to mask any imprints on the barrel.  Finally, I often shine-up the brightwork with more of Ron Z's wonderful polish, or sometimes a touch (just a touch) of Simichrome.

 

Follow this link to the Anderson Pens website and an article about polishing pens with their Micromesh pads:  http://blog.anderson...ing-micro-mesh/

 

Good luck!



#11 CaptainBA

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 18:44

I do recommend and use only polishes that contain only micro abrasives suspended in water. With them you get excellent results, but nothing is applied or left behind that can harm the celluloid.

Always check with the vendor about the content of their polish before you use it if it is not listed in their sales information.

What polishes fit this category?


I'll keep on struggling, 'cause that's the measure of a man.


#12 balson

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 19:31

What polishes fit this category?

he is perhaps too humble to mention that he sells it himself

http://www.mainstree...s.com/stuff.htm

i have used this stuff on all my pens that do not have abalone or are made of hard rubber, my only complaint about the product is that he does not sell it in a bigger bottle  :P

 

just be sure to mask any imprints you want to preserve with artists tape or any acid free tape that does not leave a gummy residue.  



#13 ImplacablyGreen

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 02:13

What polishes fit this category?

 

Another polish that others have used (including our own venerable Francis Goosen of Fountainbel pens) is micro-gloss. It's available in a 5-micron (green bottle) and 1-micron (blue bottle) grade. I've used it on acrylic and vintage celluloid with very good experiences.


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#14 lcoldfield

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 08:07

Micro-gloss is water based.  It is used by the military for polishing the inside of aircraft canopies.  I recommend it for all pen plastics.

Laurence



#15 AlexisZephyr

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:51

Thanks guys!  On the issue of acetone, i was thinking 2 minutes of acetone vapor, followed by two to three days drying, with no contact between the celluloid and any objects.  They used to used acetone in celluloid repair and modification (in larger amounts, generally applies via paintbrush , as opposed to via vapor treatment.) What do you think? 


"Minds are like parachutes--you might have lost yours, but that doesn't mean you can borrow mine."

--A wise, wise man.


#16 CaptainBA

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:02

Thanks for the information on polishes everyone :D


I'll keep on struggling, 'cause that's the measure of a man.


#17 DavyJones

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 13:35

I've had excellent results using micromesh and water on my Vacumatics.  It gives them a shine like brand new.  They are really quite stunning once you get all the microscratches out, and I find the smell of the camphor in the celluloid quite nice once you really get polishing... smells a bit like Vicks.  For the gold plated parts I would gently use a jewelers cloth.


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#18 terim

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 15:00

We really like Novus .... So much so that I have started giving away free samples with some orders. We mostly use the fine scratch remover, and sometimes the white coarse scratch remover. (This may qualify as a micro abrasive in water .... I know it is water based.)
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#19 dave-

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 21:01

look for plexiglass polish



#20 AlexisZephyr

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 21:50

Ok.  Thanks guys.


"Minds are like parachutes--you might have lost yours, but that doesn't mean you can borrow mine."

--A wise, wise man.






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: celluloid, repair, parker, vacumatic



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