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My Celluloid Starts To Become Dull...



RubenDh

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Hi everyone

 

I love celluloid pens, and use celluloid Stipula fountain pens as daily drivers.

However, some have become less shiny/reflecting but more dull over time.

 

Is there a simple and cheap trick (similar to shining silver trims again with a toothbrush and a small bit of toothpaste) to "polish" the celluloid?

 

The celluloid pens I have are quite expensive and rare, so I wouldn't want to harm the celluloid in any way!

 

Thanks for all advice and experiences!! :)

 

Greetings from Belgium,

Ruben

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First and foremost, if you are noticing a sudden increase in this "dulling" I would recommend you immediately isolate that pen far away from your other celluloid pens as you may be experiencing the early stages of celluloid degradation from off gassing. Another hint this may be occurring is if your gold hardware and/or nib are looking tarnished. Do not risk spreading the damage to your other pens.

 

Otherwise, the absolute safest way to go is with a fine, soft cloth and some time & patience in applying its almost magic like properties to restore the gloss of your celluloid. There are many impregnated cloths (eg. "Jeweler's Cloths) which are almost certainly safe but not 100% so and certainly not as safe as a non-treated cloth. As for creams and polishes which can be applied, you will find many who swear by them but, again, "you pay your money and you take your chance!"

 

You, yourself say "I wouldn't want to harm the celluloid in any way!" So, best is to stay safe; use some time and effort, not a chemical!!

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Thank you for your reply. The "dulling" is not sudden and only apparent on the caps (the part of the pens that gets touched a lot, e.g. when capping and uncapping, pulling it out of the pen case,...) . So the dulling really has to do with microscratches and regular scratches accumulating. Not with the celluloid degrading or anything (but thank you for the heads up!).

 

 

I have no fine cloth, jewellery polishing cloth or any creams, so which one would you recommend to purchase online?

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Thank you for your reply. The "dulling" is not sudden and only apparent on the caps (the part of the pens that gets touched a lot, e.g. when capping and uncapping, pulling it out of the pen case,...) . So the dulling really has to do with microscratches and regular scratches accumulating. Not with the celluloid degrading or anything (but thank you for the heads up!).

 

 

I have no fine cloth, jewellery polishing cloth or any creams, so which one would you recommend to purchase online?

 

 

Many people like to use the Sunshine polishing cloth

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunshine-Polishing-Materials-7-75x5-Inches/dp/B00O3H5YCA/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=sunshine+cloth&qid=1602598039&sr=8-5

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The Sunshine cloth has micro-crystaline abrasives in the cloth, with "luster enhancers" that will not harm celluloid. I recommend them and use them. They run about $5 plus shipping, and can be used long after they get dirty looking. I don't like to use things like Flitz, Simicrome or Wenol on celluloid pens, though they're OK on other plastics and hard rubber. But if you don't get all of them off, the metal of the trim can corrode (like under the clip).

 

I prefer to use a polish that doesn't have any chemicals in it.

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The Sunshine cloth has micro-crystaline abrasives in the cloth, with "luster enhancers" that will not harm celluloid. I recommend them and use them. They run about $5 plus shipping, and can be used long after they get dirty looking. I don't like to use things like Flitz, Simicrome or Wenol on celluloid pens, though they're OK on other plastics and hard rubber. But if you don't get all of them off, the metal of the trim can corrode (like under the clip).

 

I prefer to use a polish that doesn't have any chemicals in it.

I must admit that in spite of my comments above where I recommend that anything with any chemicals be avoided (which I do recommend) there have been times when I have found that something more is necessary.

In these instances, I have preferred to use a "Connoisseurs Jewellery Cloth." The reason for my preference is because the Connoisseurs Jewellery Cloth is actually a two cloth system whereby after using the treated cloth there is a second, soft and non-impregnated cloth used to finish the process. I believe this second cloth is helpful as it eliminates much if not most of any remaining material left on the pen by the first cloth.

https://www.amazon.com/CONNOISSEURS-Polishing-Jewelry-Cleaner-Violet/dp/B00EEHECZO/ref=asc_df_B00EEHECZO/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167133658256&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5533474395780486750&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9021455&hvtargid=pla-312855028478&psc=1

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ran across this thread while searching for something else.

 

Cork is a mild abrasive I've seen used for polishing brass that generally comes free with decent wine, though I probably wouldn't use the stained end. Talc is another. Now, how they rate vs the impregnated cloths in aggressiveness, I couldn't tell you.

 

Vienna chalk and rottenstone/tripoli are a couple others luthiers use for final polishing of varnishes and can be found at the appropriate vendors (LMII, Atlantic Violin, etc). And I'm sure I recall seeing suggestions for using carnuba wax to protect pens in some thread or another here. Incidentally, chalk is also one of the abrasives commonly found in toothpaste in toothpaste.

 

All that said, I've used cork on metal to decent effect, but the rest are ideas I've not personally tested. Try 'em on a beater first.

And I didn't have the heart to tell her why.
And there wasn't a part of me that didn't want to say goodbye.

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And I'm sure I recall seeing suggestions for using carnuba wax to protect pens in some thread or another here.

 

...and we've also discussed at length why that is a bad idea. One is that the wax contains natural acids, and the other is that it seals the surface so that any nitric acid vapors released are trapped.

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honestly I see no reason to polish a celluloid pen.

Celluloid does slightly scratch with use but it remains a beautiful material, that in some way is polished by your fingers in use...

When needed (too many finger prints) I give it a good wash in water and very mild soap.

A bit like you do with eye glasses (many glasses used to be made of celluloid, btw).

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I have just finished cleaning up a CS 36 I received in the mail.I used Polywatch on the clip and to polish out some scratches where the cap had been posted then applied a light coating of marine wax ,not canuba.

THEN

I read this post. Oh Well .

326FC795-487C-4957-BFB4-2DD1376AD58B.jpeg

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...and we've also discussed at length why that is a bad idea. One is that the wax contains natural acids, and the other is that it seals the surface so that any nitric acid vapors released are trapped.

And this is a fine example of why I disclaim! Thanks for the info, I missed that further discussion. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I believe it was ebonite pens in the comments I did see.

 

And I didn't have the heart to tell her why.
And there wasn't a part of me that didn't want to say goodbye.

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