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Cellophane or Plastic Bags for Pen Storage



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I have some relatively inexpensive opens that I'd like to put into long term storage. I'm thinking of placing them in bags to prevent them from scratching each other--- would plastic or cellophane be best? Your thoughts please.

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Personally, I prefer to stay away from plastic. Hate it for many reasons. I'd prefer some natural fabric or material instead. Some soft cloth that can protect from UV and light.

 

If you want to see them, maybe plastic, but I seem to remember that some plastics could damage some FP materials. Some FPs need to breath not to accumulate "toxic" (for the material) fumes. Some FPs are better protected from light (e.g. ebonite). Some plastic bags tend to become fragile or "gummy" with time and may end up as trash or goo. Too many years and too many examples of plastics gone wrong (mind you maybe it's only 'cos I had bad luck or used wrong plastics).

 

Ideally I'd go for a silk cloth or leather bag. But cotton, linen, velvet or almost any inert natural product (even paper, silk paper for instance) would give a pleasant tactile experience, likely (depending on choice) also a nice visual experience, and should protect the pens.

 

But that's me. I am a maniac of natural fabrics and materials. So I recognize I am as biased as it may. So, take this message for what it is worth, which I personally would not value too much.

 

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Ink Stained Wretch

For long term, or maybe permanent, storage I use plastic "snack bags." These are ordinary bags of the "Zip-Lock" type that are smaller than regular bags. These bags are candy bar size, rather than sandwich size.

 

And they are polyethylene so there shouldn't be any worries about the plastic doing anything to the pens.

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ink stained wretch filling inkwell

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mizgeorge
On 4/8/2021 at 12:29 PM, txomsy said:

But that's me. I am a maniac of natural fabrics and materials. So I recognize I am as biased as it may. So, take this message for what it is worth, which I personally would not value too much.

 

Good for you! We're also a bit fanatical about natural fabrics and reducing plastic use/waste.

 

I wrap my pens-in-waiting in ph neutral mulberry paper (so I write what they are on the outside and find them easily). It's actually much tidier than bags and inexpensive/reusable as well.

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I suppose it depends on the material from which the pen is made.  Modern acrylics, sealing in a bag is OK.  Celluloid, and especially modern Italian celluloids should never be sealed in a plastic bag. 

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nweissma

why can't celluloids be stored in a plastic bag? and why especially not modern Italian celluloids?

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Karmachanic

Faux velvet sleeves.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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3 hours ago, nweissma said:

why can't celluloids be stored in a plastic bag? and why especially not modern Italian celluloids?

Celluloid needs to breath.  It releases nitric acid, which if not allowed to escape can trigger decay in the material.  It's ugly, and once it's started, terminal.  I've gotten chemical burns from decaying pens.  The recommendation is to store celluloid pens in such a way that air can circulate, and to isolate pens that are starting to break down.  Putting your celluloid pens in plastic bags will seal them, preventing from breathing.  I have a bunch of NOS Sheaffer sections that were stored in  plastic bags for a while, and they started to decay.  I had some in a closed parts bin along with Imperial nib units, and the acid released by the celluloid started to corrode the metal thread sections.   Do a little digging about celluloid conservation and you'll find lots of information.   

 

This is not a universal, but we have found that many of the modern celluloids are vulnerable and are now breaking down.  It's common with many of the Omas and Visconti celluloids.   The Omas Galileo, and Visconti Voyagers are just two classic examples.  Even some of the Arco pens have problems.  Best to let air circulate around the pens as much as possible.

 

I want to emphasise that I am not saying that all celluloid pens fall apart.  Most do need to breathe, and obviously some more vulnerable than others.  But the Sheaffer striped celluloid, black, jade;   Parker Duofold in black and red, and most of the Parker Vacumatic celluloids for example,  are quite stable.  I don't know that I've ever seen a Duofold fall apart or crumble.  Even their marbled colors hold up well.

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Not sure if it’s good enough, but whenever I have celluloid parts in containers, I’ve started including micro chamber paper. 

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Based on experience, you are better off having the container open.

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nweissma
2 hours ago, Ron Z said:

but we have found that many of the modern celluloids are vulnerable and are now breaking down.  It's common with many of the Omas and Visconti celluloids.  

does 'vulnerable' mean without occlusive storage? how often are these modern pens stored in occlusive containers - and why? 

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4 minutes ago, Ron Z said:

Based on experience, you are better off having the container open.


Fair enough. But how do you stay organized then? ...assuming small-space living...

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I recently had a chat with an Italian pen seller. The topic of some people's frustration over celluloid pens breaking down came up. We both agreed that celluloid pens need to come out of their cases at least once a week in order to minimise the risk of outgassing. This is easy for me as I look at and play with my pens several times a week 😀. The pens get lonely and depressed being locked up and neglected in the cases, then they get sick and die 😏.

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1 hour ago, nweissma said:

does 'vulnerable' mean without occlusive storage? how often are these modern pens stored in occlusive containers - and why? 

 

I use the word "vulnerable" to indicate that a particular celluloid is known for it's proclivity to break down.  Wahl Black and pearl pens are often vulnerable.  Sheaffer red veined gray celluloid, the marbled marine green is another example.   I've seen many of the  Visconti Voyager celluloid pens, both the coral and blue that are either crumbling, or have completely crumbled - some turning to as David Nishimura puts it, "granulated sugar." 

 

I would consider the original presentation box to be occlusive when closed, and a lot of people store their pens in closed boxes.  It's quite common, and most likely done because of ignorance, or for convenience.

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Ink Stained Wretch

YoW :headsmack:! I just dug a blue Esterbrook transitional J fountain pen out of the debris, I mean well ordered arrangement, that it was nesting amid yesterday. I have another somewhere else in the same, er, pile. I'd better go check and see if I have a problem there. I'm not sure it was able to breathe all that well.

 

Are there any other fountain pen materials that will degrade like that if left in a plastic bag, which is how I tend to keep pens for longer periods?

On a sacred quest for the perfect blue ink mixture!

ink stained wretch filling inkwell

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Dunno, but do not forget the plastic bag may degrade itself as well.

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Ethelios

Aliexpress sells velvet bags for pens. They're not the fanciest option, but I'm tempted to get some for long term storage. No idea if it's ok, I don't own old pens except a couple that get their own box.

Always looking for new ways to downsize my collection.

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sansenri

I use those velvet bags as well, but I try to avoid them on celluloid, best of all would be natural fibers like cotton, something similar to the GvFC white cloth pen bags that are really neat.

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Interesting discussion with a friend last night.  He's been buying parts of a large collection.   There were a bunch of pens that were in sealed containers - like OS marbled Marine Green Balance pens, and others... for 30 years.  They've decayed to, as he put it, dust.  Valuable pens lost because of improper storage.

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So how exactly do people store parts/disassembled pens in a way that keeps them organized, but still allows air circulation?  

 

Side note: I have a nice pen display case.  I have been opening the lid every few days to air it all out, but I've thought about drilling some holes in the bottom.  Has anyone else done this?  I've also thought about installing a small USB computer fan, but that might be overkill.  

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