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Celluloid Rot in Japanese Razors

Just picked up a couple Japanese straights in ridiculously good condition. Not sure about the age on one of them (Gyokuhai) most probably made post WW2). The other is a Takehama made before 1941. Both have celluloid scales. Word has it that rot is not at all common with Japanese scales. Let’s hope that’s an accurate statement. I am tempted to replace the one set (Takehama)
but….they look so fine. Actually they both do. I’m storing these with 10-12 other razors. Should I worry?
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No. Monitor then for signs of degradation, but a lot of the celluloid that was produced is still quite stable.

Congrats: beautitful razors!
So I see that Fikira and an eBay seller state Takehana means pre 1941.
Well, check this link.
Takehana from 1964.
FWIW I have a late 30's Gotta with Celluloid scales without any significant oxidation, and I have seen the same model with heavy rust. I have seen other examples of both. So maybe celluloid doesn't necessarily mean oxidation.
Well, for the time being I’m gonna keep both out of the herd in “razor quarantine”
(toothbrush travel cases work well) and just watch them carefully. 🫰
Well, for the time being I’m gonna keep both out of the herd in “razor quarantine”
(toothbrush travel cases work well) and just watch them carefully. 🫰
Given that this is a mid 60's razor and the scales look like the standard plastic that the Japanese makers used, even Iwasakis have these plain black scales on their tamahagane razors, I seriously doubt that they are at any risk of gassing.
Don't know much about plastics chemistry though so maybe somebody knowledgable will chime in about risk of gassing in these.
Can only wait and see.
The seller advises they are celluloid. I’m probably concerned over next to nothing. But possibly it’s a valid concern.
Celluloid rot spreads it’s evil elsewhere.
Yamaha introduced its line of electric guitars in 1966. The SG2000 model (hollow body, popular with jazz guitarists I’m told) came around in 1978.
Here is a scary example of what the celluloid pick guard did to this fine instrument.

No bueno…..
“Word has it that rot is not at all common with Japanese scales. Let’s hope that’s an accurate statement.”

Not true, Japanese razors can have celluloid that cell rot. I recently re-scaled 2 - Kikuokan razors that had started to off gas. One White the other Faux Ivory.

Japanese western style razors were often scaled in brightly colored, white, faux Ivory or tortice, Translucent, or stylish marbleized colors, that are suspectable to Celluloid off gassing.

Black colored scales rarely off gas. Scales like your Ivory colored and marbleized Gyokuhai, would be the most likely suspect to off gas.

It is not entirely known what exactly causes Celluloid off gassing but, white and white mixed with dark colors to create effects and translucent scales are the most susceptible.

Some brands like the “Duck” like Bresduck and Double Duck almost the entire line was scaled in Celluloid that is highly likely to off gas.

Additionally, the conditions where razors were stored, exposure to sunlight, enclosed condition and humidity contributed to off gassing, these are the exact conditions that may razors are stored in at Antique Stores.

I once saw a razor in the early stages of off gassing and advised the store manager. I retuned 3-4 months later that summer and observed that the razor was still in the case and everything in the glass case had a fine coat of orange rust. The manager advised the seller, but the seller took no action. The razor was ruined in months.

Often dark patterned scales will rust in the pattern of the dark spots, faux tortice and striped scales like Beau Brummel are notorious for this.

Keep an eye on the Gyokuhai, watch for any change in the pin color, (pins and edges often rust first) or fine rust anywhere on the razor, but especially the parts of the blade that are between the scales. It is also possible that the wedge if made of celluloid will kick off and rust the toe.

Remove the scales at the first signs of off gassing. I too would keep at least the Gyokuhai away from a collection for some time until it proves to be stable.

Nice razors, BTW.
I believe the Gyokuhai is celluloid, as Matt states. The FeoN I am not sure about. However, I have two of those FeoNs and they are fine. I would not replace the FeoN scales as they have that nice badge. However, I am not sure about what you mean by storing with other razors. I store my razors in a drawer or box with others, But each is wrapped in VCI (rust inhibiting) paper and each within a sleeve. I would not leave them open to the environment, mostly for corrosion issues and not rot.

I would not worry. I'll bet that if you did an SEM test (scanning electron microscope) you might find that the pick guard and your razor scales are not the same material. But that' an expensive test. Quarantine and wait. (Basically, all my razors are in "quarantine" as they are individually wrapped and sleeved.)
Celluloid off gasses because it has become unstable. When the stuff was made, the recipe's weren't handled like rocket fuel by scientists. It was done on the fly by regular people who, well, were inclined to add a little of this and a little of that when they were short somewhere on the list So some Celluloid breaks done, some does not. Storage conditions have been shown to be a key component/trigger in the story too.

Any celluloid can go south at any time. Most of it doesn't.

Japanese razors are not - not affected - but they seem to have a lower incidence of contamination than a lot of Solingen types like DD. I've seen Japanese blades in what appears to be Solingen celluloid scales too. Remember, they were importing a lot of razors from Germany for a long time, I'm sure a lot of parts were shipped alongside complete razors too.

Not convinced those razor scales are actually Celluloid. Dunno for sure but at a glance I'd guess generic plastic. FWIW - most sellers don't know their butt from their elbow so what people say on Fleabay or wherever means nothing to me. Too many times 'sellers' have said horn was Bakelite, bone was ivory, and so on and so forth. A lot of online 'collector' types and 'sellers' looking for that crowd think celluloid is a big deal selling point, like Bakelite, etc. So the term gets used when they're not really sure but they think it sounds good and might help make the sale.

Yep - many guitars have been affected too - I have redone binding on too many Gretsch and Gibsons to count. So sad to see an otherwise clean instrument turned into an eyesore because a little strip of hoodah around the edge morphed into a toxic mess. I've seen a number of Yamahas affected over the years, along with a lot of lower end instruments, Kawai, Teisco, etc.

There are pix on the 'net somewhere, a guy's knife collection was ruined by cell rot while he was in the hospital or something like that. All mint condition NOS collectible blades turned into beaters. What a mess.

Personally, I would not worry about those two.
But if I had 400 NOS Fills I might think twice about what goes in the box alongside them.
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