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Thread: Rust forming on F.W. Engels Leader straight razor

  1. #1
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    Post Rust forming on F.W. Engels Leader straight razor

    Hi, I need some advice, I have a F W Engels razor. I've had it for around two months, when I got it , it had some rust and the black devil's spit(I guess that is what it's called.) I sanded the rust off and polished it, honed and shaved with it. I just use hot water to clean off the blade and wipe it dry and put it up in a paper box. It was stored in my room on a shelf. It is used in rotation with a few other straight razors. Last month, I noticed a brownish spot forming on the blade, I wiped it with a cloth soaked in RemOil and noticed it looked like rust. I sanded the rust off with a dremel brush and used the RemOil to coat the blade and left it alone. The rust came back. I have not shaved with it in over a month, but the rust still forms on the same spot even though the blade is oiled down. I have tried fishing reel grease, 3 in one oil, the rust comes back in the same spot. I have even used a qtip to oil betweeen the handles where the rust spot forms on the blade. To no avail, the spot still forms. I have used dremel's coarse brushes to sand down the blade, I am afraid to keep doing this, cause the blade is thin already near the edge isn't it? Also, lately I had stored the razor in one of those sterilite storage boxes, with my other razors, and the other razors have not shown any rust forming on the blades. I have since stored the leader razor alone, away from the other razors. There is still some pits on the blade, a couple near the spot where the rust forms. The first picture shows the blade after I cleaned and oiled it, the second shows after one day the rust looking cloud forming. I'm stumped, any advice?


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    Senior Member JSmith1983's Avatar
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    It looks like what happens from Cell rot, but I can't see your scales. Are they celluloid and if so it might be cell rot. Hopefully someone else will see this post and chime in cause I am not sure.
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    I tend to agree with JS above, what you are describing sounds like Cell Rot can we see a close up of the scales ???

    Can you see warping, degradation, on perhaps swelling on the scales do you smell anything like sweet rotting Vinegar???
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    Yep, the stuff is so corrosive I know of no coating that will protect from it. The fact it keeps coming back even with treatment is the smoking gun.

    Often times with cell rot it starts slowly and in one place only and the scales appear to be perfectly normal. You would have to take the scales off and look at the insides with mag to see a difference.
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    The scales on the Engels Leader are definitely celluloid. This is to bad as they are a great looking set of scales. Just from what I can see of the blade, it does look like cell rot. I had the same razor do the same thing about five years ago.
    What to do? Clean your blade one more time, and then wrap the scales in plastic wrap with the blade open. Store the razor out of reach from anyone and AWAY from your other razors with the blade open 90 degree so you will expose the least amount of the blade to the scales, and wait and see what happenes. No more rust means cell rot. If this is the case, the only thing to do is trash the scales.
    This is a sad ending to a great looking set of scales, but if you rescale with a good looking set of horn scales, you may even like them better.
    I hope this helps. Very Best, John

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    If you have to trash the scales I would try to save the bolsters and maybe transfer them to another set of scales. There are some threads on transfer bolsters, but I haven't been brave enough to attempt it myself yet. Had to look up that razor to see the scales and it is a shame if its cell rot cause they are nice looking.

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    If you keep the blade away from the scales and the spots recur, then you may not have worked through weak steel to good steel. Weak steel will continue to degrade even under oil. In fact the isolation from air by the oil may accelerate the process.

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    Hi, Thanks for the help. I am posting pictures of the scales. I do not smell anything from the scales. I will clean the blade tomorrow and isolate the blade from the scales as much as I can. On the picture showing the wedge, the upper edge of the scales looks like it has tiny cracks in the material itself, as well as along the back side of the scales. I could not feel any of the cracks. Thanks again. Name:  IMG_0437.jpg
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    I'm gonna blame it on "cell rot" too.

    The tiny cracking you mention is one of the manifestations of decomposing celluloid.

    Judging from the fact that rust is only occurring in a small area means that the process is just now starting.

    Damn shame as those are beautiful scales.

    Once it starts, there is no stopping it. The only thing you can do is to remove the blade if you want to save it. As was stated above, save the metal on the scales and get rid of the rest.

    Nitric acid fumes are the reason your razor is rusting. It is given off by the decomposition of the celluloid.
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    Thank you gentlemen, I was afraid of this, but it happens. I am going to clean it again, and try that isolate the blade from the scales advice. If the scales are bad, I'll save the blade and the bolsters and take it from there. I appreciate all the advice. God Bless.

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