Less strenuous is to see about playing a full-track tape with a 2-track
machine and seeing if one track is usable. My experience -- and I think
Richard mentioned this to me once as a perfectly legit method -- is that
warped/crinkled full-track tapes will not track the gap on a full-track head
but will sometimes on one of the two tracks. For spoken word, which I think
is most of Dave's collection, this should make little difference, especially
if you're doing digi-dehissing. For music, it might be more problematic,
although I've transferred very high fidelity classical recordings from
curled full-tracks using this method and the audio is great. I should say
that some tape hiss does not bother me and even Scotch 111 in this method
does not have an objectionable amount of hiss for me. For this method, I had
best results on my Technics deck with their iso-loop type system. Not sure
why it worked better but the phase seemed to track best (ie the treble and
s/n were stable throughout the reel) vs. my Ampex decks.
Another method, which I have used for 2-track tapes with this problem, is to
put a medical gauze pad in the head cup of my Ampex 440B. I first feared
this would cause static buildup and pops, but this has not been the case.
The gauze holds the tape cleanly against the head. It definitely is rough on
the head but it holds the tape firmly enough to track correctly and hold
phase, at both 7.5 and 15 IPS. This method, by the way, was used for some
warped classical 35mm audiofilm that was released on a major label and I'd
challenge anyone to figure out which film it was among the label's releases.
Again, this method is not good for tape heads, so it should be used
sparingly when nothing else works.
If it were me, I'd try mechanical fixes before resorting to chemistry. One
man's opinion, etc.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 2:37 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] old acetate tapes - curling/tape tension remedies?
> At 11:37 AM 10/6/2005, dave n wrote:
> >Hello all -
> >I'm looking for information about how anyone here on the arsc-list
> >has handled and transferred old acetate tapes that have begun to curl?
> Hello, Dave,
> Friedrich Engel, the retired BASF historian, gave me a present in a
> phone conversation (yes, to Germany, his English was far better than
> my German). You can re-hydrate acetate tapes.
> The procedure I used, based on discussions with Engel, was to place
> the tape in a 100% humidity atmosphere for about 24 hours.
> The subject in question was a 1935 Carbonyl Iron tape from the Jack
> Mullin collection. Too bad, there were only a few tones on it, but it
> When I first got it, it behaved much like a carpenter's steel tape
> measure and you could hold a foot or more of it extended. After the
> treatment, it felt like a satin ribbon.
> I placed the tape in an open container inside a sealed container. The
> sealed container had about an inch of water in the bottom. The tape
> was up on spacers in the open container. This was room temperature.
> I tried this again with a tape that spent several years behind a
> woodstove and it did soften it a bit, but the tape was too blocked
> (adhered layer to layer by edge melting) and too fragile to play
> either before or after this treatment, although the fragile pieces
> were much softer even after this extreme.
> I would suggest trying this with one reel that is not as important to
> get the "feel" of the process.
> If it works, thank Herr Engel, if it doesn't please let us know here
> and let us know your experiences.
> I would think this is safer than trying to force the tape into
> contact by either tension or pressure pad.
> I make no warranties as to the long-term effects of this treatment.
> Richard L. Hess [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada http://www.richardhess.com/
> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm