I've done moldy tapes, varying degrees of mold. A Pelon wipe has solved the problem for me. But, let
me say these are not the fuzzy-bushy molded kind of tapes I've seen ruined in a damp storage room.
Those tapes were original cellulose-backed Scotch 111 and the mold actually ate the tape away
(actually probably ate the cellulose, leaving a pile of wet rust behind). This would have been over
20+ years in a trunk in a damp but never flooded storage room. It's too bad, too, because the tapes
were field recordings made in rural Korea during the Korean war era. In contast, early and mid 50's
Audiotape that had grown a slight beard of mold were cleanable and playable, stored in the same room
but not the same trunk. Later plastic-backed tapes don't even seem to grow mold -- the mold eats the
box but not the tape or the reels.
One man's experience, etc.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2008 2:42 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Mould &tape
> Hello, Will,
> All-in-all, mold is a headache, and I limit my mold processing to 1/4-inch tape as that is what
> I've seen most of and that is what I've set up to do. I haven't seen enough of any other format
> that I transfer to warrant setting up for it when I can refer the potential client to Peter
> Brothers or Steve Putolillo.
> I've been successful in cleaning moldy tapes but I insist that I do a high-resolution (24/96)
> transfer of the tapes as I do not guarantee that my procedures will not provide some long-term
> harm to the tapes.
> I did a dozen or so reels for a Canadian broadcaster which had been kept moist for a half a dozen
> years or so. This was probably the worst mold job I've had -- there was thickness to the mold
> living in the windows of the metal 10.5" reels. It took me a day in my garage to do treat the
> group of reels, and another day baking. This was the impetus to get a "moldy" baker (food
> dehydrator) that I only use on moldy tapes (after cleaning, usually) and only out in the garage. I
> figure if some mold escapes in the garage, it will enjoy meeting its distant cousins who were
> already living there when I bought the house.
> I keep one of my oldest Sony APR-5000s in the garage without heads as the cleaning transport.
> The only places I've accepted mold from have been Bermuda, Canada, and the U.S.A. I have refused
> Central-American mold as I feel it's irresponsible to knowingly bring an "exotic" species into the
> area, and I cannot insure that I've 100% killed the mold.
> The bulk of my moldy tapes have been from the mid-south (the Carolinas seem to be especially
> hard-hit). Oddly, a client on Key West doesn't have any mold per se, but she has ten cassette
> tapes which are the hardest I've ever had to play. The only thing that's worked on them so far is
> D5 siloxane (Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane) and I really don't like using it.
> Anyway, there are a few resources out there for transferring moldy tapes. I think Steve Puntolillo
> at Sonicraft has done some as well--I think he did some 2" from Jamaica that needed TLC.
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
> Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.