My own experiences "in the field" absolutely back up Richard. I've had Ampex sticky-shed tape turn
up with manufacture and shipping dates from the mid and late 70's up thru the mid 80's. I've never
had a Quantegy-branded tape go sticky, I think the transition to the Quantegy brand was in the
mid-90's. I think Ampex changed the formulation in the early 90's, but I don't have any Ampex tape
from that era (just pre-Quantegy) to form a data point. Every Ampex 406, 407 and 456 tape I made in
the 1980's (thru 1988) went sticky. No Scotch 206 or 207 tape I've ever made or transferred was
sticky. Every Scotch 226 or 227 tape I've had in my studio was sticky. As I said, none of the
numerous Quantegy 406, 456 and 457 tapes I've made since the late 1990's (manufacture dates of 1998
onward) have gone sticky. I tend to doubt they will go sticky because my 1980's Ampex tapes were
sticky within a decade of manufacture under similar storage conditions. I also own numerous Maxell
reels, both UD35-90 (non-backcoated) and UDXL35-90 (backcoated). I had one reel of UD35-90 exhibit
sticky behavior once, this reel had been stored in damp conditions for years. I now am not sure that
was SSS I experienced, and I did not try to bake that tape. Back then, I told the owner it was shot
and sent him on his way. This was before I learned about baking. I've never seen another Maxell tape
behave that way, in fact I just recently played one that I made back in the early 1980's and it
still sounded great, was even surprised by the minimal print-through. The last SSS tapes I baked and
transferred for a client were Ampex 406 circa early 1980's. Baking for 12 hours and cooling for 12
hours worked just fine, four 10" reels stacked on shelves in the American Harvester.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 6:01 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] if you want it done right, do it yourself .../ not always
> Hello, Ken,
> I find your paraphrase of Mike Spitz's statement interesting as whale oil was the lubrication
> component of the binder system and not the binder per se. Lubricants were still added to the
> polyester-polyurethane binder system, when it was introduced.
> While this is an interesting story and lubricant/binder compatibility may be an issue, I have not
> been able to substantiate this in any of my research.
> The major whaling ban was passed in 1983, going into effect in 1986, so whaling was prevalent
> through 1985, at least in Iceland as this history shows.
> SSS tape was manufactured prior to 1983. I have some Ampex 407 that I purchased in 1982 that went
> sticky by about 1990 (or so).
> However, the U.S. appears to have banned import of sperm whale oil in 1971.
> I think 1971 is too early a date for manufacture of SSS tape, but perhaps there were large
> reserves of the oil at the manufacturers?
> I still think we're seeing a binder failure issue and not a lubrication failure issue.
> On 2010-12-22 5:19 PM, Ken Fritz wrote:
>> This is a FWIW posting regarding the SSS problem and I'm sure many of you already know this.
>> The owner of the only US tape manufacturing facility passed this on to me a year or so ago and
>> I hope I'm forwarding the correct information.
>> Whale oil was always used in the binder of tape until the ban on whale harvesting went into
>> effect. We observed the ban while the Japanese didn't. We switched to a polyurethane base while
>> the Japanese continued to use whale oil until they stopped making tape. I believe today's
>> technology, regarding polyurethanes, has solved the problem but only time will tell.
>> Merry Christmas all, Ken
> Richard L. Hess email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.