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ARSCLIST  February 2012

ARSCLIST February 2012

Subject:

Re: Tape Backcoating

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 9 Feb 2012 15:27:00 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (245 lines)

Hi Martin:

I think paper leader tape is fine as long as the tape is stored properly. There were issues with 
some 3M plastic leader batches, I think in the 80's. Also, as you say, plastic leader can hold a 
static charge (which I've never found to matter except in that it attracts dust). One 
question/concern I have is what if today's splicing tape turns out to be no better than the stuff 
that goes gooey and/or loses its plastic or cellulose backing. I doubt I'll be messing with tapes in 
40 or 50 years, so I guess I don't care, but it would be nice to know for sure that splices lovingly 
repaired in recent years won't be the same mess for some future engineer.

The other concern I have about old tapes is that my own experience indicates they should not be 
stored in bone-dry conditions like are recommended for sticky-shed era tapes. Anyone who owns a 
bunch of old mass-duped reels knows that the early polyester stuff curls and warps if it's stored in 
hot and/or dry conditions for too long. I think the recommended low-humidity conditions maintained 
in vaults storing later-era tapes is not good for the old brown-oxide pre-backcoat stuff. It's not 
good for Scotch 206, either, which becomes stiff (slightly brittle) but does not warp. Maxell UD and 
UDXL also get somewhat stiff over time, but my tests for them and Scotch 206 show that this doesn't 
effect their ability to play or record unless they are so dried out and stiff that the oxide flakes 
off.

Anyway, I agree that this has been an interesting discussion. I'm sorry you to deal with the mess in 
front of you, I hope you are able to find a solution. Don't underestimate the value of time spend 
trying to locate second sources.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Martin Fisher" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2012 12:49 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape Backcoating


Thanks again Richard, Tom, Jim, Louis, Shai, Nigel, Dan, (whoever I've left out),

I've been following this thread with great interest and am happy that it has stayed on topic for the 
most part.  Intriguing stories and possibilities.

Here's a little about how I usually operate.

After a visual inspection, I almost always give any non-back coated tape a fast wind on a Studer 
A807 or Sony PCM-3402 holding a folded Pellon type material over the tape between thumb and 
forefinger.  If a rough spot passes through I back up and inspect to check for deformations or 
splices.  If the splices are OK and holding I MAY give a light wipe with lighter fluid if there is 
slight bleeding or any surrounding residue.  I also check one or two adjacent winds on either side 
of the splice AND THE TAPE to see if residue has either stuck or crept over and give them a light 
cleaning also if needed.  Giving the tape a sharp curl and "rocking" with the splicing tape on the 
outside of the curl will usually determine if the splice is going to hold.  If the splice failing, 
bleeding profusely or is just plain botched (applied diagonally and overhanging the recording tape 
at the edges or applied to the oxide side, etc.) the old splicing tape is removed and the tape ends 
are given a thorough cleaning with lighter fluid and new splicing tape is applied.  Here is where I 
also check to see how much blank area is left before and after the program.  If there is enough 
blank area to properly thread the transfer machine and still catch ALL of the program at "speed" and 
enough to secure the head/tail end to the reel leaving a wind or two of blank area at the end of the 
pack I leave the ends alone.  If not then I leader the tape at the offending end(s).

Here I might note that, as many of you have stated before, paper leader does not seem to collect a 
charge as do plastic based leaders.  Cassettes seem to suffer horribly from this phenomenon but 
reels do also.  The charges from the leaders also seem to either migrate to their adjacent layer 
packs or charge the heads and transport and the resultant popping continues past the leader for a 
couple of revolutions of the tape pack past the heads.  I haven't experimented to find out whether 
the pops and ticks are actually RECORDED onto the adjacent layers or the continued noise is the 
result of the heads and transport discharging without having a lasting effect on the oxide.  I would 
expect the latter because moving a cassette from one machine to the other can have varying results.

Here is the place we can all chime in to recommend the best types/brands of paper leader, splicing 
tape and hold down/zebra tape (for securing the ends to the reels) and the best places to obtain 
them.  (I recently ordered two reels of  1/4 inch leader believing it to be paper only to find that 
it was plastic and slit slightly too wide!!!!)

I deal with mold and mildew as best I can with the Pellon wipes and what chemicals I have at hand. 
That's a novelette in itself and I "don wanna go inta that rite naow."  I will say that I try to 
recycle dirty 7" reels by giving them a thorough washing in the sink with a dish cloth and tap water 
since we don't have a dishwasher at hand and new reels are either cheaply made, nearly impossible to 
find or rather expensive.

When transferring, the tape is given a library wind by the transfer machines onto the original clean 
reels.  Single direction recordings are wound tails out and multiple direction recordings are wound 
heads out.

Back coated tapes are inspected to see whether baking is necessary.  If so, after baking, back 
coated tapes are handled in much the same way as described above.

Our Nesco has grown to eight Add-A-Trays (the rings with removable trays) in addition to the four 
trays that were included with the original unit.  Again, I've been baking at 135 to 140 degrees for 
approximately 16 hours in two separate 8 hour sessions.  I can see problems with that due to a 
number of factors involved but am a little wary of leaving the dehydrator running overnight when I 
live over thirty miles away.  Heaven forbid I burn the campus down!!  :-)  Your comments welcome....

I'm hoping this rambling narrative will elicit further discussion and suggestions.  Look forward to 
hearing your opinions.

Martin

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of 
Richard L. Hess
Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 7:31 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape Backcoating

Martin, for 1/4-inch tapes, I bake routinely 24+ hours in the Nesco at
54 C (130 C). I don't want to go higher as I've stated previously in this thread because of the Tg 
of the basefilm.

Cheers,

Richard

On 2012-02-08 5:26 PM, Martin Fisher wrote:
> Actually this is not too far from what's happened in my case.  These tapes were played, wound and 
> stopped repeatedly at some point after SSS had set in.  Flakes or hairs of the back coat got stuck 
> between layers in the pack and, over time and pressure, became adhered to both adjacent layers. 
> Baking only makes the matter worse by turning the particles into goo and allowing them to bleed 
> over the entire width of the tape and sometimes this migrates to spaces between several successive 
> layers.  Repeated winding and stopping has also caused the coating that has collected on the 
> guides and other parts of the transport to dislodge and stick on surfaces where the tape was 
> stopped.  Much of the time this leaves large masses of the coating adhered to the tape.  I suppose 
> it's because the friction of the tape over the buildup has caused the lumps to heat up and fuse 
> with itself.  Again time, pressure and the heat of baking has turned these into large, thin run 
> spots or sometimes massive, hard lumps that easily tear off the oxide binder during unwinding.
>
> I've been baking 1/4 inch tapes for up to 16 hours in a Nesco dehydrator at between 135&  140 
> degrees in two 8 hour sessions before winding or playing.  (Don't want to leave them running 
> overnight.)  This works fine for most shiny back coated tapes but the matte variety, which easily 
> sheds and is much tackier is a persistent problem.
>
> Thanks Nigel!  :-)
>
> Martin
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Nigel Champion
> Sent: Wednesday, February 08, 2012 2:33 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape Backcoating
>
> Perhaps the problem here is not that the tape was baked but that it was re-wound before baking!  I 
> cringe when I see this advocated.
>
> Pressure on inner windings in conjunction with sticky shed syndrome can create a core as solid as 
> a hockey puck, especially if storage conditions have been sub-optimal.  In such situations, 
> pinning and delaminating is almost inevitable.
>
> Good luck
> Nigel
>
> Nigel Champion
> Archive Manager&  Audio Conservator
> Archive Of Mori&  Pacific Music
> The University of Auckland
> Private Bag 92109
> Auckland 1142
>
> Tel: 64-9-373-7599 ext 85008
> Fax: 64-9-373-7441
> Web: http://www.library.auckland.ac.nz/ampm/
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jim Lindner
> Sent: Wednesday, 8 February 2012 6:41 p.m.
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Tape Backcoating
>
> The backcoat binder system chemistry is in most cases similar if not identical to the oxide binder 
> system, so it sounds like you really do have a mess. Removing one without damaging the other will 
> be extremely difficult. It may be that using a pellon wipe to try to remove it not chemically, but 
> through successive wipes at high speed MIGHT remove enough of it to allow playback, but I would 
> have to see it to tell. It also might be that a low concentration of a solvent will remove the 
> "low hanging fruit" first - so again a pellon wipe with a dilution of solvent and water might 
> work - although you then have the rh issues to deal with, which might also cause problems. These 
> are the "fast and cheap" approaches that might work - but then again you have tried fast and cheap 
> already and have reaped the rewards.
>
> In the past I have used modified film rewinds (with a NAB hub to accommodate tape) and placed the 
> supply reel on one side and the take up reel on the other side - oxide side up in your situation. 
> In between you have your work surface, and you now hand "polish" the tape using a solvent. 
> Unofficially I might suggest experimenting with the now banned 1:1:1 trichloroethane using this 
> modified film rewind approach. Although banned, it may still be available in small quantities from 
> chemistry supply facilities, and yes it is expensive. Fortunately you do not need much. Read the 
> MSDS very carefully, handle very carefully, adequate ventilation, follow all guidelines, hands end 
> eye protection, ventilator - all of it.  This will be a slow hand process. As you get experience 
> you will be able to remove the goo and if you are careful in your application leave the stuff 
> under it. Too much solvent and too much pressure and you will wipe all of it. You "polish" slowly 
> foot by foot winding the completed and clean tape on the take up side. Based on your description 
> you will need to also clean the back coat side because it sounds as if you have softened it enough 
> so that it will reapply itself to the oxide if rewound on it directly based on the pack pressure.
>
> Yeah, well you really do have a mess and a science project. This is just one reason why I am not a 
> big baking fan. There are not too many cases where I see media that is dumpster bound. Next time 
> you might consider cleaning before baking.
>
>
>
> Jim Lindner
>
> Email: [log in to unmask]
>
>    Media Matters LLC.
>    450 West 31st Street 4th Floor
>    New York, N.Y. 10001
>
> eFax (646) 349-4475
> Mobile: (917) 945-2662
>
> www.media-matters.net
> Media Matters LLC. is a technical consultancy specializing in archival audio and video material. 
> We provide advice and analysis, to media archives that apply the beneficial advances in technology 
> to collection management.
>
>
>
>
>
> On Feb 7, 2012, at 5:18 PM, Martin Fisher wrote:
>
>> Hey Guys,
>>
>> What chemicals are good to strip backcoating off reel tapes.
>>
>> NO!  NO!  NO!  I don't want to send them out for stripping.  Way too expensive.  I don't even 
>> want to strip the entire tape.
>>
>> What I need is to clean the backcoat off the oxide layer.  The tape was given a "B" wind after 
>> developing sticky shed and, in places, some backcoating "hairs" got stuck between adjacent layers 
>> and adhered to the binder.  This was exacerbated further by baking.  The stuff just turned to goo 
>> and spread out on the surface of the binder like butter on bread in the oven.
>>
>> Alcohol works but also dissolves the binder an many instances.  No way of knowing the tape stock 
>> since the boxes are generic, reels are haphazard but the backcoating is of the thick, matte 
>> gooeyer variety.
>>
>> Any help appreciated!  :-)
>>
>> Martin
>>

-- 
Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
Aurora, Ontario, Canada           (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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