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     The problem with replacing the felt pads is finding ones which are
appropriate for the pad "holders", those little metal pieces to which
most pads are attached and which are lodged into the cassette body. I've
seen three basic types of pad/holder combination. Flat, where the
platform for the pad is level with the pieces that attach to the body.
Raised, (especially recent TDK brand) where the pad is thinner and the
difference is made up by a raised platform for the pad. None, (older
Maxells)  a much thicker pad rests against the cassette body itself with
no metal holder. There may be more varieties. You'll get best results if
the pad and holder match.
   Also a warped cassette housing can cause a lot of problems. Some
tapes that seem sticky are actually just rubbing against the plastic of
the cassette body.
    So to answer to your first question, I'd recommend taking apart the
housings of all the cassettes in this collection, especially if they
have screwed-together housings, and replacing any that seem a little
off. Chances are something will not be ideal. Also, undoing the housing
will make replacement of pad/holder combinations, if that's all you
need, a lot easier.

James

>>> [log in to unmask] 03/28/03 11:57AM >>>
Folks,

We recently received a donated collection of oral history recordings
on
cassette, done mostly in the mid-1980s.  After giving the lot a
once-over,
I discovered that the felt pressure pads on a number of the tapes have
wholly or partially rotted out.  With these recordings, I've simply
been
transferring the tapes into new cassette housings.  However,
disassembly of
the problem housings and general processing of the collection has
revealed
additional issues--rusted housing screws, oxidation on metal parts,
the
fact that they arrived in a cardboard box full of dead bugs and dirt,
that
most didn't have cases, etc.--that reinforce what I suspected about
their
storage environment and cause greater concern about the overall
condition
of the collection.  I'm looking for feedback in a few areas.

1) Since so many of these tapes have obvious problems (such as the
above
mentioned rotting pressure pads) that need to be dealt with before they
can
be played, does it make sense to open up and inspect all the
housings--even
those that do not show strong outward signs of problems--and transfer
tapes
where obvious rust and other moisture related problems with the housing
are
found, or is it better to leave the tapes that are in functional but
afflicted housings in their original containers?

2) What impact will putting tapes into new housing with different
sized
pressure pads have on playback?  With at least one example, a tape has
an
intact (in this case meaning "non-rotted") felt, but the adhesive is
loose.
 If the difference in pressure pad size between the original housing
and
the new housing would cause playback problems, I could pull a copy off
the
tape with it in this housing and then transfer the tape to a new one
afterward.

I'm sure the problems with these recordings go beyond just moisture
related
issues to the housings.  Although none of the tapes I've inspected seem
to
be sticky, I'm sure the tape itself has suffered from 20 years in an
attic/basement/porch/shower stall/barn/car trunk.  And judging by what
I've
heard already, the source recordings were pretty bad to begin with.
One of
the joys of the profession.


Thanks, as always--

andy
*********************************
Andy Kolovos
Archivist/Folklorist
Vermont Folklife Center
P.O. Box 442
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 388-4964
[log in to unmask]
http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org