You're correct to replace the entire cassette housing and not try to mess
around with just the pads-so long as you have a very steady hand and don't
drop the tape pack.  T-0's are easily available from large scale cassette
duplicators- be nice and most will sell you a box or two of the empty new
cassettes at a reasonable price.  Of course, each box contains hundreds of
empty cassettes- I don't know how many you need.

We do this all the time and have never encountered a problem with the pads
in the new cassettes adversely effecting signal retrieval.  From your
description, I would also recommend opening and checking or changing all of
the cassette housings that appear to be contaminated-not just those that are
obviously damaged.  Debris in the cassette is not always visible from the
outside and unseen debris inside the cassette can cause problems during

We clean both sides of the tape surface as well but had to build the
cleaning machinery ourselves- I don't believe there is any ready-made
machine available to clean standard audio cassette tapes.  We also cobbled
together equipment to clean DAT's.  Now, that was a royal pain in the #%&*.
Ah-the things we all do for love of our craft!

Peter Brothers
(201) 440-6589

Celebrating 20 Years of Restoration and Disaster Recovery Service

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of andy kolovos
> Sent: Friday, March 28, 2003 11:57 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Rotting pressure pads, rust, bugs and cassette
> housing
> 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]