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  I in turn want to echo David Seubert and David Lennick about metal reels
perhaps not being essential when baking tapes. This is based upon empirical
evidence.

  I work at WFMT in Chicago. We have thousands of reel-to-reel tapes and have
been forced to bake many hundreds since 1991, when sticky shed syndrome began
to appear on some of them. All but a few have been on plastic reels, and I
have never heard of there being a problem with the result. We have never rewound
them before baking because they are stored "tails out" after playing and are
therefore tightly and symmetrically wound, which avoids scatterwinding and any
contact of the tape edges with the reel. Not rewinding doesn't seem to have
caused problems either. Also, since the station bought tape in bulk, reel-free
"pancake" form, after the early 1970s it also bought empty plastic reels in
bulk and although I have no data, they probably were relatively inexpensive
(although not fragile).

  Perhaps metal reels would indeed be best, but WFMT at least has not had
problems with plastic ones. Mostly ten-inch, but including some fairly flimsy
seven-inch ones.

  Don Tait