Hello Richard:

It was quitesome time ago that I did that project. As best as I can 
recall, the tape did not exhibit a huge amount of adhesion, but 
definitelydid not unwind by hanging free.

In general, my experience has been that both 16mm and 35mm mag film 
exhibits more severe problems with VS than acetate base tapes. I have 
never encountered a tape that has shown the degree of severity we've 
seen on mag film. This probably is due in no small part to the thickness 
of the base material, combined with a thicker oxide, as well as the fact 
that many mag film have been stored (either sealed or un-sealed) in 
cans, where as tape are generally in boxes.

We did one project a few years back involving both 1/2" and 1/4" 3M 206, 
some of which had been stored in cans, others in boxes. Same vault, same 
project. The 206 stored in the cans exhibited a much higher level of 
acidityon the acid strips tests.

I have had varied results with cold treatment of acetate base film and 
tape. To be honest, I have never tried going down to freezing-I've just 
never been confortable with it. I have had some good success going down 
to about 38 F though. The hardest thing to control is re-acclimating it 
back to room temp without having condensation problems.

I have also had good success re-hydrating both tapes and mag film, but 
have only done it in instances where the oxide is not shedding or 

It's tough to judge the effects of long-term exposure to dry storage 
conditions for acetate. I have seen some tapes that have done quite well 
in both dry vaults and conditions where moisture is higher. I thnk I 
would still tend to lean towards a drier environment for most materials 
though, especially if they are not in acid-free containers. I have also 
encountered a number of 2" quad tapes which were stored in a fairly high 
moisture (but cool) environment, and they did not fare well.


Scott D. Smith CAS
Chicago Audio Works, Inc.

On 8/20/2013 11:33 AM, Richard L. Hess wrote:
> Hi, Scott,
> Thank you for the update.
> Do you recall if the defective roll peeled off more like masking tape 
> (an exaggeration) rather than just unwinding like most tapes?
> I think the way the tape unwinds under the influence of just its own 
> weight and gravity is a good field test for layer-to-layer adhesion.
> If there was this layer-to-layer adhesion on your defective Soundcraft 
> tape, did you glean any insights into that?
> And you again confirmed the concept that acetate mag film, the "poster 
> child" for vinegar syndrome, is much worse than quarter-inch acetate 
> tape. The big open question on this for me is will acetate tapes 
> ultimately stink like the film. In other words, does the degradation 
> of 1/4 inch tape follow the same curve shape as mag film, only over a 
> longer time frame, or will the tape never reach the critical 
> threshold? This is another unstudied item.
> Two more unstudied items are:
> --Is Tom Fine's conjecture that the recommended storage conditions for 
> "tape" which appears fine-tuned for PET-film based tape harmful for 
> acetate tape by drying it out too much?
> --Is the rule in the standards to not freeze tape eliminating the 
> preservation technique which has been so good for acetate film? Or, is 
> the potential damage from freezing worse than the potential damage 
> from not freezing?
> Very interesting. Thanks again!
> Cheers,
> Richard
> On 2013-08-20 11:43 AM, Scott D. Smith wrote:
>> Richard:
>> I ran into a similar situation with some Soundcraft tapes years ago.
>> Probably mid-fifties vintage. (Don't recall the oxide # right off hand)
>> As I recall, I think we ended up having to hand wind most of them (this
>> is way before we had special transports for cleaning), and cleaned and
>> lubricated the oxide. I spoke with whoever the rep was at Soundcraft at
>> the time, and he mentioned that he had heard of some cases of acetate
>> tapes that had some issues with lubricant. He didn't come right out and
>> say they were defective from the plant, but that is what I surmised from
>> the conversation. There were other tapes from the same collectionwith
>> the same oxide, which had no problems. I also have some tapes in my
>> personal collection from the same era, and when I played a couple of
>> them last year, experienced no issuesbeyond some minimal base warping.
>> On the other hand, we have done transfers of some Soundcraft 35mm mag
>> from the same period, and boy did it stink!
>> --Scott
>> Scott D. Smith CAS
>> ChicagoAudio Works, Inc.
>> On 8/19/2013 6:19 PM, Richard L. Hess wrote:
>>> Hello, all,
>>> I have been in touch with a tape conservator who was asking about a
>>> sticky ACETATE tape. She realizes that it should not be baked, but I
>>> was wondering if any of you had run across this.
>>> The tape is in a Soundcraft box, but other tapes in Soundcraft boxes
>>> in the same batch have transferred well. It is on a clear, six-window
>>> reel (with three of the windows slightly larger than the other three).
>>> It is brown oxide and not back coated.
>>> There are no visible signs (to the conservator) of water damage to
>>> either the box or the reel.
>>> The symptoms are:
>>> (1) Tape sticks to underlying layer and does not drop cleanly
>>>     off the reel
>>> (2) No oxide appears to be pulling out at the outside
>>> (3) When attempting to play the tape, it squeals
>>> The tape is half-track mono, perhaps both sides, at 3.75 in/s.
>>> Any and all thoughts/anecdotes would be appreciated. I may be getting
>>> this tape to transfer and I have some ideas--I'll publish on my blog
>>> if we have success or learn anything.
>>> Thanks!
>>> Cheers,
>>> Richard
>>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
>>> Quality tape transfers --
>>> even from hard-to-play tapes.
> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask] 
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800 
> Quality tape transfers -- 
> even from hard-to-play tapes.