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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

Removing stuck photos from Magnetic Albums

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  #11  
Old 02-08-2002, 03:48 AM
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Sanda Sanda is offline
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There was a slight residue of sticky stuff but not enough to cause a problem although I did put a clean sheet of paper between the back of the photos and my scanner lid as a precaution. But that was mainly to protect my scanner. I haven't attempted to remove the sticky stuff yet I thought I would wait till I go shopping and get some of the rubbing alcohol which Ed suggested.
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  #12  
Old 02-08-2002, 06:06 AM
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I've never heard of a chisler either. But a wide blade (preferably flexible) putty knife should also work well for getting under the photo without bending it.

Ed
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2002, 04:23 PM
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Hi all:

You might try a crape eraser (looks and feels like crape shoe soles) for removing sticky adhesive and available at any art store. Rub across the sticky area and once the area on the eraser turns brown/black cut a little piece off so you have a clean end again.

A chisler might be a micro spatula??? But I'm not sure. Micro spatulas are available through Light Impressions, Gaylord or any other archival supplier and can be great for this type of removal. Another item that works well for getting under tightly bound pages is a teflon spatula (I think available through the archival companies too). These can be bought preformed but I like to take a scalpel to it and maked it even thinner. One warning though...it is really easy to put a microspatula or putty knife right through a photograph so take care!

--Heather
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  #14  
Old 11-15-2002, 10:24 AM
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This was posted to a list I subscribe to, and I got permission to repost:

On a number of occasions, I have found a heated, very thin spatula (edges sanded down) helpful in removing photos from these albums when the adhesive is still in the tacky phase. The spatula is warmed on a tacking iron, then inserted under the photo before cooling, carefully delaminating it from the page. While the spatula is warm, it softens the adhesive and allows the spatula to move underneath separating the two. The spatula must be re-warmed as it cools and no longer "glides" or "cuts" through the adhesive layer. The process is repeated until one has worked around the edges of the photo and across the back to free it up. Obviously the temperature is crucial--warm enough to soften the synthetic adhesive, but not so hot as to melt RC coatings or burn the photo. This can be determined by testing on the margin of the page and a spare RC print. With this method, one is much less likely to skin the backs of prints or induce curl and permanent cracks/creases, as frequently happens when peeling off prints. I have been able to reduce tacky adhesive residues on the backs of the prints with white vinyl eraser or crepe pick up eraser.

I have found that professionals (ie photographers, conservators, etc) are more able to do this than hobbyists due to access to the right kind of tools and a certain level of hand skill. I have tried to describe this technique to people who don't want to pay a conservator (me) and it is hard to find a cheap or readily available equivalent to a tacking iron (food warming trays or heating pads are an option--stoves are not a good alternative!) and the right kind of palette spatula that is thin yet strong, with a bevelled edge (some paint palette knives are rather thick and have straight cut edge that could leave "stroke" marks). In that case, I've suggested dull food paring knives because most table knives are too thick and/or sharp. But it can be done with care even using such make shift arrangements, and palette knives and tacking irons are available from art stores.

As to the hair drier technique that someone posted after my posting--it can work, but best with a 1200.00 device that has a very small aperture for the airstream and heat control settings. I have some concerns, especially with hobbyists and hairdriers--first off, the a large section of the page of photos, front and back sides, gets warmed up even though one can not get to remove all those photos before the adhesive cools (unless they all popp off). And sometimes people burn the photos (or fingers if they try to peel as it gets warm and releases) before they realize how hot they have gotten things, especially if they hold the hairdrier in place ( a common tendency/mistake) rather than moving it back and forth across the edge of the photo. Also, one needs to work fast after heating up an area before it cools and then repeat the process if they haven't gotten the photo off in one move. This repetition may set some adhesives and make it harder to remove some photos on the page that have gotten heated but not removed in the process. Then there's the whole issue of accelerating dye fading if a lot of heat exposure is needed, and possible curling and deformation of RC papers due to dry heat exposure. One could use a heating pad, but the issues would be the same (although perhaps less chance of unexpectedly burning the items except after prolonged exposure or leaving the items set up while taking a phone call or something--it surprising how these things can happen!).


Sarah S. Wagner
Principle and Conservator
Sarah S. Wagner LLC
"Photo Conservation and Imaging Services"
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  #15  
Old 11-15-2002, 10:33 AM
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Doug

I'm on the same list. I knew this topic had come up before somewhere (this thread) but I couldn't remember. Nice of you to post it for the rest of the group.

Cheers,

Heather
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  #16  
Old 11-15-2002, 02:21 PM
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I just read through people's other suggestions. One thought--the spatula I use is basically a sculptor's or painter's palette "knife"--very similar to a putty knife but narrower (1/2 in. wide, with rounded tip). It is not a chiseller which has a sharp angular edge, or the 1/8 in wide microspatulas sold by Gaylord's etc--those tend to be thicker than desirable, and don't have as good a slicing motion, or heat retention. Teflon spatulas tend to be too thick for these purposes and will likely leave stroke marks on the photo, especially those that are tightly adhered. They also can't be heated like metal. They are more useful for splitting boards. The low heat hair drier/ dental floss technique is a good suggestion, again as long as the hair drier isn't blasted on one located for too long! The theory behind the freezer technique is the same as that to removing bubble gum from hair or clothes with an ice cube--the cold temperature makes the adhesive brittle and it cracks. The thing I don't like about that suggestion is that water can condense on the photos when they are removed from the freezer and start to warm up--then there can be a bigger mess with sticky photos and water stains.

Sarah Wagner
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  #17  
Old 11-24-2002, 06:41 PM
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I believe the chisler you guys are refering to would be the "little chisler" that signpainters use to remove old vinyl lettering with.
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  #18  
Old 06-16-2003, 06:12 PM
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Another way

I stumbled into this a little late so hope this helps someone still dealing with the problems involved ...

We use a "hot knife" - looks a bit like a flat blade exacto but it has a heating element for the blade. It's all one piece and you can dial the heat settings. Very easy to use without causing any damage and great for removing old tape from photos and documents so it's a first line tool for us.

As far as I know they are still available from University Products, Inc. - another supplier like Gaylord and Light Impressions that specializes in preservation supply.

Jim Conway
Timemark Photo Conservators.
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  #19  
Old 06-16-2003, 09:09 PM
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Heat tools

I agree with Jim this is a great tool to have for pressure sensitive adhesives.

The heat tool I have has 10-15 tips that can be attached depending on the use, and although I don't use it everyday I use it often.

If you make custom boxes for photo albums, books etc., heat tools can be handy for areas where the buckram or linen hasn't adhered (using PVA) properly to the boards. It can also be used in consolidation when using specific adhesives the right adhesive. When using the tool in direct contact with the surface of a piece it's always a good idea to have silicon release between the heated spatula and the piece.

It's a useful tool to have around.

Heather
www.tudhope.net
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  #20  
Old 07-26-2004, 07:55 PM
mlatham mlatham is offline
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Un-du/ getting pics out

Un-Du made by a company of the same name. Available at most hobby or craft store. It is acid free and photo safe. The scrapbookers mantra. This temporarily makes any pressure sensitive adhesive slick, or anyway not sticky. This product was designed to get photos out of magnetic albums. Adhere the photos to plain white acid free cardstock to cover any adhesive left on back. This is available in reams from most office supply stores.

However, with all the digital technology available I am inclined to recommend leaving the photos in the books. My criteria for removing photos: Is the album intact? Are the photos deteriorating because of materials in the album? Can the offending materials be removed? Is the album endangering the photo? If the album is in good shape and the pages are not yellowing (a sure sign of acid in the paper) then scan the photos and use copies for your work without removing them.

Often the stress of removing a photo from the album is worse than leaving it alone.
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