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Curled old B&W negatives

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Old 04-26-2008, 03:05 PM
mariaw mariaw is offline
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Curled old B&W negatives

I have tried to scan old B&W negatives (from the 30's and 40's) but the negatives are no longer flat. i measured the negatives and they are 3.25 inches by 4.5 inches. The corners have turned up and so scanning results are very poor. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-26-2008, 03:16 PM
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Sweetlight Sweetlight is offline
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Re: Curled old B&W negatives

So to make sure, the edges and corners are curling? The whole negative and not the emulsion lifting from the celluloid? If that is the case and the negatives are not cracked or peeling then I would give them an overnight bath in room temperature distilled water. Then give them a bath in PhotoFlow which you will find at local camera store or online at B&HPhotoVideo.com. It is a inexpensive, soapy solution that keeps water spots from spotting your negatives. This process should get the emulsion back to somewhat of a pliable state that can be retrained. While you are getting your Photoflow get yourself a linen, acid free blotter book. As I believe that hang drying these negs will only lead to them rolling up like one of those party whistles I used to smack my sis in the nose with, the blotter book will let you lay them flat and sandwich them to dry and hopefully keep them flat. As they are dry keep an eye on them to make sure they are not sticking for some reason. Hope this helps.

c
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Old 04-26-2008, 09:39 PM
Mike Mike is offline
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Re: Curled old B&W negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetlight View Post
So to make sure, the edges and corners are curling? The whole negative and not the emulsion lifting from the celluloid? If that is the case and the negatives are not cracked or peeling then I would give them an overnight bath in room temperature distilled water. Then give them a bath in PhotoFlow which you will find at local camera store or online at B&HPhotoVideo.com. It is a inexpensive, soapy solution that keeps water spots from spotting your negatives. This process should get the emulsion back to somewhat of a pliable state that can be retrained. While you are getting your Photoflow get yourself a linen, acid free blotter book. As I believe that hang drying these negs will only lead to them rolling up like one of those party whistles I used to smack my sis in the nose with, the blotter book will let you lay them flat and sandwich them to dry and hopefully keep them flat. As they are dry keep an eye on them to make sure they are not sticking for some reason. Hope this helps.

c
I really think that an overnight bath might be a bit much. Usually 20 or 30 minutes seemed to work for me, to long and you may be looking at the emulsion floating off the base.

I never placed wet negs in blotters. To much chance of something coming off the page and getting stuck on the film (and I never used them for prints either). Find a dust free space, at room temperature and when you hang the negs up, place a weight on the bottom corners (I always used wood clothes pins) to keep them from curling. Dry them slowly!

Try one or two first to make sure it works, then do the balance.
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:17 AM
mariaw mariaw is offline
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Re: Curled old B&W negatives

Thanks to both of you for your responses. Just to be safe, I'll do the water soak but only for a short time. I have vague memories of my father hanging his newly-developed negatives to dry. I have lots of wooden clothes pins and space in which to work so this will not be a challenge. I am also grateful to the other threads on B&W negatives for ideas covering some of my other questions regarding old negatives. I have achieved "just barely OK" results when scanning flat negatives (Epson Perfection 610) and using the "invert" command in Photoshop Elements (for Mac). I really don't want to buy another scanner to scan negatives so I'll try to work with what I've got. I think the OK results are due to dusty negatives and old water spots so the dust-removal suggestions and water spot removal suggestions are really useful.

Maria W.
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Old 04-29-2008, 12:30 AM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Curled old B&W negatives

you could consider getting the important negs scanned on a drum scanner...
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Old 04-29-2008, 01:01 AM
SnakeSuspenders SnakeSuspenders is offline
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Re: Curled old B&W negatives

I would go for the drum but there is that chance you lose it all in oil. I agree with pixel - drum scan it, but make sure you have a 'good-as-you-can-get' scan before. Film rarely rips during drum scanning - it's just the fact that it's already ripped.
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