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Removing stuck photos from Magnetic Albums

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  • Removing stuck photos from Magnetic Albums

    has anybody got suggestions for removing stuck photos from those horrible "Magnetic" albums without damaging the photos? It Seems over time the sticky surface has bonded with the photos and making them difficult to remove. Cutting around the photo and leving them on the backing is not an option as there is information on the back of the photos which the client wishes to recover. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Hi Sandra,

    I think it might work if you used a hair dryer on the photos. Just don't get it very hot so as not to damage the photo itself. A gentle warming should work. To get the sticky stuff off the other side, you might try putting a *small* amount of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel. As always, test a corner before commiting to the whole photo. Wait a few minutes to be certain that the emulsion does not show any damage. Only use alcohol if necessary. Rubbing gently should do the trick. No guarantees on anything.



    • #3
      Here are some tips that might help (though I have no idea what a "chiseler" is).

      I've also seen 15 seconds in a microwave mentioned as an alternative to a hairdryer (make sure there's nothing metal). Oddly, I also read about wrapping up the entire album and putting it in the freezer for a few days (hey, I just do websearches, I don't write this stuff).

      For tons more links, try here
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      • #4
        Thanks guys, I know you would know what to do.


        • #5
          Thanks from me too, that is a question I have been wanting to ask!


          • #6

            Make sure you report back what you tried and how it worked out.


            So, why didn't you ask?
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            Take responsibility for learning


            • #7
              Your right Doug
              I gave the hair dryer tip a try with an old page of my own and was pleased at how well the picture peeled off so was from a sticky striped plastic topped page....will be using this trick again, even had the writing on the back! (I kept the plastic film in front of pic while warming.


              • #8
                I tried the hair dryer tip combined with the dental floss and was able to remove all 30 photographs without doing any damage. I was tempted to try putting them in the freezer but the hair dryer worked so I didn't get that far. Now I can get to work and scan them and select the ones for the collage. Then save the whole collection to CD for the customer.
                Thanks for the great tips.


                • #9
                  Did they have any sticky stuff still on them? Light Impressions had some stuff that's safe to use to get rid of sticky stuff.
                  Learn by teaching
                  Take responsibility for learning


                  • #10
                    not bad at all for me....this time!....will check out light impressions


                    • #11
                      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.


                      • #12
                        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.



                        • #13
                          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 is really easy to put a microspatula or putty knife right through a photograph so take care!



                          • #14
                            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"
                            Learn by teaching
                            Take responsibility for learning


                            • #15

                              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.




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