A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO STICKY SHED SYNDROME!

Recording Techniques, People Skills, Gear, Recording Spaces, Computers, and DIY

Moderators: drumsound, tomb

ggoat!!!
audio school graduate
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:14 pm

A PERMANENT SOLUTION TO STICKY SHED SYNDROME!

Post by ggoat!!! » Thu May 03, 2007 6:54 pm

Hello everyone. I am new to the forum, however I am not new to TapeOp or to recording in general (I've been obsessed with reel to reel recording since I was 3 years old). To make a long store short, I am in South Louisiana, literally in the swamp. A few years ago, I had to put a box of 100 or so tapes in storage, and stored them the best I could (ziplock bags, ample silica gel, and styrofoam) however the storage was not climate controlled. A few days ago, I discovered that this box of tapes I have had in storage for a few years was consumed with mold growth from sitting in a moist/wet/damp/fungus-infested cardboard box in an outside un-climate controlled storage shed again as stated in the swamps of South Louisiana. Ziplock bags and silica gel didn't stop the rot. The absolute WORST test for analog tape survival, that's for sure. Here is a link to a post I made elsewhere regarding the tapes:

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.audi ... 218e639049

Some of the tapes are not fixable, but some that I was ABSOLUTELY SURE would be the LEAST likely to survive have indeed been some of the LEAST problematic, and a true testament to a tape restoration project's effectiveness and longevity that I ingloriously performed 14 years ago...

Here's the most amazing discovery: as many know, Sony ULH tape from the 70's is one of the worst for not only sticky shed but also the backcoating "oozing" and making the tape stick together. One of the worst examples of sticky shed EVER. Well, back around 1993, before sticky shed was widely known, I had a case of 10 of these tapes that wouldn't play. I cleaned and cleaned, and NOTHING would fix them. Well, I was professionally refinishing guitars/basses at the time, and one of the most amazing polishes I've ever used for getting rid of tiny hairline scratch and haze was NuFinish (in the orange bottle). This stuff never ceased to amaze me in a painting environment, and one of the qualities NuFinish has is that is amazing at removing "gum" and old adhesive tape residue; say, from an old bumper sticker. Just a tiny bit of NuFinish, and you can polish away nearly any old gummy residue. Works AMAZING for that. I figured the Sony tapes were ruined, so why not try to "NuFinish" the gumminess away? I used a broken Pioneer RT-707 with the face removed for its high torque motors, and literally soaked a terry cloth rag and the tape itself with copious amounts of NuFinish; so much so that it was oozing through the layers of tape. I soaked it several times, passing the tape over my sloppy wet rag held with my fingers. You can't imagine the mess...and you would NEVER think that the tape would play well again! After I had a reel of sloppy wet dripping NuFinish engulfed tape, I then did the same procedure but with a dry terry cloth towel, and proceeded to "polish" the NuFinish off the tape, as you would when applying it as a car polish, thus removing the goo as well as all contaminants (dust, fingerprints, etc.). I passed the tape countless times, and after several (and I mean several) passes with a new rag each time I polished off all traces of the NuFinish AND the tape goo. You know what??? IT WORKED!!! The worst of the worst tapes played FLAWLESSLY, with NO sound degradation (I'm sure some information had to be lost, but I couldn't hear any difference) and NO drop outs! You have to be VERY careful as one screw-up and you can easily bend or crease the tape. But, the tapes sounded like the day I recorded them, and after a TON of work, they left NO sign of oxide/binder breakdown of ANY kind on the transport!

OK, that was 14 years ago...

I haven't played any of these tapes in years. Some of them were in this moldy box. I figured, "There's no WAY these will play." Well, guess what. THESE TAPES PERFORMED FLAWLESSLY! They had NO mold growth (thanks to the clear plastic type Sony box covering) and exhibited NO sticky shed whatsoever! Remember, this was after YEARS in outdoor moldy/muggy/moist/wet/damp storage, surrounded by tapes covered in mold. Also, remember that 14 years ago these tapes oozed and shed so much that they wouldn't last 15 seconds on a machine. NUFINISH FIXED THESE TAPES PERMANENTLY! This MAY be an alternative to baking a tape...especially since baking is a temporary fix. Concerns? Well, NuFinish is petroleum based and contains silicone (apparently a good thing). But, although it seems this would be harmful to tape in the long-term (the petroleum aspect) these tapes EVEN AFTER being subjected to the WORST conditions imaginable had NO sticky shed! This WORKS. I hope this may work for someone else who wants a "permanent" fix for a tape.

Keep in mind that I am absolutely sure most will be MORE than skeptical about this fix; it is a common misconception that the sticky shed problem is somehow a problem of the oxide binder, when in fact it is a problem of the backcoating process and/or backcoating binder process. Note that there are no reports of non-backcoated tapes of any era exhibiting sticky shed. If the problem were the oxide binder flaking, there would surely be oxide damage, absolutely exhibited by drop-outs and severely impaired performance in both recording new signal or playing old recordings. I can honestly state with 100% certainty that I can ascertain NO difference in how these tapes now play vs. what I remember them playing like 20+ years ago when initially recorded. I'm sure SOMETHING has to be lost (perhaps high frequency loss, etc., but I have NOT perceived anything of the sort). Again, I expect most to be more than skeptical. But, before you dismiss this idea, please give it serious thought. I was highly doubtful this would work when I first tried it; it was a whim. If I read of such a fix out of the blue, I would be skeptical as well. However, I would absolutely NEVER recommend something so drastic if it did indeed NOT work or in ANY way be detrimental to the tapes. The NuFinish leaves NO sign that it was ever used; even after multiple plays, the tape path appeared absolutely pristine, with NO sign of even the expected amount of tape residue as from a "normally" operating tape. This process does not affect heads, guides, roller, capstans, or pinch rollers. Also, the silicone aspect of NuFinish seems to re-lubricate the tape. I know this all sounds far-fetched. But, it WORKS. Again, I must reiterate...almost 15 years after these tapes were fixed/treated with NuFinish, with the last few years being stored literally outside in near 100+ degree temperatures/100% humidity, in a mold infested cardboard box, surrounded by tapes consumed in mold, these tapes STILL show NO sign of any further "sticky shed syndrome."

BTW...I've read where someone did a similar thing using alcohol. But, any time I've gotten any alcohol residue on a tape by accident (even 91%) it has caused drop-outs. You would HAVE to remove any deposit/residue from any tape that you clean with alcohol. I can't think of anything better to clean any sort of residue off of a tape than NuFinish. This stuff works wonders for this. If it hadn't worked nearly 15 years later (i.e., no long term damage to the tape from NuFinish application 14 years ago) then I wouldn't recommend using it now. But I can say with certainty that it DID work on this worst-case scenario.


Hope this helps!
Jeff Koon

drumsound
zen recordist
Posts: 6708
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 10:30 pm
Location: Bloomington IL
Contact:

Post by drumsound » Thu May 03, 2007 8:28 pm

That's really interesting! Thanks for sharing.

themagicmanmdt
george martin
Posts: 1347
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:47 pm
Location: home on the range

Post by themagicmanmdt » Fri May 04, 2007 8:49 pm

man. i'm a biochem major. i wish i was in a lab, i'd do some chemical research on that, and find out exactly what goes on. i know how to do the work, too.

this is facinating. absolutely ingriguing and facinating.

does anyone have any good links to what the particles are in sticky shed syndrome? i mean, they have to know exactly what causes it. do they?
we are the village green
preservation society
god bless +6 tape
valves and serviceability

*chief tech and R&D shaman at shadow hills industries*

ggoat!!!
audio school graduate
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:14 pm

Post by ggoat!!! » Fri May 04, 2007 10:34 pm

Hi there...

There are SEVERAL write-ups and technical papers all over the web regarding sticky shed.

The problem is caused by the binders used which holds both the oxide surface on the "top" and the backcoating surface to the "bottom" of the tape.

You will also run into several ill informed people who think it is the actual oxide that is the culprit. It is not the actual oxide.

However, there is no absolute clear doctrine that I can find online regarding a debate on sticky shed; whether the sticky shed is caused by the oxide side binder or the backcoated side binder. It can reasonably be deduced however, that the problem lies within the BACKCOATING binder system for these simple facts:

1) When tapes are baked and/or NuFinish'd to repair them, there appears to be NO damage to the oxide layer. It stands to reason that if the oxide side binder failed, even when repaired by baking, there SHOULD be audible defects and drop-outs, but this is rarely, if ever, the case. People who bake their tapes nearly unanimously state they "played like new". The problem seems to be a build up of the backcoating binder material on TOP of the oxide layer from rolling the tape on a reel, and once that build up of deposits is removed from the oxide layer (either by baking or Nufinishing) the oxide layer performs flawlessly.

2) There is NO documented case of a non-backcoated tape ever exhibiting sticky shed syndrome, even tapes made in the late 70's and 80's during the heyday of sticky shed. A great example is Ampex 641/642, a tape which Steve Smith at Ampex/Quantegy verified is "very, very close in construction to 406/407" (a notorious tape for sticky shed) but without backcoating. Mr. Smith verified some years back that the oxide binder used in these two tape lines was essentially the same. 641/642 tapes of the exact vintage 406/407 from the 70's do NOT exhibit sticky shed, and you can read all over the web regarding comments that state "600 series tapes never shed and are if nothing else, reliable."

3) When you play a tape of known sticky shed, the massive deposits appear in a matter of seconds. If you play a tape that is known to exhibit sticky shed, such as Scotch 226 or 250, you can immediately observe the deposits from sticky shed on the machine's tape path. Scotch 226 and 250 have red oxide and black backcoating. The deposits left from these tapes are pure dark BLACK, not red. The only actual OXIDE deposits you will ever find on a tape path from sticky shed are from physical damage of the sticky shed itself ripping the oxide off of the polyester base directly below it as it is unspooled from the reel, NOT from the oxide flaking off on its own.

4) Here is a good article from the US Patent Office indicating backcoating as the culprit in sticky shed syndrome: http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/67970 ... ption.html

ggoat!!!
audio school graduate
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:14 pm

Post by ggoat!!! » Sat May 05, 2007 11:38 am

Hi everyone again...

I just wanted to post this link below; it is a link to the AudioAsylum board where I have also posted this information regarding tape repair. I'm posting it as I would like everyone to be able to read about questions pertaining to repairing tapes in this way from others including skeptics, by the way which I totally understand (until they take it too far with unsubstantiated negativity and childish name-calling). I feel that my responses to some others' questions may help clarify any points that other people might have concerns about.

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/tape/ ... /8002.html

Hope someone is able to find some of this useful!


Sincerely,
Jeff

ggoat!!!
audio school graduate
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:14 pm

Post by ggoat!!! » Sat May 05, 2007 6:14 pm

Hello everyone...


Just a quick update...

I've just gotten done assessing an Ampex 456 from my unaffected (mold-wise) stored tapes (I have several stored boxes unaffected by mold/growth or water but still in an unclimate controlled storage). This tape was purchased in 1985 and recorded in 1986. The tape was probably manufactured in 1984 or 1985. This tape was "NuFinished" around the same time in 1993 as the Sony tapes referred to above. (BTW...I also have some Ampex 041 "throwaway" reject tapes that I NuFinished from then somewhere, I remember these were the absolute WORST of the "shedders." Those were so bad...if I find one and test it and it DOESN'T shed, then that would be the absolute pinacle of success for this discussion.)


Now, taking the Sony tapes out of the equation...

THE AFFORMENTIONED 1985 AMPEX 456 TAPE NUFINISHED IN 1993 DOES NOT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM EXHIBIT ANY SORT OF STICKY SHED WHATSOEVER WHEN PLAYED 14 YEARS LATER AFTER BEING STORED LESS THAN IDEALLY IN A HOT HIGH HUMIDITY ENVIRONMENT.

I'm actually quite overjoyed and excited about this. I sincerely hope someone out there can find this useful.


Cordially,
Jeff

jamesp
audio school
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 9:04 am
Location: Southsea, England
Contact:

Post by jamesp » Wed May 09, 2007 6:18 am

ggoat!!! wrote:The tape was probably manufactured in 1984 or 1985.
There's a sticker on the tape box and on the reel itself which has a number which will tell you when the tape was made. I think that the first two digits denote the year but I can't remember for sure off the top of my head.

Cheers

James.
JRP Music - audio mastering and restoration -http://www.jrpmusic.net

User avatar
Jon Nolan
tinnitus
Posts: 1084
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Post by Jon Nolan » Wed May 09, 2007 11:55 am

jeff,

congrats on the tape restoration! i can only imagine the mess. lordy.

message boards can be weird, since you can't see my face and know that i am not being an a-hole, but, respectfully, do you have any business affiliation with NuFinish? i'm just curious. the cynic dies hard i guess. ;)

oh, and welcome to the board!

best,
Jon

ggoat!!!
audio school graduate
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:14 pm

Post by ggoat!!! » Wed May 09, 2007 1:25 pm

Hi James...


My older (20+ years old) Ampex tapes don't have any type of date code anywhere on the box, reel, or tape itself. It helps with the later tapes that they provided this feature. I remember purchasing my earlier tapes, even have receipts, and the recording dates are noted. So, this narrows them down pretty well.




Hi Jon...


Totally understandable! No, I don't work for NuFinish and I don't know anyone involved in any way with them. It always worked great to remove gummy/sticky residue from anything (old adhesive tape, stickers, bugs, paint overspray, dirt, cleans glass amazingly easily, stickers from pots and pans and cd covers, etc.) so I just figured I'd give it a shot on tapes that I thought were ruined and not salvagable. I fully expected it to either do nothing or remove oxide. I was wrong on both accounts. It worked; the reason I never posted anything about it sooner than 14 years ago was that I wasn't sure of the long term effects of NuFinish on a magnetic tape. Now that I have witnessed by experience the fact that not only did it not HURT the tape in any way, it also prevented sticky shed from returning; it also seems to have impeded mold formation on tapes that were indeed NuFinished.

But no, I don't have anything to do with that company. I'm an RN by trade, and a recordist by life!

:)


Sincerely,
Jeff

Judas Jetski
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1578
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:30 pm
Location: The US North Coast
Contact:

Post by Judas Jetski » Wed May 09, 2007 2:51 pm

What a cool idea!
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

User avatar
Jon Nolan
tinnitus
Posts: 1084
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: New Hampshire
Contact:

Post by Jon Nolan » Wed May 09, 2007 2:53 pm

ggoat!!! wrote:Hi James...


My older (20+ years old) Ampex tapes don't have any type of date code anywhere on the box, reel, or tape itself. It helps with the later tapes that they provided this feature. I remember purchasing my earlier tapes, even have receipts, and the recording dates are noted. So, this narrows them down pretty well.




Hi Jon...


Totally understandable! No, I don't work for NuFinish and I don't know anyone involved in any way with them. It always worked great to remove gummy/sticky residue from anything (old adhesive tape, stickers, bugs, paint overspray, dirt, cleans glass amazingly easily, stickers from pots and pans and cd covers, etc.) so I just figured I'd give it a shot on tapes that I thought were ruined and not salvagable. I fully expected it to either do nothing or remove oxide. I was wrong on both accounts. It worked; the reason I never posted anything about it sooner than 14 years ago was that I wasn't sure of the long term effects of NuFinish on a magnetic tape. Now that I have witnessed by experience the fact that not only did it not HURT the tape in any way, it also prevented sticky shed from returning; it also seems to have impeded mold formation on tapes that were indeed NuFinished.

But no, I don't have anything to do with that company. I'm an RN by trade, and a recordist by life!

:)


Sincerely,
Jeff
right on jeff! apologies my man. i really was just curious, and thanks for the response. it's pretty amazing thing to stumble upon eh? happy accidents are a part of great recording i guess :) best to you and happy recording.

cheers from the not-so-swampy north...
Jon

Angie
gettin' sounds
Posts: 116
Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 6:37 am
Location: Colorado - Formerly Illinois
Contact:

Post by Angie » Sat May 19, 2007 8:51 am

Jeff,

Your thread started a discussion on the ARSC listserv among highly regarded professionals in the restoration field. The thread is archived here. http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/m ... 00191.html

Judas Jetski
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1578
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:30 pm
Location: The US North Coast
Contact:

Post by Judas Jetski » Sat May 19, 2007 10:01 am

Hey--that's pretty cool stuff. Or else I'm a total geek. Perhaps both...
Check out the newest Andy Smash release, Black Light / Black Death! http://andysmash.bandcamp.com !


"Avoid trends and clich?s/don't try to be up to date/and when the sunlight hits the olive oil, don't hesitate"

www.AndySmash.com

ggoat!!!
audio school graduate
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:14 pm

Post by ggoat!!! » Sun May 27, 2007 6:13 pm

Thanks for the update, Angie!

I read through some posts on that board. I understand that people are skeptical; it sounds crazy. That's fine, as I would have thought the same thing if someone out of the blue whom I had no idea of their credentials or experience came up and told me to NuFinish my tapes lol...

The one thing that gets me is that people think I have an "agenda." I do not. I was just putting forth something that worked for me, and wanted to offer the experience to others who may wish to do the same. However, be forewarned; it is a tedious, messy process that requires you to take the job seriously and to continue "NuFinishing" the tape until ALL the goo and the residual NuFinish is polished off. It's time consuming to do it RIGHT, but it will ONLY work if you DO do it right. But, it works.

One of the guys on the ARSCLIST, who is actually very educated regarding the chemical composition and technical molecular specifications of tape, responded in a sea of naysayers that the NuFinish process COULD work and warrants further testing. One poster there, Richard Hess, posted the following summary regarding what Peter Brothers posted about the NuFinish process:

"Peter Brothers has posted an excellent hypothesis as to why the chemical technique may work. If we consider that the short (broken) chains which is the lower molecular weight, sticky stuff ends up partially adsorbing to the magnetic particles when water is driven out, then this mystery chemical could also be a water "magnet" and can pull the water out of the coating allowing sites for the short chains to adsorb. This is consistent with the baking process."

I have no clue about the ins and outs of why NuFinish worked; the main question seems to be regarding long-term effects of NuFinish on tape. Again, I have not "NuFinish'd" ANY of these tapes since 1993. For nearly 15 years, the chemical process of applying/polishing off the NuFinish has had NO detrimental effects since its application in 1993.

I may have possibly spoken too soon (or at least was too broad in my generalizations) regarding "No non-backcoated tape has exhibited sticky shed" as some members on the ARSCLIST site have indeed encountered problems with "soft" binder problems in non-backcoated tapes. These guys are much more qualified than I am; they are professionals who deal with this stuff daily. However, the problem they describe with non-backcoated tapes that have "soft" shed and squealing don't respond (according to their site) to baking or other methods used to correct the common STICKY shed, nor do they exhibit the sticky goo problem. So, to me at least, this seems like a different problem, or at least a modified version of a similar problem. That site lists a few different "fixes" for tapes that exhibit the soft oxide non-backcoated tape problem, but again...it seems to be a slightly different scenario than Sticky Shed Syndrome. As such, I've still never seen a documented case of a non-backcoated tape exhibiting the EXACT type of sticky shed syndrome and its resulting "goo" commonly seen with known documented backcoated tapes. There may be problems with non-backcoated tapes, I don't argue that. However, I've not come across this, and the fixes I've read regarding THAT problem are dissimilar to remedies for Sticky Shed. They may be attributed to similar causes, however the treatment and instance of occurrence appears to be different.

Also, a quick note...I have located and tested three more tapes which were "NuFinish'd" at this same time; two 3m 226 tapes purchased in Seattle in 1986, and one 3m 250 purchased in Louisiana in 1988. While these tapes exhibited no mold growth to the boxes or reels, they played with NO signs of sticky shed whatsoever. Cleaning the tapes with a soft/dry (NO NuFinish) cotton terrycloth towel (simply because they had been stored slightly dusty) provided NO evidence of greater than normal oxide deposits on the towel, nor did they exhibit an increased loss of backcoat. However, there was NO sticky GOO emanating from the tape. No signs of any further sticky shed...and again, NuFinish was used to cure the sticky shed on these tapes in 1993.

If anyone has any questions, you can email me directly at "gggoattt@aol.com".


Sincerely,
Jeff Koon

User avatar
johnny7
suffering 'studio suck'
Posts: 406
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2004 9:57 pm
Location: Seattle

Post by johnny7 » Sun May 27, 2007 8:40 pm

Why does this read like an infomercial?

J7

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests