Negatives stuck together

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by SYKES3, Sep 21, 2007.

  1. SYKES3

    SYKES3 TPF Noob!

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    I have thousands of negatives starting in the 60s. Many of them have stuck together. Can I rinse them with plain water or do I need some chemical?

    Have many of you have done much film photography or do most of you do digital now? SYKES3
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Try a long soak in cool water, maybe with some LFN or Photoflo added, and be very, very gentle. Hopefully they will ease themselves apart with little difficulty, then hang them in a dust-free area. You might want to carefully wipe them down later with an antistatic product like FilmKleen for good measure, then store them in archival sleeves in an enclosed binder. They should be good to go for many more decades!

    If someone has a better idea hopefully they'll weigh in here.

    This forum has a lot of digital users but plenty of film lovers, as well. It IS where the soul of photography is, after all. :lol:

    signed,

    devoted film geek :mrgreen:
     
  3. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I second the idea of cool water in photoflo.

    I usually hang mine in the shower suspended by clips and coat hangers. Keep the shower door closed to help keep dust to a minimum.
     
  4. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    I agree with the photoflo or like surface tension reducing agent. The bigger the container the better and a very, very flow current of water.

    Don't rush anything.
     
  5. SYKES3

    SYKES3 TPF Noob!

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    Thank you terri,usayit and Traveler! I appreciate the information. See ya around the threads. I have more questions. I only just began here. I want to find some camaraderie, not just info. Is that a possibility here? SYKES3
     
  6. Paul Ron

    Paul Ron TPF Noob!

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    I had the same problem with my parents suit case full of old B&W negs form 55 years ago n more. Many were form their home countries too when they were kids.

    Don't pull em appart. Just let them sit in the bath till they come appart on their own. Once free, just hang n dry normally like any other negative.
     
  7. SYKES3

    SYKES3 TPF Noob!

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    PaulRon, that's hilarious! That's exactly what some of these are, a suit case full of old B&Ws from the 50s. I'd like to see some of yours! I think I'll start a thread to show old 50s B&Ws from the family. SYKES3
     
  8. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    If they stuck together because of humidity, you might get lucky. What happens is the gelatin absorbs moisture, gets soft and then sticks to the surface of the other negative. Let them separate on their own, don't even tug on them a little.

    That said, sometimes they aren't "glued" and can just be sheared apart, but if they stick at all, cool water at room temperature, (NOT COLD! Not hot!) soak until they come apart on their own. I've had some that seemed stuck, and when I applied sideways or twisting pressure, they just popped apart.

    Hopefully all of yours are gelatin surface to the original backing. If they are face to face, I wouldn't have much hope.

    Meanwhile if you peal them, or force them by prying, you'll get lines and bubbles in the surface, which won't go away.

    I hope I explained the difference between pealing and sheering?

    Photographs are less likely to be recovered, because the gelatin seeps into the other paper and bonds with it. Then there the issue of mold, which eats away at the surface of everything. However sometimes soaking can recover photos, if they didn't get fully wet. Freeze drying, in your homes frost free freezer, can sometimes work magic.

    Slides are dead meat. If they get mildew, it eats the pictures. You can't wash them like negatives. Cleaning will often take off the surface in blotches. Kodachrome is worse than Ekatchrome.

    This comes from having just about everything I owned go through a muddy stream overflowing. No slides were recoverable. Some B&W negatives survived. (most didn't) Color photos were slabs of paper mache. Some B&W photos, I washed and came apart.

    Good Luck. Work slowly, and you should be alright. Do some small test batches so you can perfect your methods.
     
  9. SYKES3

    SYKES3 TPF Noob!

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    Racephoto, thank you very much for all that information. I suppose you guessed I have photos stuck together too. Yes I think I've got the sheering and peeling down OK. I surely did hate to lose all of these old photos and negatives.

    Thanks to you all for responding! SYKES3
     

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