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Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: Sticky AGFA PEM 469

Hi Charles

Thank you for such a full and thorough answer.  I really appreciate it.
 I would feel quite honoured to receive copies of your papers and would
love to read more about your process that you have dedicated your time
to.  Please let me know the cost of paper and postage so I can reimburse
you for your time.


Marie O'Connell
Analogue Tape Preservation Archivist
Sound Archives/Nga Taonga Korero
PO Box 1531
Radio New Zealand House
Level 1, 51 Chester Street West
Phone  +64 3 374 8443
Fax  + 64 3 374 8448

>>> charlesarichardson@xxxxxxxxxxx 19/04/2008 10:34 a.m. >>>
Hi Marie:  Thanks for your comment.  I am aware of your work.  My  
positive regards for your imagination and invention on the IPA method.
There are chemical issues, but that is a conversation for another day.

I am glad to share information with you and others on the tape  
problems.  I presently have 3 papers and will send them on request.   
These initial papers are not the complete tape story as one cannot get 

everything done at once.  Feedback from others helps refine future  
work even more.  Taking adequate time gets a better final result.  It 

is my wish and intent to do all I can to save our recorded legacy.   
There are plenty of problems everywhere with tape, digital, etc.  I  
recently finished a major research project to fully evaluate Sticky  
Shed tape issues from a chemical, scientific, and analytic point of  
view.  At long last the Sticky Shed problems are well understood.   
Completely new solutions have also been developed that are safe and  
effective for the first time and have the full written support of an  
independent chemical laboratory.
The over 300 pages of reports from the forensic chemical laboratory  
cannot be boiled down to email sound bites without being misleading by 

omission and oversimplification. A personal one on one discussion is  
best, but not feasible.  These notes, papers, and comments are a pale
substitute for the total source materials.  There is even more  
historical material, etc to add to the large pile of paperwork

My task has been to connect the dots, attempt to overcome the fact  
that chemists live in their world and engineers in theirs.  My papers 

attempt to communicate in plain language what the chemical laboratory 

research has disclosed.  The first paper of 17 pages was boiled down  
from hundreds of pages of documents, reports, etc.  Even so, it is  
only 1 out of 10 parts that might increase to even more over time.  It 

is new original work, not a rehash of current views. It aims at the  
scientific facts and truths about the tape problems and how to solve  
them in new, much better and far safer ways.  I used the new findings 

and restored my own formerly Sticky Shed tapes with this new knowledge 

and new process.  By late May I will release new CDs that have sonic  
examples of how great the sound is on the old tapes which formerly had 

sticky shed problems and now no longer do since they have been  
properly restored, handled, and mastered.  Remind me in a few months  
about these CDs if I forget.

The slowness in getting information out is not a "dangle the carrot"  
exercise.  I do painstaking work and want to get it right before it  
goes out.
Definitive chemical studies take years to do correctly and cannot be  
rushed.  Haste makes mistakes.  I do not want to add to that category.

Like you, I appreciate any party who really listens carefully and  
responds in a non-judgmental way.  I will send copies of the papers if 

After reading them, I welcome your asking questions and help in  
setting up some kind of structure for issues and questions.  I have my 

own thoughts too.  I strongly encourage everyone to rethink things  
through anew correctly for themselves so as to know it rationally and 

to freely accept it.  If done, the cluttered desk's surface will be  
swept free and clear of the past mistakes and practices regarding  
these tape matters.  Be assured, I absorb as best I can anything  
others tell me.  I welcome and want to make corrections to my views if 

they have mistakes.  I particularly appreciate anyone who has done lab 

work to support their views and conclusions.  Our standard should not 

be to simply repeat the same old stuff but to put forward valid ideas, 

actual facts, and good processes that will withstand scientific and  
logical examination.  No pet theories, no popularity contests, or any 

extraneous considerations either.   Lets face the music and fix the  
tapes which can be  superbly restored.

With time, the industry gains more experience with digital media,  
equipment, etc.  However, digital has its own seemingly inherent  
problems.  In a recent New York Times story "In Storing 1's and 0's  
for the Long Haul"  a digital and computer expert said "The issue is  
about losing the ability, in a systematic way, of being able to  
preserve anything."  This expert is fully aware of the digital  
migration strategy of multiple copies in multiple files in multiple  
places and servers. It is an alarming situation. Of course the  
solution to all problems is to throw more money at it.  But this  
reality makes it more, not less, important to restore and preserve  
source tapes not only as safety back ups, but to develop better  
methods to get more
magnetic content information off the tapes in the future by improving 

analog playback considerably above what it now is.  The new Rezerex  
process safely restores the magnetic tape to almost original condition 

and extends its lifespan for a great many years.  The new Rezerex  
process does not bake the tapes, does not cool the tapes, and does not 

put any chemicals on the oxide surface. Chemical science forbids doing 

any of these destructive things. The only time I might consider using 

heat is when a tape is blocked.  Any high heat, whether generated by  
microwave or conventional oven, does massive permanent damage to all  
the tape components.  Heat briefly changes the viscosity of the binder 

chemicals so that a sticky shed tape can be played without squealing, 

but the price paid is magnetic, physical, and chemical damage.  Print 

through is made worse, magnetic fields made weaker, polymer chains  
broken, cross linking caused, etc.  When played, sticky shed surface  
debris from both the back coating and oxide coating, collects on tape 

path parts and the head gaps causing spacing losses.  Spacing losses  
mean we are not recovering all the magnetic content of the tape so it 

cannot be fully transfered to the digital file copies.  Baking thus is 

a quick fix remedy to melt the sticky materials for a short time and  
stop squealing.  Baking does not and cannot overcome SSS problems  
which come back repeatedly in more severe worse form.  So baking gets 

a tape barely playable at the cost of greatly shortened lifespan and  
all the other negative factors with reduced sonic performance.

The Rezerex process superbly restores the tapes in a totally new  
way.   When it is clearly understood how this feat was accomplished,  
then the
original thinking and detailed work behind it can be fully  
appreciated.  It is going to take time for this to be digested.   Tape 

owners and users who really care about the tapes, their magnetic  
content, and are willing to do it right will want to use it as the  
safest and most effective way to go.

I may have more comment on the Ampex 600 tapes elsewhere.

On Apr 9, 2008, at 2:44 AM, Marie O'Connell wrote:

> Hello Charles
> I admire the fact that you have checked out the Ampex 600 series and
> recognise it would have been meticulous work.  However, I find it  
> irritating
> that there is an unwillingness to share some actual helpful  
> imformation on
> the problem of sticky shed.  Many people on this list share their  
> findings
> and experiences to help and assist fellow archivists, and they do it 

> in
> friendly, non-judgemental format.  This is all for the greater good,
> afterall there is millions of hours of audio to be preserved  
> worldwide which
> I doubt one man/woman is ever able to cope with in their lifetime.
> Therefore, if you wish to keep this private and in your hands, I  
> have some
> excellent contacts on this list who have provided outstanding  
> information
> and will continue to value their imput above people who dangle a  
> carrot.
> Regards
> Marie
> On Wed, Apr 9, 2008 at 5:59 AM, Charles A. Richardson <
> charlesarichardson@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Dear Tom:  Its Charlie, not Richard.  The info on the Ampex 600 PVC 

>> binder
>> comes from recent massive multiple chemical lab studies I did on  
>> various
>> tapes, solving the sticky shed problem, and my new Rezerex tape  
>> restoration
>> process.  It is the meticulous work of many years.  The PVC shows  
>> up in the
>> chemical forensic studies of the Ampex 600 binder chemical in the  
>> chemical
>> extraction and spectrum analysis done under my
>> instruction and supervision at one of the country's finest chemical
>> laboratories.  The source of the information is thus a chemical  
>> laboratory
>> report which remains in my private hands only as it is not
>> publicly.  This first report is about 1 and 1/2 inches thick and is 

>> very
>> technical.
>> There are other lab reports I have in hand.  In all the various
>> chemical issues just about anything can be found out and known.  It 

>> is
>> simply a matter of time, effort, and money being spent to get to
>> chemical bottom of things.  It is helpful to me to have both an  
>> engineering
>> background and also a chemical/scientific background to frame the  
>> issues,
>> problems, questions, and dig out the answers.  The Ampex 600 series 

>> of tapes
>> has very unusual chemical behavior compared to most others.  I  
>> checked it
>> out and found out why.  A short answer to a very long story.
>> Charles Richardson
>> On Apr 7, 2008, at 8:47 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi Richard:
>>> Please site your source for the Ampex 600 series story. Thanks.
>>> -- Tom Fine
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Charles A. Richardson" <
>>> charlesarichardson@xxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>> Sent: Monday, April 07, 2008 8:06 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: Sticky AGFA PEM 469
>>> Dear David:
>>>> Regarding the EPA, Whale oil, etc.  In 1970 the EPA was created
>>>> Congress.  In 1972 the Marine Mammal Protection Act banned  
>>>> hunting of
>>>> whales and this was supplemented in 1982 when the UN also passed
>>>> international whale hunting ban as whales were in danger of   
>>>> extinction.
>>>> Whale oil is a good mechanical lubricant and is used in  oiling  
>>>> precision
>>>> mechanisms such as watches and clocks, but it was  never used as 

>>>> a binder
>>>> lubricant in tape manufacture.  Chemical  Engineering has  
>>>> synthesized whale
>>>> oil so as to reduce the demand for  natural whale oil.  There may 

>>>> be an
>>>> after market lubricant based on  either natural or synthetic  
>>>> whale oil which
>>>> some use in attempting to  "re-lubricate" a tape that has
>>>> problems.  It is a very  limited band aide short term remedy  
>>>> which is not
>>>> approved by chemists  as safe.
>>>> In 1976 the Toxic Substances Act banned the use of
>>>> Biphenyl chemicals or PCB's.  PCBs were used as a liquid coolant 

>>>> in big
>>>> AC power transformers used by the electric utility companies. 
>>>> were used in transformers, some motors, and some capacitors.   
>>>> PCBs  were
>>>> never used in tape manufacture.  There was a major environmental  

>>>> disaster
>>>> in the 1970s when companies dumped large quantities of PCBs  into 

>>>> the Hudson
>>>> River and the James River, creating a poisoned water  environment 

>>>> that will
>>>> take centuries to remedy.  Chlorine, and most of  its compounds
>>>> dangerous poisons, thus they are banned unless one  gets a waiver 

>>>> and/or an
>>>> EPA license which can only be had by instituting
>>>> strict material use and disposal controls that met EPA chemical  
>>>> safety
>>>> standards.
>>>> PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride, was used in Europe for some time by BASF 

>>>> and
>>>> AGFA in the manufacture of their base films.  Ampex used a PVC  
>>>> binder,  but
>>>> only in their 600 series of tapes.  There is a major chemical   
>>>> problem with
>>>> PVC.  Any loose radical Chlorine atoms can readily  combine with 

>>>> moisture to
>>>> form Hydrochloric Acid, or HCL.  When this  happens, the HCL will 

>>>> attack the
>>>> head core materials and the tape head  gaps, which drastically  
>>>> shortens head
>>>> life and causes major problems  in the head gap area.  So for
>>>> environmental problems of handling  Chlorine, and its bad habit
>>>> generating HCL and eating tape heads,  PVC was dropped from tape
>>>> manufacture, decades ago, with the exception  of its continued  
>>>> use for
>>>> decades in the Ampex 600 series tape binder  chemistry.
>>>> The seeds of the disaster that have lead to Sticky Shed Syndrome 

>>>> arise
>>>> in tape maker chemical changes of the 1970s, is an important and
>>>> interesting story.  I do not believe that the government had  
>>>> anything  to
>>>> do with these tape chemical changes.  They were done by tape  
>>>> makers  for
>>>> various reasons unrelated to government regulation.
>>>> Hope this helps.
>>>> Charles Richardson
>>>> On Apr 5, 2008, at 6:25 PM, David Lennick wrote:
>>>>> I will stand corrected if that's the case, but that was what I  
>>>>> heard
>>>>> at the time.
>>>>> dl
>>>>> Tom Fine wrote:
>>>>>> Hi David:
>>>>>> Are you sure the whale oil story is true. I was told it is
>>>>>> mythology and that the real story is that certain solvents  
>>>>>> couldn't  be
>>>>>> used in the manufacturing process anymore.
>>>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "David Lennick" <
>>>>>> dlennick@xxxxxxxxxxxx >
>>>>>> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>>>>>> Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2008 12:04 PM
>>>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Fwd: Sticky AGFA PEM 469
>>>>>>> "Environmental law changes forced most tape manufactures to
>>>>>>> change  the
>>>>>>> formula of their binder in the early 70's."
>>>>>>> Read: They used to use whale oil, then they went to synthetic.

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