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Re: [ARSCLIST] Any good tips to flatten warped 78's?

From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad

Dear all,

by popular request a bit of wind from me:

----- we want to prevent embedding dust in the record surface, we want to 
avoid marks from the supporting surface, and most of all, we want to avoid 
adhesion to the supporting surface. We also want to prevent heat shock of the 

The way I taught the flattening process at the School of Conservation 
required two optical quality glass plates, but float glass window panes would 
work. I used hardened glass from salvaged protective sheets that were 
required by law in Denmark in front of 1950s CRTs in televisions sets. We 
cleaned these sheets very well and rubbed them with a polishing substance 
that translates into "whitening", "Paris white" and "Spanish white" according 
to the dictionary I needed to consult. The record was first cleaned 
carefully. Then it was placed on the first glass plate, clean surface up, 
label floating (if it was dished). The second glass plate was placed on 3 
small wooden blocks clean surface down and with a clearance to the record.

The glass plates and record were placed in an oven--Steve's environmental 
chamber--that you had previously tested would not under any circumstances 
exceed 80 degrees Celsius at the setting to be used, even during cycling of 
the thermostat. This way even a cheap cooking oven would be useable. After ½ 
hour the temperature will have stabilised, and in many cases the record will 
have sunk flat already. Even if it has not sunk completely, you take out the 
assembly, remove the wooden blocks and place the second glass plate on the 
record and put the plates with sandwiched record back in the oven. Do take a 
second to feel the remaining elasticity by pushing the label--just for the 
experience. Leave another quarter of an hour and then switch off and let 
cool. There are obvious variations once you have gained experience. Lower 
temperature simply means slower going, but you should not venture into 
pushing a bulge when the temperature is below ca. 50 degrees Celsius.

Problematic records are those with an elevated rim and label area, because 
you cannot in a simple manner get them flatter than the difference in height, 
unless you use specially cut plates. 

The most famous second-hand record dealer in Copenhagen from ca. 1950-1985 
used the sun, and that is the way that I bought my (first) copy of Fini 
Henriques playing the Romance Op. 26 by Johan Svendsen (whom he had known). I 
had to wait for a week until he had flattened it for me. I paid for that 
through the nose. A German collector used the heat from an electrical blower 
radiator, rotating the record in his hands until it was malleable and then 
put it on a sheet of glass. And then there are those who go the other way and 
make flower pots out of shellac records. Shellac is definitely thermoplastic; 
oozing comes from cheaper rosin stuff that it is sometimes diluted with, and 
shellac has a slight tendency to cross-link (harden irreversibly) with time 
and temperature. But I have yet to see a solid-stock shellac 78 that cannot 
be flattened. A Columbia laminate record should also be amenable, because 
shellac is used in the core as well, but I have never seen a warped Columbia 
of this type. Hit-of-the-Week are virtually impossible to tame - it is all 
thermo-setting, and laminating to a sheet of metal (a lacquer with stripped 
off nitro-cellulose) might be the only really good solution, but then you 
lose whatever portrait there is on the reverse.

Vinyl records is a different matter, because their elasticity is much larger 
at the temperatures we dare use. However, I am certain that a small project 
deliberately warping vinyls and straightening them again is quite feasible--a 
lot of vinyl is dirt cheap these days. And the results would be very useful. 
Again, the vinyl-saving approaches of the early 1970s with raised rim and 
label will cause problems.

So, I managed to let you get wind of some procedures of straightening 
records. But you knew already.

Kind regards,


Steve Smolian wrote:

> No, George.  Wind doesn't work here.  Sunlight does.
> I use a smililar method- plate glass and sunlight.
> I've tried the environmental chamber route but can't seem to control the 
> cooling-down process well enough to prevent splotching.  I'm still working
> on this one.
> Steve Smolian
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "George Brock-Nannestad" <pattac@xxxxxxxx>
> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Sunday, June 21, 2009 3:45 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Any good tips to flatten warped 78's?
> > From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> >
> > Hi Tom,
> >
> > I would have to write it first, and most probably there are plenty of
> > knowledgeable persons on the list. I was merely referring to my long-
> > windedness which at times seem to wind people up. It comes from 
> > associating
> > with attorneys.
> >
> > Kind regards,
> >
> >
> > George
> >
> >
> > Hi George:
> >>
> >> Can you send me the treatise off-list?
> >>
> >> -- Tom Fine
> >>
> >> ----- Original Message ----- 
> >> From: "George Brock-Nannestad" <pattac@xxxxxxxx>
> >> To: <ARSCLIST@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> >> Sent: Sunday, June 21, 2009 2:39 PM
> >> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Any good tips to flatten warped 78's?
> >>
> >>
> >> > From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
> >> >
> >> > Tom Fine asked:
> >> >
> >> >> Anyone got any good recipes to get the warp out of a 78? Especially
> >> tips
> >> >> that don't involve costly
> >> >> pieces of gear? Anything a person can do with standard household 
> >> >> objects
> >> or
> >> >> appliances?
> >> >
> >> > ----- yes, I have, but I am sure nobody wants to read one of my long
> >> > treatises on it.
> >> >
> >> > Kind regards,
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > George
> >> >
> > 

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