From: david tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Aug 13 2007 - 17:07:57 PDT
Cleaning old open reel tapes is only an issue if mold or some other
foreign substance has gotten to them. A possibly more important issue
is whether any lubrication built into the emultion has dried out,
causing the tape to no longer ride smoothly over the heads. In this
case something would need to be added, rather than removed. A
definitey more important issue is the tendency of the binder that
holds the emultion to the base to dry out over time and lose its
adhesive properties. Thus, attempting to play old audio or especially
video tapes may result in nothing but the oxide coating shearing off
the backing. In order to prevent this, tape archivists 'bake' old
tape before playing it back. A certain amount of heat causes the
binder to soften and renew its grip, at least well enough for a new
dub if all goes well. The standard operation employs a large
cardboard box and a hairdryer... and maybe some voodoo.
Even with a crude apparatus, its not a do-it-yourself kind of deal,
so you you should look to find someone who has experience in handling
old tapes, preferably lots of experience.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.