Username Post: Old Photos and Acid        (Topic#1595001)
tyoung 
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I have old photos that are at least 45 years old in albums. Many have fallen out of the albums, but have traces of the yellow glue that has acid on them. What should I use to keep the acid from further yellowing or ruining my photos?


 
CrimsonMama
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CrimsonMama
In response to tyoung

I'm working on a similar project. I've completed 22 large albums. I have 9 of the sticky ones left to do. You need UnDu. Also if you are having trouble removing them from the album a hair dryer may help.


 
southgirl
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southgirl
In response to CrimsonMama

I removed old pictures with Undu and never had a problem. They had been in an old album from the 40's. (some had been put in with bandage tape! The Undu did not harm any picture although it does smell.


 
aquabunny
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aquabunny
In response to southgirl

The OP isn't asking for how to remove the pictures from the album - he or she is describing pictures that have already fallen out but still have traces of glue on them. Un-Du might help with that but I would be concerned about damage to the photos - not from the Un-Du itself, but from any rubbing needed to coax the bits off after they've been doused with Un-Du.


 
southgirl
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southgirl
In response to aquabunny

I repeat...I put the Undu ON the picture itself...actually soaked it and it did not harm the picture. Unless it is liquid glue Undu will take it off the picture. Although no rubbing is a good idea but gently wipe it off.


 
CrimsonMama
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CrimsonMama
In response to southgirl

Yes the UNDU is fine.

Last night I could not think of this product I'm adding to pick up adhesive as well.

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aquabunny
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aquabunny
In response to southgirl

  • southgirl Said:
I repeat...I put the Undu ON the picture itself...actually soaked it and it did not harm the picture. Unless it is liquid glue Undu will take it off the picture. Although no rubbing is a good idea but gently wipe it off.


I understand that. I've also used Un-Du on photos, and I know that the Un-Du itself does not harm them. But I've also used it on other products, with very stubborn dry adhesives, and have had to be rather rough to get the stubborn adhesive free. That's where my concern is - the physical effort that might get exerted on the photos to get the 45-year-old adhesive to release.


 
NMlady
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NMlady
In response to aquabunny

I recommend having the pictures professionally scanned and reprinted.


 
CrimsonMama
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CrimsonMama
In response to NMlady

OH YES good point you should do that as well


 
tyoung 
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In response to CrimsonMama

Ok, I have UnDu for a stick issue. Is there some kind of archival spray to keep the picture from yellowing more? I am scanning and copying the important pictures.

I guess what I need to know is if the acid on the back that is left is still acidic. I don't want to ruin them more.


Edited by tyoung on 03-27-14 04:24 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.


 
CrimsonMama
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In response to tyoung

There is no spray like that I ame awar of. If you get as much of the sticky off as possible using these tools and them store them in acid free sheet protectors or containers, they should not deteriorate further. The old plastic in the old albums was a big culprit. The ones you want in albums, the page protectors you would find here will be aci free. I use Boxes like these to organize over 5000 of ours. The box I like is by Iris and holds 1800 photos.

So getting the old flakey glue and tape off is the best you can do. Taking a digital scan of the originals like you are doing is wise too and easier to share with people. I do genealogy research and I tell family I don't want the originals! Scans are welcomed!
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animemama
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animemama
In response to NMlady

  • NMlady Said:
I recommend having the pictures professionally scanned and reprinted.



I would definitely recommend the same thing. Scanned, safely backed up somewhere, and reprinted for scrapping. My rule is, NEVER scrap one-of-a-kind original photos; keep them somewhere safe and scrapbook with copies.


 
tyoung 
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In response to animemama

You all have helped me so much! So the acid isn't in the glue, but the plastic it was covered with? Just checking to be sure. I am only scanning and reprinting those that are important to my loved ones. My grandfather took many pictures of things that aren't family related, but him relate.


 
RedSquirrel
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In response to tyoung

The acid will be in the glue as well. Basically it is unlikely that any of the materials they used then were archival; the paper, albums, adhesive. You can't do anything about the paper the photo was printed on, but you can stop any further acid degrading the photos by removing them from anything acidic.

Acid will break down the papers and the images - eventually over years. It won't happen overnight! The yellowing is caused by lignin (plant fibre) reacting with light.

So to preserve them as best you can, remove the old adhesive from the backs, and store them in archival boxes out of the light.

You're lucky - what a treasure trove!


 
CrimsonMama
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CrimsonMama
In response to RedSquirrel

  • Quote:
So to preserve them as best you can, remove the old adhesive from the backs, and store them in archival boxes out of the light.




Another good point, store them in a dark, climate controlled, low humidity place, in archival boxes.

I have old old photos that were store in old wooden trunks in garages. Needless to say they are "weathered". But I love them!


 
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