How to straighten old negs?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Andy K, Jan 29, 2005.

  1. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I am currently going through all my father's old medium format and 35mm negs and scanning them into the computer for him. Many of them he has never seen bigger than a contact print.

    Two of the rolls have been stored since 1957 and 1960 respectively in their old screw top tin canisters. Consequently they are like a pair of Slinkys! I have them hanging at the moment with a small clothes peg on the bottom of each to weigh them down, in an attempt to straighten them.

    Is there another method I could use without damaging them? They are both Ilford FP3 Panchromatic.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hanging them probably isn't a bad start. You could also cut them into strips, put them in neg sleeves, and put some weight on them.
     
  3. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Thanks David, putting them in neg sleeves is the final intention, unfortunately they will become almost unmanageable if I cut them before they are reasonably straight. I am wary of mis-handling and damaging them. As soon as the weights are removed they spring right back into a tight little curl!
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    I did a fair bit of this while in the archive. Assuming the base is polyester and not nitrile it can be done. ROll them on a processing reel and give them a god five minute soak in plain old water, then dip in photoflo, then hang them with the clips at the bottom. SHould do the trick. if the base is nitrile your SOL that stuff curls no matter what.
     
  5. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Never had to do anything like this, but how about a soak in water followed by normal drying?
     
  6. wiseowl

    wiseowl Member

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    Sorry Mark, I didn't see your reply.
     
  7. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I did think of giving them a bath. How long for? A few minutes? Overnight?
     
  8. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    What works somewhat is to take them out and roll them in reverse and put them back in the cans for a week. Not perfect, but I did 20 rolls this way enought to put them in pages. Then weighted down the pages flat.

    Jon
     
  9. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Just seen that mark said give them a good five minute soak... d'oh! :smile:
     
  10. Natron

    Natron Member

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    I use a method mentioned above. I place the film in a negative sleeve, place it on a flat, hard surface and then stack books on top for a couple of days.

    That seems to work great for most film.
     
  11. Christopher Colley

    Christopher Colley Member

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    I had a similar problem with a roll that was left undeveloped from 1998, and developed in 2004.

    Even after normal processing, and then 1 subsequent extra wash to try and flatten out the negs they were still very curly. I ended up cutting them and sleeving them anyways. Unfortunetly it seems, even 6 months later under heavy weight in a binder they are still SLIGHTLY curvy (make the sleeve page bend up when the page is sitting on the desk), Im not sure if this will ever go away but the extra wash, and weight added definately helped to remove at least 60% of the bend.. I wouldnt put your hopes up on completely flattening negs that sat curled for longer than I have been alive!

    good luck!
     
  12. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Here we go again! Just found some more of Dad's negs. It amazes me that this is how they came from the lab! (Please excuse the phone cam pic!)
     
  13. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Most of our family negs from the '60s and early '70s are in exactly the same kind of packaging.