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  Separating NASA photos stuck together

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Author Topic:   Separating NASA photos stuck together
Chuckster01
Member

Posts: 734
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 02-12-2019 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am not sure if the topic has been broached before but I have several Apollo 9 color prints that are stuck together. Very well I might add.

I know pulling them apart will only destroy them. I looked on the internet and it said to soak in cold water and this separated the image from the paper destroying both of the images I tried this on (I did use distilled water and one drop of Dawn dish washing detergent).

These are A KODAK PAPER photos and red numbered so I want to do anything possible to save them but as they are garbage in there current state I am willing to try most any procedure a few photos at a time to see if anything work.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 862
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 02-12-2019 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a photographer for almost 40 years have to say that water, even a little moisture and humidity, is considered one of our biggest enemies. Not good for the camera equipment. Not good for the film back in the olden days. And definitely not good for developed paper prints.

Hate to be the bringer of bad news but those nice photos which have adhered to each other cannot be saved. Good luck with your hunt for a solution and if you do find a miracle cure please let us know.

Chuckster01
Member

Posts: 734
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 02-12-2019 07:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not what I wanted to hear if if it is true. But if you Google separating photographs many sites say these were wet process photos and water would not hurt them. Not true, water hurts.

I will still try anything if someone has a suggestion. I cannot bring myself to trash them without trying something. Destruction is better then the trash bin. Have a few in the freezer, LOL, this one I have no faith in.

CJ
Member

Posts: 31
From: Cherry Hill, NJ
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 02-12-2019 08:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJ   Click Here to Email CJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are the photos fiber based or plastic coated? How long did you soak them?

Grounded!
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Posts: 335
From: Bennington, Vermont, USA
Registered: Feb 2011

posted 02-12-2019 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Grounded!   Click Here to Email Grounded!     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe a trial with steam? You could experiment with a small area first.

Chuckster01
Member

Posts: 734
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 02-13-2019 05:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The photographs are late 1960s red numbered NASA photos so I do not believe they are plastic coated.

I soaked the first two in room temperature distilled water for about 45 minutes, trying to separate them in about 15 minute intervals. First two times they where still stuck together and the third time they had come apart (the very thin image had separated from the paper).

jimsz
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Posts: 597
From:
Registered: Aug 2006

posted 02-13-2019 06:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Call some art galleries and see if there is an art restoration expert in your area. Something like this is their area of expertise.

Also, if you live in an area with a good historical society or museum, they may be able to help.

The University of Buffalo has one of the few art restoration schools in the country. I have used them in the past for artwork. It may be worth a phone call to simply ask them for ideas.

CJ
Member

Posts: 31
From: Cherry Hill, NJ
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 02-13-2019 10:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CJ   Click Here to Email CJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems the amount of time you are soaking the prints is to long. The gelatin emulsion is dissolving. As a last resort try soaking for a short period of time to get the paper wet. Then put the edge of the two prints under running water (room temp) from a faucet. Hopefully the force of the water will aid in separation. Gently try pulling apart slowly. I would caution you not to try to separate prints until you have the means to gloss the print in order to save them (if you think you can separate them).

If the print is fiber based you will need a Ferrotype Plate to put the gloss finish back, and a squeegee to remove excess water (from the back of the print only), a hair dryer or clothes iron. Search for a plate on ebay in cameras and photo. I would buy one with instructions, and new if possible.

You could also buy a Model F-15C Flipper Electric Print Dryer (currently one on ebay) which works very well. You will want to make sure the cotton cover is clean before using. Good luck.

Chuckster01
Member

Posts: 734
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: Jan 2014

posted 02-14-2019 05:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Chuckster01   Click Here to Email Chuckster01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you so much for the input. I have made three attempts using water. Warm water only, cold water only and soaking in room temperature and running water under cold combinations and the prints do not seem to separate much.

It seems that any soaking over about 30 minutes destroys the photographs but a short soaking has little to no effect. (They do not separate much if any.) The freezer idea was a bust also, although it had no ill effects there was no gain either.

I have a good friend who is a jeweler and on his recommendation I am going to try using his ultrasonic cleaner used to clean clock parts with water. He thinks and this does sound reasonable that the 40,000 vibrations will work the photos apart before there is time for the image to separate.

If for no other purpose I will have a definitive answer on every practice listed on the internet as well as others, so in the future I will know if there is anyway to save these prints.

In Florida, we have such high humidity and many of these photographs have been left in attics, garages and sheds. History is being lost so to me it is worth the effort.

More updates to come.

oly
Member

Posts: 694
From: Perth, Western Australia
Registered: Apr 2015

posted 02-14-2019 05:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for oly   Click Here to Email oly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I pass this caution regarding the use of an ultrasonic cleaner. I have personally seen paper fuel filter elements disintegrate in an ultrasonic cleaner, the high frequency vibrations break up the paper fibers.

It may be prudent to use an unwanted sample before attempting the use on any item you may be fond of.

All times are CT (US)

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