Glassine sleeves : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have come across many 4x5 negatives I shot in Switzerland in the 1960's and were stored in glassine sleeves or envelopes. Less than perfect storage has resulted in many of them being stuck to the negatives. I can carefully pull the glassine away from the negative but it leaves behind a residue. Any suggestions on removal? I tried rubbing Alcohol but it didn't seem to faze it... HELP

-- Robert Janke (, June 04, 2002


Howdy Robert, i'll ask the custom lab tomorrow when i go to pick up some slides. If ALL else fails, I have a belt sander... Let you know after I speak with the lab manager.. m.

-- miles feigenbaum (, June 04, 2002.

Hi Robert, the George Eastman House has technicians who specialize in conservation of photographs and negatives. Try their web site for contact info. Good luck, David

-- david clark (, June 04, 2002.

You may try (and the word is "try") one negative first, using Bestine. Bestine is nasty, probably carcinogenic but will remove any trace of glue based on rubber cement. Bestine can be bought in art supply stores and is usually used to thin rubber cement and clean art work (old fashioned paste up).

-- Per Volquartz (, June 04, 2002.

Hi Robert,

I'l try to remeber to as our Conservator tomorrow.

Black and white I presume?

-- tim atherton (, June 04, 2002.

Bestine is essentially Naptha. It's great stuff for certain things, although I've never tried it on transparency material. I clean b&w prints with it all the time. Good for removing finger prints. HOWEVER, this stuff is very volotile and extremely flammable! Be very careful where and how you use it, if you elect to try it. I remember as a student in college, an advertizing agency in a downtown Manhattan office building being gutted as a result of careless disposal of Naptha soaked rags. Defense de fumer, if you know what I mean.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, June 05, 2002.

Call Kodak, or Ilford and they should tell you. I would be careful of any volitile solutions because they may leave a residue on the film and or disolve the emulsion. I would try, not peeling anything off, but mix a solution of photoflo and soak it. That should soften the glassine so you may be able tyo rub it off. Try one and see what happens. Kodak used to, or still does make a film cleaner.

-- Rob Pietri (, June 05, 2002.

Robert, assuming that these are B&W negatives, re-wash them, use wetting agent, and hang to dry in a dust free area, just as you would do with a newly developed negative. Years ago, glassine and paper were the only materials available for neg. storage. The manufacturers were wise enough to know that moisture may be a problem, so they used water soluable glue on the envelope seams. Organic solvents, like alcohol, will not dissolve water-based glue.

-- Eugene (, June 05, 2002.

OK, no need for the belt sander yet!

I asked them at the lab this mrning and he pulled a small 4 oz. bottle from under the counter. Its available from large pro type camera stores or direct from the manufacturer.



PH. 508 759-2322

He said to not spray the neg, but to apply it to either some cheesecloth or an old lint free cotton t-shirt, or one of those lens cleaning rags.

I've seen this stuff at the local pro shop but have not needed it yet...

He told me it really works.


-- miles feigenbaum (, June 05, 2002.

Another thing...

the guy at the lab told me to have you store them in ACETATE SLEEVES before you put the negs in any other type of holder. I realize this was done years ago..

please post your success rate..

-- miles feigenbaum (, June 05, 2002.


I have a procedure that was set up for removing cellophane envelopes that have done the same, but is also used for glassine envelopes, which I could fax to you.

It basically involves a solution of DK-50 developer and photoflo soaking at 80 degrees F and then fixing and rinsing.

But our Conservator suggested the following simpler version first:

Remove as much of the envelope that is not stuck as you can - leaving on the stuck bits (unless it is stuck all over) - just so you don't have tons of loose paper floating around.

Mix a solution of about 1/2 capful of photoflo to 16oz water.

Make sure the water is heated and maintained to 80f

Place the negative in the solution and agitate gentle. After about 10 minutes the glassine should start to loosen and come of. If it doesn't, the emulsion hasn't softened enough (if the temp drops too much the emulsion won't soften sufficiently or quickly enough) - try a few more minutes.

Once the gunk is coming off, loosened, put the neg in another bath of the same stuff for about 15 minutes (no more than 30 total for the two baths).

If there is still dirt/gunk stuck on the neg, it can be VERY GENTLY rubbed off with a damp chamois cloth. But DON'T rub too hard or vigorously - the emulsion is now very soft and you could either damage it or pull the whole thing off the base!

After this, wash in water starting off somewhere close to the 80f and gradually/slowly cooling down to 55/60f(too fast and the emulsion will reticulate)

Followed by a touch of regular photoflo solution and normal drying.

There may be an increase in grain due to the fact that the emulsion has been softened so much.

This process was used here (govt archives) on a whole bunch of negs in glassine (and also cellophane) that had been damaged by heat in a fire and stuck to the negs. Only a few needed the more drastic developer and fixer process I mentioned.

I would test this water/photoflo in a couple and see how it goes.

Sticking closely to the 80f is important - too cold and the emulsion won't soften. Too high and the emulsion will reticulate anyway...

Just remember to handle the negs VERY carefully once the emulsion is soft.


-- tim atherton (, June 05, 2002.

I would avoid the PEC12 for this - it isn't for removing water soluble things. Also, the glassine has probably stuck dues to dampness in most cases, so it has softened the emulsion which is why the two are now stuck.

You can most likely do this wthout resorting to ahrsh chemicals...


-- tim atherton (, June 05, 2002.

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