how to flatten old films kept wrapped?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by diegobuono, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. Hi all, a friend of mine discovered a bunch of old (30 – 40 years old) negative (most B&W, some color) in a cardboard box. The films
    seems to be 127 format. The B&W negative have been stored rolled even if cutted in streeps of different length (the shortest are 2
    photograms, the longest are very long, probably all the original roll).In a limited number of case the films have been cut in single
    photograms but, kept wrapped in the above mentioned roll, thei are curled too. On the films there are pictures of his parents, relatives
    and her when was a child so she want to save and have it scanned for easy viewing, but I suppose it is not an easy task now due to
    heavy curled film (and anyway it is better, for the future, to store it cut in strips and keep it in sleeves). Which is the best way to flatten
    those films? Due the environment in which they have been stored (the cardboard box that contain the films was stored in a basement) in
    some cases the films show fungus do you recommend to wash it? If washing is necessary she must ask to a professional lab but the
    complete job could be quite expensive so if there is a way to flatten the film (may be wrap it the contrary?) without washing this could be
    a good starting point to save it, at least it allow to scan the whole bunch.
  2. Do not wash fungus-infected film. The fungus has eaten the gelatin, and the emulsion in those areas will wash away with the image.
    Store it flat under heavy weights for several months to flatten it.
  3. You could hang that longer roll for a few days in a clean environment and use a heavy weight after most of the coil is out of it for an alternative if there is some lead at the top and end of the roll. What John says will also work.
  4. I have many of my old (back to sixth grade) 35mm negatives, which were rolled and now in the usual seven strip pages. They slowly flatten out. I sometimes put a weight on top of the three ring binder holding them.

    I have one roll that was more tightly wound, which is now hanging with two film clips on the bottom. Should be flat enough pretty soon.
  5. Pressing the film under heavy weight for a long time is good advice. But please don't try rewashing and drying the film. I tried that with an old roll of curled 35mm film and the result was a disaster! See my post:
    Good luck. -- Tom H.

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