Leica M2 & 3 with black masking tape

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by wgpinc, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. I have 2 Leica M cameras, M2 & M3 that were taped up quite a few years ago with black masking tape. I would like to remove the masking tape and clean them up in order to sell them. I can tediously scrape the tape off with fingernails but it leaves a sticky residue. I'm looking for suggestions on how to best clean up the chrome or whatever the finish is. So far I've gotten a few suggestions but I'm open to whatever might be the best/easiest way to eliminate the sticky goo. One repair guy suggested alcohol or Goo Gone. Is Gus Lazzari out there, feel free to join in. It's a project I am going to get done and would like to get it done as elegantly as possible. Thanks, Gil!
  2. I would be very careful with alcohol around the Vulcanite if you go that route. It could be very damaging. I have no experience with Goo Gone, so can not comment there, -would water and a cloth work? That seems less damaging.
  3. rowlett

    rowlett Moderator

    Amway's LOC works wonders on things like this. It was the only thing out there that could remove the brake fluid from under my fingernails one time. It is biodegradable and mostly gentle. If you have some of that, I'd try that.
  4. Hi Gil, if you really want to sell, I'm interested in your M2 as-is. Maybe you could send some pics? Please PM me!
  5. Hello Gil,
    I noticed that GooGone even with it's citrus make-up, has a strong odor and is still a little harsh; alcohol seems to condense water.
    A light solvent such as Naphtha or lighter fluid is safest. Continuous rubbing with a clean terrycloth will provide enough abrasion. Stronger solvents can be used but with extreme care. (Lacquer Thinner, MEK or Acetone)
    Of course don't be tempted to pull on the tape, scraping should avoid the accidental pulling up of the vulcanite at possible weak & failed points.
  6. I was about to suggest acetone but Gus has spoken of that already. Should there be black tape on the black vulcanite?
  7. WD-40 (mostly naptha) is also effective for removing tape residue.
  8. As Gus says. If the residue is still all sticky, a volatile petroleum fraction solvent should dissolve it easily in a few applications, then the solvent residue should itself evaporate.
  9. Also as a suggestion, be sure to hold the camera in a position so that any fluid that runs will fall away from the camera, not down on to the vulcanite. Somtimes hard to remember when you are involved in the cleaning process.
  10. A note from the peanut gallery here, DON'T do any of this near open flames, sources of ignition, smokers, etc. Also, make sure your workspace is well ventilated. Don't be one of the "it can't happen to me" guys with third degree burns.
  11. "hold the camera in a position so that any fluid that runs" Charles S.
    Never pour onto the item to be cleaned or over-saturate the cloth. (Still, it's best to apply solvent directly to the cleaning cloth)
    As we all know, this also goes for cleaning lenses. (Apply solution to lens tissue first)
  12. Goo Gone which replaced Goof Off in the stores had serious issues with plastic. I tried Good Off not Goo Gone on a plastic cd case and it partially dissolved the case. Personally, I would not use it on a camera. As for lighter fluid: I have used it extensively on paper book jackets to remove sticker residue. Lighter fluid did no damage. The best way to clean is to go from the weakest solvent to the strongest. With a camera I always start out with lens cleaner. For most dirt and grime on an older camera it works just fine. Last week I cleaned up the body of a Yashica A with lens cleaner. It worked just fine.
  13. Try Bestine Solvent. Used in Graphic arts applications, available at Arts Supply stores. Test first no matte what you use.
  14. I have to congratulate the respondents to this thread for ingenuity. Thank everyone who posted replies. I am using Goo Gone to remove the residue after I have scraped off most of the photographic black masking tape from just the metal parts. No tape was applied to the vulcanite so I don't have to clean it. Seems to work well so far. The bottom plate and most of the top plate on the M2 are cleaned so far. Just an aside for Mike Dixon. I have seen this list before but here is a reference to a list of almost 2,000 uses for WD40 which I'm led to believe contains among other ingredients whale oil.
  15. The same kind of solvents that dissolve adhesive tape goo attack some plastics like styrene/polystyrene. This happens when you want to clean adhesive tape goo or stickyback labels off old Leica lens cases with clear (styrene?). Maybe Goo Gone is like this. Petroleum solvents certainly are
  16. Goof Off, and I suspect Goo Gone are primarily Xylene. Great for removing tape residue in short order but can be aggressive on some plastics. Test first and be careful.
    The M2 and M7s are my favorite Leicas and they deserve a long life. Both are damn fine image making machines.
  17. You know trying to sell "as is" isn't a bad idea as you have interest already. Covering a chrome Leica (most were chrome back then) was common among photojournalists. I remember a colleague covering his new (first I'd ever seen except at 1984 Photokina) black M6 with it. So that masking tape might be considered part of history of your cameras.
  18. As someone who has dealt with tape residue and such on a variety of surfaces for years, I have three recommendations:
    1) Use another tape. Seriously, take a piece of tape and stick its adhesive side on the residue. Pull up. Repeat and repeat.
    2) Paint thinner- test first.
    3) Naphtha (lighter fluid or Coleman white gas camp stove fuel)- very safe for most plastics and paints.

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