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  1. Member
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    Originally Posted by El Scotto View Post
    Some Ampex VHS tapes, particularly 189, get sticky shed syndrome. This results from the type of binder formula Ampex was using for their better tape, which absorbs water over time and becomes sticky. I work at an archival operation, and we automatically bake Ampex 189's before even trying to play them because they're virtually all unplayable without baking. Sticky shed is very prevalent among premium open-reel audio tape and more prevalent among U-Matic tapes, but there are a few tape stocks that we receive that are consistently sticky, and a few others that aren't always sticky. But Ampex 189 is always sticky, regardless of condition or storage quality. You'll also find tapes made by big manufacturers like Ampex that are licensed to other tape brands and will get sticky.

    We don't remove any reels from cassettes; we just bake the whole tape. Usually that works, only very occasionally it doesn't. I don't do any baking myself, but there are tutorials online, mostly for open-real audio tapes. Even with the best storage techniques, Ampex 189 is just the worst.
    Ampex 189 is the only VHS tape I have encountered that has a backcoating. Almost all known sticky-prone tapes, audio or video, are backcoated. Fortunately, 189 is not that common because it was marketed as a mastering tape. (Though why anyone would "master" to VHS is beyond me!) If you are doing only one or a few cassettes, I advocate removing the reels for incubation. There's no reason to subject the whole cassette mechanism to heat, and it blocks airflow in the oven.
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  2. I have a few of these tapes. Do you know anyone that offers tape baking service?
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  3. Member
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    I use the poor man's method, a Nesco FD-60 food dehydrator set at 135 F, for both audio and video tape.
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  4. Member Deter's Avatar
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    JVRaines, that is the correct way to do this, I have the Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator & Jerky Maker as well. What I did was cut some of the prongs out of the racks so the tapes fit perfect in the center of the unit.
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  5. Now if only someone can post a tutorial on how to restore moldy sticky tapes.
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  6. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Send it to a tape baker, no I am not a baker just a novice at best.
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  7. Baking may, or may not, be the right thing to do to those tapes. I thought baking was mostly about temporarily (for a few hours) reactivating the binding that holds the oxide to the tape backing so the tapes could be played once without having all the oxide fall offl. I'm not sure baking will do anything for a binding that has gone gooey. It certainly will not do anything for mold.
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