Chapter Seven

Treatment Stage 2 – Tape removal

Following the large scale surface cleaning step, the next step – tape removal – seems minor by comparison.
There are two strips of masking tape on the back of one end of the print:

Masking tape on back of The Key

Masking tape on back of The Key

And a temporary repair that was applied when the item first came in to us to stabilise an at-risk area of the print:

Temporary repair strip

Temporary repair strip

All three of these repairs will be removed.
The temporary repair was easily removed just by peeling the tissue away from the print by hand. This is exactly how the Conservation staff would have expected the repair strip to behave. It was a reversible repair with minimal impact on the object.

After removal of temporary repair strip

After removal of temporary repair strip

The masking tape proved to be fairly easy to remove, too. Luckily, the adhesive layer was still sticky and had not become yellow and brittle. This meant that the tape carrier could be removed by warming the adhesive layer with a heated spatula to soften the adhesive and lift the carrier off.

Using a heated spatula to remove masking tape

Using a heated spatula to remove masking tape

Residual adhesive was partially removed by warming the adhesive in contact with a square of blotting paper. The soft texture of the blotter allowed the adhesive to cling to it and be lifted away.

Adhesive residue from masking tape transferred to blotter

Adhesive residue from masking tape transferred to blotter

The remaining adhesive will have to be removed with solvents. The print is too long to fit in the fume hood, but luckily only one end needed to be in there, so with some extra support, The Key turned into The Bridge.

End of print in fume cupboard, for solvent application

End of print in fume hood, for solvent application

The remaining adhesive was removed using small hand rolled cotton swabs dipped in tetrachloroethylene. This solvent is known to work well on sticky masking tape adhesive, and it lived up to its reputation. The adhesive was removed, but as is so often the case with pressure sensitive tapes, some degree of staining was left behind.

Removing adhesive residue with solvent on cotton swab

Removing adhesive residue with solvent on cotton swab

The print is now (temporarily) in a more fragile state as the torn right hand end is no longer held together with masking tape.

Before masking tape removal

Before masking tape removal

 

After masking tape removal

After masking tape removal

This entire area will be stabilised during the repair and lining stage.

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