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:
And a temporary repair that was applied when the item first came in to us to stabilise an at-risk area of the print:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The print is now (temporarily) in a more fragile state as the torn right hand end is no longer held together with masking tape.
This entire area will be stabilised during the repair and lining stage.