Should I remove curl from old B&W negs? If so, how? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I have a bunch of WWII shots my Dad took and the negs. were all stored in tight rolls. I am in the process of scanning these with a Poloroid Sprintscan 4000 which has a film carriage which hold a max. of 6 shots. Any concerns or warnings with cutting the rools into strips? Is it worth the risk to get the curl out? If so, how? Should I store the strips flat in sleeves?

-- Rodney B. Smith (, April 17, 2000


I wouldn't worry about the curl, but if you want to preserve the negatives you should put them in protective plastic sleeves.

-- (, April 17, 2000.

What about storing the old negs. in the plastic film containers that new color film comes in? I guess I wonder if flatening them out will damage the film.

-- Rodney B. Smith (, April 17, 2000.

You should definitely try and straighten them out for their future good. Keeping negatives rolled up is asking for them to get scratched as they're unrolled and rolled up again.

Unroll them very carefully and hang them up full length with a weighted clip, such as a bulldog clip, on the bottom of them. Leave them like this for a couple of days if possible. In the meantime get some proper negative envelopes and a loose leaf folder to store them in. After being stored flat for a while any remaining curl will gradually come out of them.

-- Pete Andrews (, April 18, 2000.

Perhaps you can try this first with a piece of film w/o precious subjects, because the film might have become brittle over the years, which means it might easily break. Because it was certainly before my time, I can't remember when safety film fully replaced the old, dangerous nitro cellulose stuff, so before putting them somewhere near other valuable negatives or documents, you might want to check that.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, April 18, 2000.

Would an increase in humidity help? Some of these are curled tight and require a little weight to keep them from climbing up. Where can I get plastic sleeves for negatives in roll form like Wolf Camera puts negatives in? These seem to be cut from a large roll and are lightweight. One other question. I have three rolls that were never developed. Any guess as to outcome if developed? They have been in a cardboard box in a closet for most of 50 years. Thanks for the input.

-- Rodney B. Smith (, April 19, 2000.

I am not sure you can get most of the curl out. I shot a couple of rolls of OLD TriX I had around. They were dried hanging with weights, the negative strips are still VERY curly. In a neg sleeve I put them under a couple of catalogs for a few months, they are still curly.

As to developing the old film, I would try it. I would expect that longer development would help. If you really think that there might be some images you really want, try a clip test.

-- Terry Carraway (, April 20, 2000.

Rodney, Water soak for 5+ minutes, re-fix, wash and dry as usual. This will not hurt the film and will remedy any previous under-fixing if it occurred. The curl should also be gone when the film is dry. Regards, ;^d)

-- Doremus Scudder (, April 20, 2000.

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