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Old 20th February 2002, 04:27 PM   #1
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Default record cleaning/restoration

I'm still a bit disoriented on this site and may post the wrong threads in the wrong places. Patience with this neophyte please!
Please read below.

Respects, Ron

I'm very interested in an analogue forum as my special interest is in the cleaning/resoration of vinyl. I'm including my letter below as a way of introduction.


RE: Bernhard wrote about a discussion concerning a record cleaning machine using a microfibre towel to get the record dry after cleaning insted of sucking it dry. No more noise :-)

REPLY:

I think the one area where I may have an emerging
degree of knowledge is in the vinylite disk. My
careful microscopic examination and reading feeds my
fascination more and more. Record cleaning and care
presently seems to be my niche, and I look forward to
joining any discusssion in this (and all other
directly connected issues ie cartridges, tonearms and
their setup). Till I find the forum myself, please
forward any of my thoughts (anything that might be
interesting that is, though I may have more to learn
than contribute).

I think the microfibre towel will work fine provided
it has sufficient absorbancy. I think little covers
for sponges would be good. Where is your source for
this fabric? Is it similar to the Discwasher brush
fabric?

I should describe my cleaner and method. I mentioned
the basics: portable vac ("dedicated" -- I don't clean
the car with it : ) and turntable. I've retained the
original mat reversed, coated with an anti-static
floor finish. The central label area is layered felt
to keep the vinyl off the mat. I clamp the records on
with a clear PVC container lid (hole cut for spindle).
The lid protects the label from fluids (I use lots)
and also provides a traction guide for my vacuum
brush.

Then pressed onto the spindle is a carefully drilled
hockey puck. I've done hundreds of LPs and this clamp
has never let go. I'm sure the puck clamp is very
widely used and for good reason. It's amazing.
Records can be turned with puck or, as I prefer, by
the record edge (of course, wearing white gloves).

My vac is powerful, and at first I cleaned with its
full force. Then I realized that this was unnecessary
pressure, and I came to use the leading and rear edges
only (rather than flat on). Really, the vac only
needs to pick up excess fluid. My microscope shows
that my prior brushing when I apply the fluid (I use
something like a big parastat for this) loosens up any
oils or dust, so it's unnecssary and potentially
hazardous to apply too much suction. Professional
units like the VPI are designed so the vac head
doesn't touch the lp, and that's good, but I think my
head works just as well. I've compared results with a
VPI and like my unit better precisely because it's
very "hands on."

I think many soft fabrics can become abrasive if too
much pressure (vacuum suction or other) is applied.
My sister gave me a couple metres of good quality felt
(no shedding), and I change the head every 50 or so
cleanings. I never allow the felt to wear.

Microfibre is great, and I'd like to buy some, but I'd
be very careful about overusing it.

By the way, after cleaning, I rinse the record surface
twice with distilled water using a fine atomizing
spray bottle. It's interesting how fine spray will
highlight any residues missed by the cleaning. I also
finally buff the record well by covering the vac head
with super-soft anti-static cloth, the kind that's
used for dusting and can be found in any store.

Nowadays, there are so many new anti-static fabrics
that I think we are justified in regarding vinyl as a
still viable and wonderful musical recording medium.
I'm sure that someday we vinyl lovers will have to
accept the sonic superiority of DVD, DSD, or whatever,
but I'm dedicated to exploring the potential of vinyl
however I can.

By the way, I bought a couple hundred near-mint lps at
auction some time back. Sadly, some had old PVC
sleeves, which left smears (audible) on the vinyl.
This has to be the greatest cleaning challenge, and I
am testing some rather strong cleaners specifically
for this. I'd appreciate your thoughts and advice on
this or anything else.

I'll be looking for the appropriate forums and will
meet you there, but till then please email anytime.

Cheers, Ron Peltomaa
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Old 27th February 2002, 09:28 PM   #2
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
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Ron,













looks like noone wants to continue the topic we started on the Analogic Forum thread













I take the freedom to repeat my last post here to make it easier to follow up:






<<<<<<<<<<<<<<






thank you for your flattering email and your post, yes, the antiskating guy, that's me.














I too built a record cleaning machine; the thing was an advanced design outperforming NittyGritty and VPI vastly, even outperforming the Keith Monks and equalling the cleaning effect of a high power ultrasonic cleansing tub (because of possible record surface damage, i must warn from using an ultrasonic cleanising tub -- keyword pressing bubble -- even if the cleansing effect is the reference standard). OTOH, my machine was noisy to the extent of being unbearable, and it was ugly, unsellable . So the project faded away. But in case there is interest, i would like to throw in my knowledge, too.







One of my friends tried out a record cleaning and drying method using modern hightech µfibre fabrics and reported results coming close to what my machine back then was able to achieve. Particularly the drying effect of the ultra-absorptive fabric caught my attention, i always wanted to get rid of the noisy vac. It seems that this towel manages to get one record completely dry. Washing several records in a row would probably require a drying stand for, say, 9 towel cushions while the 10th towel cushion is in use.






<<<<<<<<<<<<<<






now to your post:






Quote:
I think the microfibre towel will work fine provided it has sufficient absorbancy. I think little covers for sponges would be good. Where is your source for this fabric? Is it similar to the Discwasher brush fabric?



Exactly what i have in mind, µfibre cushions filled with some isopropanole-resistant rubber foam. I have not yet figured out where to buy this towel. But i come back as soon as i know it.





Quote:
Then I realized that this was unnecessary pressure, and I came to use the leading and rear edges only (rather than flat on). Really, the vac only needs to pick up excess fluid. My microscope shows that my prior brushing when I apply the fluid (I use something like a big parastat for this) loosens up any oils or dust, so it's unnecssary and potentially hazardous to apply too much suction. Professional units like the VPI are designed so the vac head doesn't touch the lp, and that's good, but I think my head works just as well.



Interesting, somehow aligned with my obsaervations. My cleaing machine has a horizontal spinlde and cleans the record on both sides simultaneously. Two vacuum yokes are then pressed against the rotating record to dry it. I used to regulate the air flow with my fingers' pressure; the VPI-lke vacuum slot on the yokes was covered by polyamide velvet, just as the VPI. The more i pressed the less air flew and i learned to regulate the gap to achieve a maximum air flow.




Quote:
By the way, after cleaning, I rinse the record surface twice with distilled water using a fine atomizing spray bottle. It's interesting how fine spray will highlight any residues missed by the cleaning.


That's interesting! As i plan to wash my records with water after i did with alcohol, the spraying can serve as a final residue check before drying.


Quote:
I'm sure that someday we vinyl lovers will have to accept the sonic superiority of DVD, DSD, or whatever, but I'm dedicated to exploring the potential of vinyl however I can.

no, disagreed, there is no best medium IMO. But there is a best medium for a given recording and this is the medium the recording was initially intended for! The exisistence of wax cylinders justifies a cylinder phonograph and so it is with any other medium.


Quote:
By the way, I bought a couple hundred near-mint lps at auction some time back. Sadly, some had old PVC sleeves, which left smears (audible) on the vinyl. This has to be the greatest cleaning challenge, and I am testing some rather strong cleaners specifically for this. I'd appreciate your thoughts and advice on this or anything else.

i'd recommend extended washing with 100% isopropanole on my apparatus. Had very nice successes with "unremoveable residue".
__________________
Greets,
Bernhard
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Old 27th February 2002, 10:07 PM   #3
PassFan is offline PassFan  United States
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Hey guys what kind of solution do you use to clean with. Is it something I can mix at home. I just got my turntable and other than the occasional album I find with a sealed sleeve most come from the goodwill and are in need of a serious cleaning. Thanks for posting this info on a most helpful subject. Maybe one day we'll get a forum.
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Old 27th February 2002, 11:12 PM   #4
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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Default Home brew celaning fuilds

I'am aways interested in good home brew cleaning solutions for use in my VPI LP cleaning machine.

I would like encourage very one to list the things that are known to work with minimal damage to the LP surface.

I have used tile cleaners which had anti fungus additives, distilled water, a little iso alcohol and photo flow solution with good succes. I found some furmulas on the internet after doing a search for record cleaning solutions.

The problem at times is that these mention specific brands or names of products that are not available in all areas. So some fudging may be required.

Just recovering from open heart surgery so I don't have access to any real good details at the present time.

John Fassotte
Alaskan Audio
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Old 28th February 2002, 03:42 PM   #5
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Default I confess

Record cleaning is an activity that gives me almost endless pleasure. It feels like spiritual cleansing, perhaps an evolved ritual, penance for what I did to my old Beatle records as a kid. I once took my stereo onto the roof of my house and played Yer Blues through the night. Although I upgraded in the 70s and treated my records with considerably more care, buying those nice PVC lined Angel covers (I'm being sarcastic, please) and various brushes and fluids, I didn't quite understand it as a devotional exercise until I visited Japan and witnessed the zen-like reverence practiced by certain Japanese audiophiles, which threw me into a kind of purgatory, causing me to abandon my stereo, put away my records and exist for some twelve years with only a portable cassette player and FM radio turned to the CBC. I taped and overtaped a choatic and unlabelled collection of Bob Marley, Chopin, Puccini arias and Indian instrumentals. Finally I became lost in eastern microtonal music, which I could feel but not really understand. And so I survived the 1980s, feigning indifference to audio technology and the pop music industry, without a CD to my name. In came the 90s, and with it true love, marriage, a move to Montreal, an LP collection inheritance and gradually, my life came back together when I bought my Rega turntable. The rest is now around me in my listening room: my music, my bebop, Mahler and Sibelius and my wife. What more can I say? Please forgive me for using this space to get this out, but now its done. Thank you!

And this is not what I was intending to write about. Cleaning fluid recipes, right! I'll post that soon!
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Old 28th February 2002, 06:09 PM   #6
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Cool record cleaning formulas

The Canadian Conservation Institute formula is, as you probably know, widely quoted on the net:

QUOTE:
Grooved discs are best cleaned using a record cleaning machine
such as the Keith Monks, VPI, Nitty Gritty using 0.25 part of
Tergitol 15-S-3 and 0.25 parts of Tergitol 15-S-9 per 100 parts
of distilled water. These machines allow for an even dispersion
of fluid and can then vacuum the liquid leaving a clean, dry
surface. The discs must then be rinsed thoroughly with
distilled water and vacuumed dry to eliminate any trace of
detergent residue. Records should be cleaned before each
playback.


More aggressive formulas can be made using up to 3 parts isopropyl to 1 distilled water, with a couple drops of dishwashing soap. I have read accounts of a variety of alternatives, including tile cleaner and whiteboard cleaner, though my own experimentation is yet limited and I cannot comment on them. I have heard of mouldy records being treated with a biocide (hibiclens or exidine), but be aware of the probable permanent damage, the result of the mould having actually eaten into the groove walls.

My own preference, what I'm using now, is a mild solution, one part isopropyl (lab grade) to 5 parts distilled (demineralized, deionized) water and a couple drops of clear dishsoap. I am not entirely confident (ie not all-knowing) about isopropyl (hence the mild solution) having read some speculation about the possible effects of this on the various fillers and binders in the vinyl. I think mild solutions and proper rinsing will bring the risk of long-term adverse effects down to about 0%. I advocate thorough repeated rinses to ensure 0% residue, and I use a fine spray atomizer for this that actually reveals in the spray pattern any missed residue traces.

To those who pick up garage-sale records, my advise would be to wash them repeatedly (as necessary) with mild solutions rather than trying to strip off all the grunge at once. Use a vacuum device (an excellent DIY project) or good absorbant material as described elsewhere by Bernhard. Leave no residues!
Test any formula on glass in bright sunlight, and, if you're really serious about clean records, get a decent microscope (or DIY) with a boom or swing armature and a safe (not hot!) light source.

I'll be expermenting with various formulas and will keep posting.
Have fun and please post any other thoughts on this topic.
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Old 28th February 2002, 07:36 PM   #7
Evaas is offline Evaas  Canada
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Default whats a good magnifier?

What is the best CHEAP method of checking the record gooves and the needle? i.e. what type of microscope/magnifying glass can I use?

I'd like to know how effective my cleaning is, and how worn my needle is, but I don't have a lot of money for it. This is as much for curiosity and fun as for music reproduction, so I'm not looking for a discusion on how useful it is..

thanks!

Evan
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Old 1st March 2002, 02:51 AM   #8
dice45 is offline dice45  Germany
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Hello all,



if the record is really dirty, the fluid can be quite strong although i always would recommend to try the fluid out on the deadwax .

PVC is rugged, it is widely used for chemical armatures. There are not many solvents agressive to PVC. My record washing machine was made from PVC completely so i would have seen any solvent agression at once.



Ethanole and isopropanole can be used pure for vinyl records, without being mixed with water. With isopropanole i tried this out very often , no danger. Although i have to report the record can sound a bit "rough" and harsh afterwards, this later disappears. It disappears at once if the record is washed afterwards with pure distilled water.



I found it necessary to add a wetting agent to the water, it also did improve the iso's wetting. I used "genius in a bottle" back then as wetting agent which i am sad to report it is discontinued. This stuff di a fine job when thinned by a factor of 5000 to 10000 and left no residue whereas stuff likee Photoflo or Agepon or the like looses its effect at 1000 or above but still leaves residue. Not recommended. I need to find a new wetting agent. Thom Mackris has sent me samples of Triton X-100. Thom reported good results; i come back with my results as soon as i have them.



Concentrated iso : let's not forget the record has a mould release agent in the grooves. It is there unworn in new records, deterioating dynamics, and it is there in old records, worn/deformed in play direction and adding distortion. This MRA has to come off !!! Concentrated iso does a fine job here; in fact it was the key motivation for me to build a record washing machine.
__________________
Greets,
Bernhard
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Old 1st March 2002, 02:21 PM   #9
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Default Evan, look for a dissecting microscope.

Evan, do a net search for a 40x dissecting microscope. One can be found for $70. if your look carefully. A stereoscopic version is better, but this will do. I suggest a pillar type armature that provides 6" or more from the outer view field to the post, to allow inspection of the record while on the turntable, or even better on your cleaning platter. How to set it up is easy to figure out. A very rugged and reliable DIY armature can be made cheaply, but because you don't want a discussion on the matter, I won't bother describing it or recommending a specific commercial model. If you change your mind and want to discuss this further, please do.
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Old 1st March 2002, 02:43 PM   #10
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Bernhard,

do you have a picture or drawing from your cleaning mashine? I´m using a nitty gritty at the moment but thought of building one myself (and sell the nitty gritty).

william

p.s. Thanks again
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