Very curly 120 film, can't get it on the reel
Old 09-29-2019   #1
retinax
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Very curly 120 film, can't get it on the reel

The title says it, this roll of Tri-X, a few years expired, does not want to leave its curled up state. I cant get it started on the Paterson reel. It's back in the safety of its backing paper for now, and before the next attempt, I hope for tips and tricks... anybody?
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Old 09-29-2019   #2
ajtruhan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
The title says it, this roll of Tri-X, a few years expired, does not want to leave its curled up state. I cant get it started on the Paterson reel. It's back in the safety of its backing paper for now, and before the next attempt, I hope for tips and tricks... anybody?
Do you have access to a steel reel? Might help.
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Old 09-29-2019   #3
julio1fer
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The hard part is probably inserting the film.

Once I had the same problem with an old film. Finally I used a flat piece of blank film (about 2 inches long), inserting it together with the film leader. I pressed the curly film leader together with the flat piece and pushed both through the reel entrance. Once inside, the curly film could be loaded and I could remove the flat piece of film.

Probably anything flat, rigid, very thin and smooth could be used instead of a piece of blank film, but that was what I had at hand.

Just something that worked for me, no guarantees.
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Old 09-30-2019   #4
Russell W. Barnes
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Can you seize the end of the film and pull it through the ball-bearing gates an inch or so to give it a start?
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Old 09-30-2019   #5
Fjäll
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Yes. I was having the same issue when developing a batch of expired film just the other day. Every roll got stuck. I tried to curl the film the opposite way and bend the edges up a bit to flatten it. Don't have that problem anymore!
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Old 09-30-2019   #6
Sarcophilus Harrisii
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
The title says it, this roll of Tri-X, a few years expired, does not want to leave its curled up state. I cant get it started on the Paterson reel. It's back in the safety of its backing paper for now, and before the next attempt, I hope for tips and tricks... anybody?
Two points.
One—for loading any roll easily onto a Paterson reel it must be clean. If brand new they will work nicely for a while. But sooner or later chemical residues will induce the film to jam on the spirals instead of gliding along them. I'm not saying this is definitely the issue with the roll in question. But some films load easier than others, and if your reel is overdue for a soak in hot soapy water and a scrub with a nylon pot scrubbing brush it will assuredly not help matters.

Two—take an ordinary lead pencil (something soft like a 2B is ideal but any should suffice) and run the sharpened nib well around in between the reel spirals. The graphite in the lead will greatly assist when feeding a recalcitrant roll. I've processed numerous ancient rolls of film for other people and your situation is one I'm well acquainted with. Many of those were 620 as opposed to 120. Of course the actual film is the same so this might seem inconsequential. But a 620 spool is a noticeable smaller diameter than a standard 120 spool. Hence the first few frames in particular are coiled even more severely than with 120. After taking a fifty-sixty year roll of 620 off its spool it can do a fair imitation of spring steel. I was doing one every couple of weeks or so at one point. In the end whenever I'd process a very old roll I would routinely apply some pencil lead to the reel. With this and a clean Paterson reel I never failed to get a roll loaded successfully.
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Old 10-01-2019   #7
retinax
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Thank you all for the advice, I tried it all and what worked was inspired by what julio1fer wrote. A piece of thick stiff plastic foil taped to the back of the film, just using it to get it started didn't work. So I wound it in with the film. Unfortunately one frame is ruined because it touched the plastic. I have another roll half full... Had I known this before, I'd have thrown it away....


Quote:
Originally Posted by julio1fer View Post
The hard part is probably inserting the film.

Once I had the same problem with an old film. Finally I used a flat piece of blank film (about 2 inches long), inserting it together with the film leader. I pressed the curly film leader together with the flat piece and pushed both through the reel entrance. Once inside, the curly film could be loaded and I could remove the flat piece of film.

Probably anything flat, rigid, very thin and smooth could be used instead of a piece of blank film, but that was what I had at hand.

Just something that worked for me, no guarantees.
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Old 10-01-2019   #8
wpb
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Don’t ever scrub plastic reels with anything firmer than a toothbrush. Once plastic has micro scratches in it it becomes nearly impossible to clean, and collects “crud” way faster. We cleaned the innards of Fuji and Noritsu processors with toilet bowl cleaner and a toothbrush.
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Old 10-01-2019   #9
sepiareverb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Two points.
One—for loading any roll easily onto a Paterson reel it must be clean. If brand new they will work nicely for a while. But sooner or later chemical residues will induce the film to jam on the spirals instead of gliding along them. I'm not saying this is definitely the issue with the roll in question. But some films load easier than others, and if your reel is overdue for a soak in hot soapy water and a scrub with a nylon pot scrubbing brush it will assuredly not help matters.

Two—take an ordinary lead pencil (something soft like a 2B is ideal but any should suffice) and run the sharpened nib well around in between the reel spirals. The graphite in the lead will greatly assist when feeding a recalcitrant roll. I've processed numerous ancient rolls of film for other people and your situation is one I'm well acquainted with. Many of those were 620 as opposed to 120. Of course the actual film is the same so this might seem inconsequential. But a 620 spool is a noticeable smaller diameter than a standard 120 spool. Hence the first few frames in particular are coiled even more severely than with 120. After taking a fifty-sixty year roll of 620 off its spool it can do a fair imitation of spring steel. I was doing one every couple of weeks or so at one point. In the end whenever I'd process a very old roll I would routinely apply some pencil lead to the reel. With this and a clean Paterson reel I never failed to get a roll loaded successfully.
Thank you for this. Magnificent prose.

My 2 cents: Hewes stainless reel.
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Old 10-01-2019   #10
PRJ
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Try loading it backwards, emulsion out.
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