View Full Version : Print sleeves for negatives?

Mark Sawyer
5-May-2005, 11:15
Does anyone know whether it is appropriate to use Print File print sleeves (810-2P) for 8x10 negatives, as opposed to the softer Print File negative sleeves (810-1HB)? I prefer the print preservers, but don't want to risk abrading the negatives or causing some other unforeseen damage. I asked Print File's customer support, but they didn't respond. As usual, thanks for the expertise!

5-May-2005, 12:02
depends on what's in them. next time ask them if there are any slip agents present in the sleeves....

Gem Singer
5-May-2005, 12:09
Hi Mark,

As far as I can tell from the product description on the Calumet website, both types of Print File sleeves are made from the same gauge archival polyethelene. It looks like the only difference between the two is that the 810-1HB sleeves are a larger size in order to accomodate an 8X10 print which has a slightly wider border than an 8X10 negative.

I have been using the Clear-File Archival Plus Format #10B sleeves to store both my 8X10 and 5X7 negatives. They are less expensive, punched for a 3-ring binder, and seem to do a good job.

Gem Singer
5-May-2005, 12:33
P.S. Further research revealed that the Print File, as well as the Clear File sleeves for storing prints are made from a slightly heavier gauge polyethelene material. Also the Clear File sleeves that I have been using are #19B, not #10B. I would think that there would be no problem using the heavier gauge material for storing negatives.

Bob Phipps
5-May-2005, 16:41
Look at hte web site for "inkjetart.com", they have all types of sleeves. I have been very satisified with my 4x5's. They may be able to anser your question too.

Mark Sawyer
5-May-2005, 16:42
kthompson: I'm aware of the slip agent issue, largely through finding your past posts here in the forum. Thanks, good info! All I can find out about it through even more research is that in current Print File pages, the amount of slip agent is "minimal," whatever that means...

I used to do some photo-conservation for the NPS (1981-1985) and the Arizona Historical Society(1985-1991), and the best solution at that time was Permafile paper envelopes. (Don't know what the "state of the art" is now...) However, I prefer the convenience of a transparent sleeve, and as I'm currently 48, I'm just looking for a 30-40 year life span. (I doubt that "posterity" will care that much about my work!)

Eugene: Yup, the print sleeves are slightly heavier, and seem a bit more rigid too. That's why I prefer them, but I don't want to find my negatives "ferrotyped" (I consider that the wrong use of that term, though it seems to be a current usage, and fairly descriptive,) or abraded or who knows what else five years from now. I'm just checking whether the collective intelligence knows somthing I don't about this usage. A "healthy paranoia" sort of thing...

Mark Sawyer
5-May-2005, 16:49
Bob- I checked on their "Crystal Clear Envelopes," and while they might be good for protecting prints from frequent handling, I don't want to put film negatives in something that closes with an adhesive strip. Maybe just an unfounded prejudice, but there's got to be an accident waiting to happen in there somewhere... Thanks for the thought, though!

Gem Singer
5-May-2005, 20:06

I have several 4X5 negatives that have been stored in fairly stiff Mylar sleeves for over twenty-five years. No sign of ferrotyping or abrasion. Polyethelene sleeves should be equally kind to film as Mylar sleeves. I don't understand why you would think that a heavier gauge material would ferrotype or abrade film any more than a thinner gauge material, as long as the negatives stored in the sleeves are not subjected to extreme pressure or abuse. I think your "healthy paranoia" is un-founded in this case.

Mark Sawyer
5-May-2005, 23:09
Eugene- I kinda mis-spoke myself there... I agree the heaviness of the material isn't an issue, but I worry there might be some reason totally unknown to me that print sleeves might be harmful to negatives. I've seen ferrotyping and abrasion as issues mentioned as possible issue areas with Print File sleeves, so I'm probably a little over-conscious of them. Other than my ignorance of whether the print sleeves are safe for negatives, I really do like them.

Looking forward to meeting you in person in a couple of weeeks!

6-May-2005, 17:09
Mark--yeah, I've heard it called "ferrotyping" and also called "blocking"--but it means pretty much the same thing, the plastic getting stuck to the surface of whatever it is stored inside.

We had some problems with those products at the place where I work--and it happened in a controlled storage area, so go figure. Basically, if you get into the nitty gritty of these notebook sleeves, it's a mistake to go by the PAT for a plastic sleeve, because the material is in fact "safe" in it's pure form. Polyehtylene is a good material, if it's uncoated. Same goes for Polypropylene. Henry Wilhelm, in his book, recommends against using these pages for storage because of the slip agents. He recommends using a High Density Polyethylene page for this instead of the Low Density pages like these products you mention...afaik, the only consumer available HDPE notebook pages are made for Light Impressions and called "HD Polychron"--the rest are made for the minilab industry for rollfilm sleevers. These things are frosted though, not clear...

But the PAT doesn't test for "blocking" or "ferrotyping". I believe they can perform tests to subject the sleeves to the conditions to cause this, but all this information is confidential. I don't think it makes good ad copy to disclose the results in the way saying it "passes PAT" would be...these sleeves can pass the PAT, because they don't cause any chemical damage. Blocking or Ferrotyping is physical damage--and ferrotyping can happen even with the best Mylar D sleeves if the humidity gets high enough. Of course--a good response to this is who in their right mind would store their longterm files in a hothouse? Basically for a Mylar D sleeve to ferrotype, it would up in the 80s probably, in overstuffed drawers with an RH at mold levels....if that's the type of storage you have, then you have more worries besides the sleeves.

So I don't know. I have used them in the past, and still have some negs stored in them that I don't care about too much. I have seen negs stick to them in both the notebook form and the tube form, which honestly I have seen more negs with the ferrotype patterns and shiny spots coming from those tube sleeves than the others. I just don't trust them, but many people, museums and archives use them with no problems. I know that in the system I work in--well, there's a preservation type archive that uses them. The state archive uses them in a limited capacity and the place I work for still uses them for short-term stuff. We have hundreds of negatives that are limited use for example--restricted copy negs that will be destroyed when their limit is up. These are happily stored in these pages....I could almost care less if they stuck to a page, because someday I'm gonna cut the negative in half with scissors and throw it away anyways...

Right now though--ha! well, state of the art is a CRI Microchamber zeolite type paper enclosure and a Mylar D type locking sleeve.Less than state of the art paper enclosures--we can't afford the microchamber stuff, so we use Buffered/acid & lignin free paper envelopes for b/w--all PAT tested. Unbuffered for color, although now they say buffered is okay for modern color so....for any neg that is older than a certain cutoff point--I don't work in the archives, so I'm no expert, but I believe this is any negative older than 20-25 years for acetate and any nitrate negatives--for these it's *no plastic*, just good PAT paper with the emulsion facing away from the seam. If you have the money-- use a Russ Bassett/Visuflex media cabinet---these come in several sizes but they're made for storing sheet and roll film. baked enamel, steel film cabinets built like a tank....otherwise use hollinger type boxes.

I don't know what to tell you--it's 50/50 as I see it, but when and if it happens...man, you're gonna be steamed. That crap prints like an amoeba stuck onto your negative and you can't get it off....you'll be looking at maybe a couple of hundred sleeves and the rest look okay, but then there's this one section of one page, and man....oh boy..... you'll start depleting your budget . forget the film you need , forget the paper...no, this year we're gonna rehouse every stinkin' negative in mylar d.....then, about a week or so into the project, when you're not shooting anything, but every day working 9-5 resleeving film and your eyes are glazed over from staring at the lighttable and these plastic notebook pages are lining the floor...man, you're gonna sit around talking to yourself or your coworkers and be cussing this sleeve out, the one that caused all this woe, but you're gonna be saying someday, someone better appreciate this....

Then again, maybe not. It could be a fluke, who knows?

on that note--my opinions only. not my employers. none of the above is an endorsement of any products.

6-May-2005, 17:23
fwiw--I don't think you'll scratch or abrade a negative as easily with a interleaving type--simple fold over--sleeve or a "fold-lock" type sleeve. Even one made out of polypropylene which will cost about a third of what a Dupont archival Polyester (mylar D) sleeve will. Simply because you are inserting the neg into this and folding it shut--no sliding it in & out. the colection at work--we have some old 8x10s that have been stored for a long time in a very simple way. They used those tall Hollinger boxes, and had about 25 or so negs in hollinger folders inside with a blucore type board spacer to keep them upright. Every few years, on a schedule, they switch those boxes out for new ones and get rid of the old ones as they age....

it doesn't get much better than that really for low-paranoia negative storage. Good paper--you can't go wrong...

Mark Sawyer
6-May-2005, 21:58
FWIW, this just in from Print File:

"Thank you for your interest in the Print File product line. The 810-1HB is made out of polyethylene which is a softer plastic and is slightly milky. The only reason we recommend this plastic for negative storage is becasie it is less likely to scratch the negative due to polyethylene’s soft texture. The 810-2P is a polypropelyne print preserver it is a clearer stiffer plastic. One is not more archival over the other so you can use either one, but polyethylene is more gentle, so it is up to your preference."

Polyethylene vs, polypropylene. Hmmmm... anybody know if shoeboxes are more archival than cigar boxes?

Will Strain
6-May-2005, 22:37
Well hell - now I'm all paranoid about all my negs.

Mark Sawyer
7-May-2005, 09:59
Then we've done our job, Will.