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Railfan Technology > Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts

Date: 02/08/21 19:32
Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts
Author: CimaScrambler

I've been working on scanning my dad's slide collection, but have run into a problem.  He stored all his cardboard mount slides (some are Kodachrome from the early 1940s) in the old GAF slide caroulsels which keep the slide in the slot with a thin compression spring.  This has left all of the slide mounts bowed, some only slightly so, but some fairly bent, though not creased.  They won't lay flat on a flatbed scanner platten and so the scanner can't focus on them properly, resulting in really soft images.

Anyone have a trick for flattening out such things so they lay flat and can be scanned on a flatbed scanner?  I'd rather not try the brick on the pile trick for fear of damaging them.
Regards -
- Kit

Kit Courter
Torrance, CA
LunarLight Photography

Date: 02/09/21 03:54
Re: Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts
Author: bob01566

Had a similar issue with some of my Dad's poorly stored slides.

I cut them out of the cardboard, mounted them in plastic mounts to keep the images flat and printed labels for them from the computer files of information saved from the original slide mounts.

It's a lot of work but the pertinant information is saved both with the slide and in the computer.

Hope this helps...


Date: 02/09/21 08:28
Re: Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts
Author: JUTower

I'm in the same boat, and there are far too many slides to individually remount.  Open to other suggestions.  In the meantime, I put a bunch of the warped slides in binder pages but that seems not to make too much of a difference.

Date: 02/09/21 09:11
Re: Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts
Author: BRAtkinson

I haven't encountered that problem in my slide collection, but if I did...

I think I'd take enough slides create a sufficient number of stacks 4 or 5 high, then put a book on top of them.  How heavy of a book, would depend on how badly curled they are.  If they were on the more heavily curled side (as are some of my prints), I'd put them under a book that is on thin slices of wood to act as stilts, keeping the book from completely flattening them.

The issue in cardboard mounts as well as prints is that they have completely dried out.  Simply flattening them all at once would likely break many of the internal bonds in the paper and cardboard.  In slide mounts, there's actually several layers of paper glued together and an all at once flattening would likely break the glue joints.  Getting them moisturized again would be a challenge.  Perhaps if you have big countertop in your bathroom or a small table that would fit in there, I think I'd try a test stack or two (with a smaller book) in the bathroom where there's more humidity to be absorbed over several weeks time.  They didn't curl up in just a couple days...more like months or even years.  Expecting them to flatten quickly is not reasonable.

Or...if one is more of a dare-devil...
use a steam iron or hand held steamer (for wall paper removal) or even a tea kettle and get them warm and moist, then quickly put them under a book for a couple days to dry out.  My biggest concerns would be damaging the film more than has already been done due to their age and storage conditions. 

Date: 02/10/21 07:58
Re: Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts
Author: Rathole

Put them tightly in a Logan file box and set it on its end so that slides are in a stack on top of each other.   I'd remount only as a LAST resort.  Being in their original mounts makes a HUGE difference in their value.  

Date: 02/10/21 11:23
Re: Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts
Author: robj

I assume you are putting them in an Epson scanner holder with the little spring holders and tha tis not sufficient.

Tho I have never switch over, I also have the Plustek slide sanner which holds 4 slides on a strip.  The hold down tabs seem much more likely to keep a slide flat, if you know someone that has one, it would be good to try.

I am quite sure the Plustek would produce a better result as the slides are held quite snuggly, whether it work on on the worst examples?????

Bob Jordan

Date: 02/10/21 17:12
Re: Flattening warped cardboard slide mounts
Author: march_hare

I would suggest getting Pakon plastic slide mounts, and some clean cotton gloves.  Pakon mounts snap together, hold the transparency a little better that the cardboard ever did.

I haven't warped all that many slides, but I've had a bunch come back from publishers after they obviously had been cut out of the original mount so they could be put on a dum scanner for maximum resolution.  Nice to see my pix in print, especially in a coffee table book format, but the slide will not go through a slide projector after that.  Thus, Pakons.  Worked like a charm. 

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