Sunday, April 8, 2012

Wood Glue?

Cleaning your Records with Wood Glue:
(1) Go to your local hardware store.
(2) Do not make eye contact with salesman.
(3) Buy large quantities of wood glue; do not discriminate between brands.
(4) Pay cash. Crisp bills only.
(5) Do not use coupons.
(6) Shove old ladies aside on your way out of store.
(7) Run directly home.
(8) Unplug phone and microwave.
Now you are set.

What? You want real instructions? Ok then, be that way:
(1) Choose record that seems it spent part of its life in a dust storm.  Things that wood glue can help with are pops and clicks that are deep within the vortex of your record grooves.
(2) Put on turntable.
(3) Set the turntable to spin, but do not apply needle.
(4) Apply wood glue.  Start from the center grooves making certain not to get any on the paper label. Work outwards using generous amount of glue. Do not get hypnotized by swirling white and black lines.
(5) Use a side of card stock paper, cardboard, or crappy album cover that you never want to see again, to smooth out glue to totally cover record.
(6) Power down your turntable and place record somewhere to dry for a few hours. Make sure to keep the record level while it dries.  Under a ceiling fan has worked well for us.
(7) Determine if glue is dry.  Clear glue = dry, white glue = wet.  Fear the white glue.
(8) When glue is totally dry begin peeling up an edge of the glue - this can be tricky at first, but you'll get it.  Once you get it going keep peeling.  Try to peal the whole thing in one go; practice on an orange and try to get the entire rind of as one piece (ok, that wasn't a real instruction).
(9) Make sure record is clean from any remaining glue.  You might need to use a cloth to remove any thin or cracked glue fragments.
(10) PLAY!

Thanks to Joe's Record Paradise for posting this mesmerizing video of a demo of how it's done, including a before and after listen to the glued record.  These VVers were convinced.  At least we could try it on a 15 cent record to start with, in case of impending doom.  Doom, however, has not ensued.  So far, we have experimented on only three records with mixed results, none of doom however, and all records remain playable.

First trial: Fat Boys debut album.  This thing was full of crackles and pops and some skippage.  The result was definitely a more clean sound with only very minor white noise; skippage remained, but that was expected.  "Human Beat Box" was unharmed and vastly improved.

Trial two: Queen II.  As discussed in our blog for this album, found here; when played at high volumes, the sound just got fuzzed out.  Maybe it could be from years of junk in the grooves (most likely not, but worth a try). Maybe some wood glue could help?  It sounds a bit crisper now, but still doesn't hold up well on high volume.  Could just be a poor fidelity slab.  In this case the VVers are on the lookout for a nice remastered edition.

Ravi Shankar Improvisations has absolutely no sheen to it and no scratches.  Give it a spin and it is full of hisses and pops.  Wood glue result: nothing.  Seems as if dull vinyl = poor quality vinyl.  Sadness.  Perhaps this  one was made from recycled tires?

So we are batting .500 with the wood glue.  I mean really, we have only tried three records; a pretty measly sample group.  It did give positive results to the one album we knew it could fix - Fat Boys.  Happy birthday.

It's fun to play with glue.  Try it and see for yourself.

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