Vinyl Record

Vinyl Discs

Vinyl discs are generally quite stable as a means of sound storage.  Having said this certain precautions do need to be taken to ensure the longevity of the disc.

The most obvious problem is that created by heat sources, including direct sunlight, as the discs easily warp.  Leaving a vinyl disc in direct sunlight for as little as a few seconds can cause irreparable damage.  Also store well away from other heat sources such as storage heaters.

Twelve inch discs often come sealed in shrink wrap plastic.  Although it might be tempting to leave this shrink wrap on the album sleeve for protection it should be removed immediately as the plastic can contract, therefore exerting pressure on the disc and again cause warping.

In ideal circumstances the inner sleeve of twelve inch  discs should be replaced with one made of an acid free material.  The inner sleeve, whether original or an acid free replacement, should be placed in the cover at 90 degrees so that it is not open to the elements.   This will prevent most dirt and dust particles from gaining access to the playing surface.

Seven inch discs, of course, generally come in a paper or cardboard sleeve.  Although this will offer a certain amount of protection from dust and dirt the disc is still open to the environment.  The only practical way to remedy this is to place the disc in an acid free sleeve at 90 degrees within the original cover.

Discs should be stored upright, with dividers every twenty five discs or so to diffuse any lateral pressure and thus reduce the risk of warping.

Never use a commercial liquid disc cleaner on discs.  These cleaners may seem fine at first but not all are ideal for long term use on discs.  Records should be cleaned using a lint free cloth wiping the record in a circular motion the same way as the grooves run when playing on the turntable.  Never wipe the record from the centre out or vice versa as this can damage the grooves.

RISKS  The discs are prone to warping both from the effects of heat (sunlight, radiators etc.) and from plasticity deformation.  The surface is easily scratched and dust is electrostatically attracted by the thermoplastic.

CONSERVATION PRACTICE  Clean using distilled water, to which 5% Synperonic-n may be added, and a natural sponge.  Avoid wetting the label.  Dry naturally or with a clean air jet.

HANDLING  Do not touch the playing surface.  Support the label with the fingers and the outside rim with the thumb.  Cotton or latex gloves are recommended.

STORAGE  Ideally place in acid-free sleeves and store vertically with dividers about every twenty five discs to avoid lateral pressure.

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