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Soaking The Right Way?

 
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
2355 Posts
Posted 01/04/2016   1:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chasa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Personal opinion: for pre-2000 US stamps and countries that use easy to dissolve gum...

a. soak in cold water - it is much better for the ink
b. don't soak more than 50 stamps in one large bowl of water
c. change water after each bowl is done
d. place face-down to dry on black and white pulpy paper [US tax instruction booklets are best, 2nd best the non-color pages of NY Times]
e. when still damp to the touch, place between the pages of a pulpy old book [available in our area for 1$ a bagfull on the last day of library booksales, you can also get some value by reading the books. Usually keep 100 pages between stamp placements. Write down the page numbers on the book covers.
f. stack books on the floor and place weight on the stack [penny jars are perfect]
g. let sit for at least 48 hours
h. open books and sort piles of stamps

Stamps with persistent sticky gum you do not want anyway - trade them away, on-paper.

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United States
4678 Posts
Posted 01/04/2016   1:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add kirks to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
RIK:

I'm late to the party, but there are MANY threads here about soaking. I recommend a quick SEARCH using the button at the top of this page.

Here's a thread I prepared http://goscf.com/t/16056

But the best advice probably comes from member Rod222 -- you can put his name in the search field.

KirkS
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1937 Posts
Posted 01/04/2016   3:46 pm  Show Profile Check TheArtfulHinger's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add TheArtfulHinger to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Over my Christmas vacation I soaked off about a KG of worldwide kiloware. When doing that much, I use a speed method that enables me to soak off about 3 ounces (~300 stamps) per hour. Basically I get all the stamps off paper and into a rinse bowl before placing any of them in a drying book. I pick up 30-40 or so stamps at a time, and the excess water can be squeezed and shaken right out of them. The top stamp sticks to my thumb as I draw it across the pile, and I just plop them down in neat rows, one after the other. You do NOT want to use this method if there are pairs, blocks, or other multiples that you want to keep intact as they will likely become separated. There is probably a slightly higher risk of damaging stamps using this method (I estimate 1-2%), so removing any stamps you truly care about to do separately and more deliberately might not be a bad idea either. But if you've got a lot of common stamps with duplicates to soak off, there's no faster way that I've found.
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Valued Member
United States
131 Posts
Posted 01/07/2016   10:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add qaman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I use warm water and put in about 30 stamps,let them set for 10 minutes and start removing from the water the ones that the paper came off. As I do these more come off and then I pull out the last ones. If they don't come off the paper I put them in the next batch with new water. I bought two drying books and they work great. Always enjoy soaking stamps it is very relaxing.
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Valued Member
Canada
35 Posts
Posted 07/12/2016   2:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kinibo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just to add my own comment here (and not to derail the thread), I always find that my soaked and separated stamps come away crispy once they've dried. Is anyone familiar with this issue?
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Pillar Of The Community
United Kingdom
689 Posts
Posted 07/12/2016   3:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Ringo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Me, Kinibo. When newly dried they are crispy, sometimes curly too. After a while (days or weeks, I'm not sure) they seem just to become normal again. It's a strange business!
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New Member
United States
4 Posts
Posted 08/29/2016   6:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add sophie65 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
1.) trim close and remove any stamps on colored paper which may bleed and stain
2.) put stamps (up to around 100) in container and add warm/hot water
3.) let it sit for about 5 minutes, and then empty all of the "glue water"
4.) add more warm/hot water and let sit for 5 minutes
5.) if water is not clear, drain and repeat step 4
6.) when water is clear, remove envelope paper using long, spade-tipped tongs
7.) transfer stamps to second container of clear hot water, using spade tipped tongs *SEE BELOW
8.) remove stamps, one at a time to edge of container so that excess water can drain away
9.) when edge of container is completed surrounded by stamps, place them on waxed paper sheet in telephone directory
10.) stamps should not touch each other or overlap on waxed paper sheet
11.) when all of the stamps have been soaked, carefully close up the telephone book and weight it down.
12.) in several hours the stamps should be dry enough to transfer to a stock book, glassine envelope, or album


family tradition here.
3 and 4, make this 10-15mn each
6 and 7. fingers. Thumb on face, and index on back, caressing the gum away. Old italians need 20-60 passes of gentle rubbing. Most stamps do not need any touch, the index will say it's sticky free.
9. blotting paper. 2-3 sheets between each layer of stamps. To max space, I line the stamps by size. I start rows of regular smalls on the left, and I line the landscapes one to the right. - place over plastic protector, and add 6-10lbs of weight (2 encyclopedias)
let dry for 2-5 days. Transfert to mass market paperbacks - about 20 stamps every 40 pages. Stack and weight for 1 week minimum (or a couple months/years ;-) )

BEFORE transfer to paperbacks I do add one step of sorting. I currently fast sort into "old american, latino countries, new americans" and a couple more sets depending on the batch I was sorting. It speeds up the later sorting... AND it helps stamps dry flat properly as new thick stamps will dry in another chapter of the book from 1800s thin stamps.

I will add steps 3-4-5 as I've been doing differently, moving stamps instead of draining the container.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
535 Posts
Posted 08/29/2016   6:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add alub to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would never dry my stamps in old paperback books. These books have paper with a high acid content. Pressing a damp stamp in those pages will transfer some of that acid onto your stamp. This can cause the paper to degrade over time. Ditto for newspaper.

I dry my stamps on a clean cotton towel. Yep, they get all curly. When they are completely dry, I put them in an album or stock-book. they flatten out pretty quickly.
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Valued Member
United States
33 Posts
Posted 10/13/2017   08:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add AR8Jason to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Since I am soaking literally a million stamps off, my method is likely different. Since a child I have soaked stamps off a few at a time. Since buying one million bulk stamps at an estate sale, I have tried to "increase production."
I started with a few hundred stamps at a time and now am up to thousands at a time.

First, the bags are presorted, with an odd "orphan" or two in the batch. An "orphan" is one that got in the wrong bag.

I give them a quick scan to see any orphans or unique stamps, those of a higher potential value, interesting cancellations, etc. as I put them in a large plastic bowl. I make sure that I pull any that will bleed on to the others, i.e. 4 cent pink/purple Lincolns and do them in smaller batches.
Second, I fill the bowl with what amounts to thousands of stamps, I have not actually counted how many stamps a batch holds, but when bagging them, I result a count in the thousands.
Third I add water and let soak, stirring with my hand a bit until they naturally come off the paper. A few need help and you will find a few that have a staple through them or added glue.
When separated, I put the loose stamps in a second bowl of clean water and trash the paper. I work them until I have only clean stamps in the second bowl. I drain the bowl and add clean water a second time and often a third time, to make sure there is no glue residue left.
I then take a pizza pie pan and layer the stamps in the pan until I have a "pie" several layers thick and then take them inside (the other has been done outside) and place on drying racks setting or cardboard. The racks are stainless or the like so as not to rust. The racks set on cardboard under a ceiling fan and they dry for hours. As they begin to dry, become flaky, I pick up the pie and allow the loose to fall away so the others will dry quicker. I leave the stamps under the fan and on the cardboard for a couple of days to make sure they are good and dry. If any stamps remained stuck to another, I put in a small bowl and quick soak them. Very few in thousands will continue to stick.
I store in loose bulk until I get time to sort them. Some times in a large plastic tub, some time in thin walled cardboard soda boxes. I am always sorting by type and placing in small snack size ZipLock bags. It is there they get their flatness back. I fit about 1,500 stamps per row in the bag. With the smaller size stamps, I can fit two rows, or 3,000 stamps per bag. I keep an eye out when sorting for interesting cancellations, Perfins, and damaged stamps. I bag them separately. The damaged stamps are kept for "art projects."
On days I can set aside to do this, I do several batches. On days I can't I sort and stack them in my spare time, listen to the TV or at the coffee shop listening to the "old men" talk. I have bagged over half a million stamps this way.
I find if you are using a large amount of water, change the water a few times, not allowing them to set too long, you don't have to sort out the colored papers. Since I am not dealing with high value stamps in the bulk washing, I don't worry if a few get damaged, but the bleeding from that isn't a major issue. I target the colored paper first when plucking them from the first bowl.

Remember, I am working with a million stamps, so my technique may not be for everyone. I am more than half a century old, and doing them 30 at a time is not an option. I wouldn't live long enough to see the project done.

I would stay far away from putting them against acid paper like old books, news print or phone books. News print and phone book printing have the other issue of bleeding their ink on to your stamps.
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Valued Member
United States
163 Posts
Posted 10/13/2017   11:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ddaann to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Go to subway stamps web site and search for drying book. These are great and easily hold 200 or so stamps at a time. put a weight on top overnight and most of the stamps will shake right out dry and flat in the morning.
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Valued Member
Bulgaria
51 Posts
Posted 11/02/2017   3:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add filkata to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Can you share some experience with a soaking novice - I read somewhere that soaking with cold water is preferable to hot water as it runs less risk of the ink running, but I see quite a few of you mentioning using hot water. is it all the same?
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Pillar Of The Community
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Australia
3632 Posts
Posted 11/03/2017   03:36 am  Show Profile Check KGV Collector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add KGV Collector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The bestest way for me and soaking stamps off paper is my wife started doing it all. That really was a great day!
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Australia
26784 Posts
Posted 11/03/2017   04:04 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I read somewhere that soaking with cold water is preferable to hot water as it runs less risk of the ink running, but I see quite a few of you mentioning using hot water. is it all the same?


Everyone has their own personal preference.
You will come to your own, after soaking say 500.

I prefer to use cold water only, patience is the key, possibly 20 minutes will see most gum Arabic float off, a quick rinse and into the sandwich dryer.
A week there, and out they come, flat as a Halibut.

Avoid : ANY Netherlands Indies, any on coloured envelopes.

1970's -1990's Romania, (some) have gum that resists everything.
I have learn't from a colleague a substance that will remove, still not able to source from my chemist.
I shall report when I do.

All bets are off with "self adhesive" some come off, some disintegrate.

30 or so at a time, is my target.

TIP:
Only soak those that you want to mount. Why waste time soaking thousands of "duplicates" ? By doing so you may damage valuable postmarks , aux markings etc.






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Edited by rod222 - 11/03/2017 04:09 am
Pillar Of The Community
United States
535 Posts
Posted 11/03/2017   10:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add alub to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hot water works faster, but inks from colored paper are more likely to bleed.

Cold water takes a lot longer, and you are less likely to have colored paper bleed.

Anything that looks like it might bleed, should be soaked separately.

It can also help to change the water if you see the color of the water change.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1237 Posts
Posted 11/03/2017   11:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Trainwreck to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've never understood the need for a drying book, and then waiting an awfully long time (to me) for the stamps to dry. I transfer the newly soaked stamps to a dry towel after I've blotted the little puddles of water from them. If any start to curl, then I place them on a flat surface (my desk) with my watermark tray on top of them, occasionally uncovering and repositioning them to let air circulate around them. The key is to allow air to circulate; this speeds up the drying process. However, drying them too fast (for example, utilizing active heating) encourages curling. In less than two hours the stamps are ready for identification and mounting into an album. This works for me for about 100-200 stamps--more stamps will take longer to get through the soak (and a bigger towel).

Robert
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Edited by Trainwreck - 11/03/2017 11:47 am
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