Tape removal method?

I found several nice full boxes of pre-WWII Peters shotshells at the local gun show this morning. One of them has about 6 inches of what seems to be 1" wide masking tape on it. It’s obviously been there a long time and is stuck tight. I can peel back one corner, and the tape seems fairly stiff. I tried saturating the tape with mineral spirits in hopes of softening the adhesive, but that doesn’t seem to be doing much good. As I am sure some here have encountered the same problem, maybe I can get some tips on how the tape can be removed without damaging the box any more than necessary.

Sometimes there is no hope if it has been there too long, but I find the best option is to use a heat gun or blow-dryer to loosen up the adhesive, and then pull it off. The results can be erratic though, with sometimes residue being left behind, or a bright strip of box can look strange if the tape had protected it from light, where the rest of the box faded. In the case of stubborn sticky residue after the tape is removed, I find that a folded over piece of new tape dabbed on it can usually lift the residue without harming the box cardboard.

I know it only from other applicatioons but liquid nitrogen might be the top method here. Just complicated to arrange for.

One ever tried it on tape residue?

There is a product designed to solve this problem and in my experience, it sometimes actually works if I am patient, which is difficult. It is very slippery. Elmer’s Sticky Out, a light-amber-color liquid sold in 4 oz. bottles and maybe other packaging. It “removes Labels, most glues, Stickers, Tar, Oil pint, …”

I got on the internet, and found all sorts of methods for tape removal, including using heat, alcohol, gasoline, baby oil, olive oil, cooking oil, a razor blade, and a few other methods. I definitely did not want to use any type of oil as it would permanently stain the cardboard as oil will not evaporate. What I did was to keep applying mineral spirits to the tape surface with an eyedropper every 15 minutes or so to keep the tape solvent-wet. After about an hour and a half, the tape eventually softened, and I was able to peel off the tape, but I did that very slowly, just a little bit at a time. There was some minor damage to the box, but not objectionable and far preferable to leaving the tape in place. There is still a little adhesive remaining on the box, so I’ll try to remove it later with more treatment using mineral spirits or maybe acetone if the mineral spirits doesn’t do the job. Or possibly using a pat-down with fresh tape as earlier suggested. I still need to glue some areas of the box back together, and I normally use Elmer’s Glue for that.

googone also works

I’m not sure this will be any help to you but at my work when use adhesive tape remover… It comes in a 2x1 inch pad and you rub it on the back of tape, doing this will penetrate the outside of the tape and pass through it and it seems to melt the adhesive. We use this on patients whose skin would tear otherwise if you just pulled the tape off. This is done mainly for elderly patients or those who have a history of years of steroid use. I’m not sure of the name of it, as I’m on vacation but if you haven’t figured out how to remove it by next week, I can find the product and at the least tell you what it’s called or the active ingredient in it.

I believe what you are describing is called Solvo-Plast II. It can be purchased here in Canada at local pharmacies and works very well at removing adhesives. It is designed specifically for use on skin.

I looked up the MSDS for Solvo-Plast II. It is roughly half and half dipropylene glycol methyl ether and naphtha (which is another name for mineral spirits). It may be faster acting and more effective in softening the adhesive than using mineral spirits alone. Might be worthwhile if one needs to remove tape frequently, but it is expensive vs. using mineral spirits alone.

The MSDS for Goo Gone shows that it is nearly 100% mineral spirits (petroleum distillate) with a minor amount of detergent.

The MSDS for Sticky Out shows it is mainly water with some alcohols and detergents.

It would seem that mineral spirits is also known as lighter fluid, white gas, ie Coleman fuel, drip gas and available at various prices depending what it is called. It does work well cleaning cartridges with markings and tape. Patience still helps and test on small area first.

Has anyone tried Bestine? It is sold in art supply stores. I use it to remove self sticking stamps for stamp collecting and it works great. It dries very quick and does not harm the stamps. I’m not sure what is in it the only thing it says on the lable is "contains:
N-HEPTANE " and it is flammable.I don’t have any taped boxes to try it on but I use an eye dropper to apply it.

The MSDS for Bestine says it is 100% n-Heptane. Again, not markedly different from mineral spirits.

Virus-free. www.avast.com

No active ingredient is listed on the package that I have, which is unfortunate… It does say for use on silk and paper tape only.

My wife owned an office-supply store for more than 30 years. Removing tape, price stickers, etc. was a part of every-day life. She prefers a product called “Oops!” that came in a small can much like lighter fluid.

I think it may contain acetone. Test it on something other than a valuable cartridge box first.