Tapeheads Forums


Go Back   Tapeheads Forums > Tape, Taping and Tape Machines > Reel To Reel > Blank Tape

Blank Tape All aspects of blank tape; quality, characteristics, experiences, use and storage.

Universal Capstan Motor
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-21-2008, 07:54 PM
Des-Lab's Avatar
Des-Lab Des-Lab is offline
-
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,599
How To Splice A Tape

No tapehead should not know how to do this. So to make sure that you do, here is a little tutorial I hope you will find helpful.

This exercise is primarily geared towards those of you who want to take two 7" reels and combine them to make a full 10" tape. For those of you who want to do edits to existing recordings or attach leaders, similar techniques apply but with some minor differences. In the case of edits, that's a bit more complex to do than a forum post that only allows 20 hotlinked pictures will allow. In any event, as long as you can master the fundamentals here, it isn't all that much more challenging.

For this demonstration, because I currently don't have two 7" reels that I'm ready to combine, I simply snipped off about 4" of an old Ampex tape I have laying around. But to explain this procedure, it will suffice. The process is identical regardless of tape length.

Ready?

First, here is what you will need to successfully perform this task. First, obviously are two tapes that you wish to combine. Lay out the two ends on opposite sides of where you are working.

Next, you will need a splicing block. For this demonstration, I used an "all in one" unit. It has a cradle for laying the tape ends in, two clamps to hold the tape in place, a rocker arm (marked "cut" and "trim") that controls a total of three razor blades. One is to make a 45 degree cut and the other two are to trim excess splicing tape. Both functions will be explained here shortly. I strongly recommend obtaining one of these types of blocks as they are not only infinitely easier to use for beginners, but easier to use overall than traditional "pro" open face blocks. They are usually cheaper too. Next, you will need a pair of scissors (to cut a section of splicing tape to use) and a cotton tipped swab. The swab will be explained below.


First and foremost, it is important to know where to actually perform the splice; ergo where does the splicing tape go?

It goes on the BACK side of the tape. On back coated tapes (such as the Maxell XLI and Quantegy 457), it's easy to make this determination. The "back" side of the tape will be somewhat coarse in texture and be a dark charcoal gray or black in color. The "front" or 'play' side will be a shade of brown resembling that of a milk chocolate candy bar and much more smooth and polished in appearance. If you are using a non-back coated tape where both sides are the same color, then you will need to unspool a foot or two of tape. The side facing to (or closest) to the reel is the PLAY side. The part facing out away from the reel is the "back" side.

The first step will be to place the two ends of the tape onto the cradle of the splicing block. You want to first cut the ends to a 45 degree angle so that you can line them up for a perfect splice. You can perform this step with the scissors, but I don't recommend it as the ends might not end up in exact identical angle shapes.

Place the two ends of the tape into the cradle. Overlap the ends by about 1" or so on either side. Then put down the clamps to hold them in place. Position the rocker arm away from you into the "CUT" position. Then press the arm down into the tape firmly but not too hard until you feel and hear the slight "crunch" of the blades cutting the tape. Press down too lightly and you may not cut both layers. Press too hard and you could wrinkle the tape.



Now, lift up the rocker arm, brush away the two scrap ends and you are ready to align the actual tapes for splicing.

Next you are ready to align the tapes. Align the two 45 degree ends to where they just meet and barely touch. It can be a bit of a grunt job to make sure they neither overlap nor have any space between them. This is probably the most critical step in the entire process: Overlapping tape will mean a high spot in the tape pack and will, over time deform adjacent layers resulting in a "bump" or dropout on subsequent playback on that point of the pack. Leaving a gap will leave exposed splicing tape that will not only create a sticky spot at the splice, but also, over time, the adhesive will work its way into adjacent layers as well. Likewise, this residue can also get deposited on your heads and guide pins and end up distributed into any other point of the the tape. Or worse...end up in ANOTHER tape if not cleaned off.

Now that you have your tape ends lined up and ready to splice, it's time to break out the splicing tape. Again let me reiterate. Use *ONLY* tape marketed as splicing. There are no substitutes here (not if you want a tape to last anyway). That means no Scotch tape, electric tape, duct tape, or masking tape.

Although there is quarter inch wide splicing tape available out there, I don't like to use it. I prefer to use half inch (1/2") tape for these (which are quarter inch tapes). If using 1/4" splicing tape, it has to be lined up exactly straight and flush on the surface of the recording tape. Any degree of error and you are going to be short on one side and over on the other. I'll show you why I prefer using the size I do.

Next, unspool about an inch or two of splicing tape. Cut it off the master roll with the scissors (it's next to impossible to cleanly tear it by hand). And make sure that you do NOT touch the middle section of it. This is what is going to go on the actual tapes and hold them together. Fingerprint oil or other contaminants will compromise your splice and it could eventually get loose or fail altogether.

Next, you want to apply the splicing tape across the tape. As you will see in the picture, it's a lot easier to do this when you can lay the tape across at a 90 degree angle versus having to match it exactly dead on. You want to try and center it across the 45 degree cut as much as possible. Also try and lay it as straight as possible. Unlike with quarter inch splicing tape, any degree of error isn't as important here short of doing an absurdly sloppy job. And also be sure that the section of splicing tape that goes onto the oxide tape is the part that you did not touch with your fingers when you cut it. Lay it across.

Now here is where the cotton swab comes into play. Because you don't want to touch the splicing tape or the recording tape-particularly at the point of the splice, and no matter how good you think you are, you are not going to get the splicing tape to adhere as good as possible. So, using the cotton swab, press down on the splicing tape until it is firmly adhered, also making sure to 'iron out' any possible air bubbles that might get trapped in there.

Now you are ready to trim and finish your splice.

Now, slide your rocker arm back towards you into the "trim" position. Press it down again exactly like last time when you did your "cut". Do it and lift the rocker arm.

And ṿila! You are finished and have completed your splice.

And this is another reason why you don't need to splice "both sides" of the tape. Done right, the cut will be barely noticeable and you'll be able to record right across it. Here is a view of the "front" side of the completed splice.

And that's pretty much all there is to it. You can now load your second tape onto the big reel and be ready to roll. Attaching leader tape is pretty much the same procedure. But unlike when attaching two tape ends, when splicing on a a leader tape, then I WOULD recommend attaching splicing tape to both physical sides of the tape. But no second 45 degree cut will be necessary.

Hope some of you find this little tutorial helpful. If there is any aspect of splicing (besides editing an existing recording) that I haven't touched on, either myself or another TapeHead would be glad to help.
__________________
Tapeheads.Net Founder (Retired May 30th, 2013)
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 07-29-2008, 07:44 AM
Larry N Larry N is offline
Hopeless 8 Tracker
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Northern Indiana
Posts: 626
That is a neat splicer!

Des Lab,

Where do you get a splicer like that, that is really neat. I have one little reel to reel machine a Wollensak 3000, but I do a lot of 8 track tape splicing. Lots of information in that tutorial. Thanks for the great info. Printed and cataloged it already in a book for future reference.

Larry N.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-29-2008, 08:06 AM
MacGyver
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
huh. i actually have one of those, identical to Des' did'nt exactly know what it was for until now...


Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-29-2008, 05:31 PM
Fast Forward's Avatar
Fast Forward Fast Forward is offline
Feed Your Heads
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Chaska Inbred capitol of Minnesota
Posts: 2,920
Great how to Matt,,Never thought of the cotton swab
__________________
Turning Pristine Equipment into junk One unit at a time
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-06-2008, 09:43 AM
kevinkr kevinkr is offline
Reel Newbie
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Boston Area
Posts: 90
Very helpful.. I'll be looking for one of those splice blocks shortly.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-08-2008, 02:30 AM
TheReeler's Avatar
TheReeler TheReeler is offline
Reeling and railing!
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 1,192
Good guide!

Sometime ago I did a video showing how to add leader tape, so it's shown how to splice an open reel tape:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv5Pfc3SWZ0
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-08-2008, 02:47 AM
niklasthedolphin niklasthedolphin is offline
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 664
I will also greet this thread as splendid.

I can confirm that the described procedure is similar to what I've been doing for more than 30 years.

It works.

"dolph"
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-08-2008, 06:50 PM
utahusker's Avatar
utahusker utahusker is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Saint George, UT
Posts: 369
Where would one acquire one of those blocks?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-08-2008, 06:58 PM
Des-Lab's Avatar
Des-Lab Des-Lab is offline
-
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,599
Well the original version of this post over on Gulag Central was what "officially" cost me my membership there. And what officially sparked the ongoing feud between us (though I maintain the position that the 'battle' "unoffically" started long before).

It was said that by posting that discussion, I was implying a hint for them on my Ebay auction where I was selling them. Although that really wasn't my intent.


Anyway now that I have my own site here, I don't have to imply anything. I'll say it outright. You can get one of those blocks from me. I have about 5 or six of them new/sealed/unused.

PM me if you are interested in one.

Or else you can try your luck on Ebay. I see them crop up every once in a blue moon. But they aren't what I'd call a common and easy to find item.
__________________
Tapeheads.Net Founder (Retired May 30th, 2013)
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-08-2008, 08:44 PM
jbeckva's Avatar
jbeckva jbeckva is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,056
Man that's hi-tech! I used to eyeball it with scotch tape on the reverse side only and trimmed with nosehair scissors. 2 or 3 tries later....
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-10-2008, 04:47 PM
utahusker's Avatar
utahusker utahusker is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Saint George, UT
Posts: 369
pm sent about the splicer
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 12-19-2008, 08:49 AM
speakerman1's Avatar
speakerman1 speakerman1 is offline
dealer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Woodstock VA.
Posts: 2,496
Thanks for showing this. I did get my splicer off ebay. My 1st tries sucked and I hated to do it; but I'm getting better Thanks again.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11-13-2009, 12:57 PM
celticguitar6666's Avatar
celticguitar6666 celticguitar6666 is offline
Damn I lost my mind again
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: New England
Posts: 287
Nice Thanks
Splicing to Pink Floyd You Rule!
Dwight
__________________
Music gives me Solace
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-02-2012, 10:43 AM
jimmy74 jimmy74 is offline
TapeHeads Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5
I'd be needing one of those splicers too, are there any left?

thanks
J.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Des-Lab View Post
Well the original version of this post over on Gulag Central was what "officially" cost me my membership there. And what officially sparked the ongoing feud between us (though I maintain the position that the 'battle' "unoffically" started long before).

It was said that by posting that discussion, I was implying a hint for them on my Ebay auction where I was selling them. Although that really wasn't my intent.


Anyway now that I have my own site here, I don't have to imply anything. I'll say it outright. You can get one of those blocks from me. I have about 5 or six of them new/sealed/unused.

PM me if you are interested in one.

Or else you can try your luck on Ebay. I see them crop up every once in a blue moon. But they aren't what I'd call a common and easy to find item.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-03-2012, 06:42 PM
Listens2tubes's Avatar
Listens2tubes Listens2tubes is offline
Supporter of Reel Analog-resistance is futile!
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,464
ebay is the place to search. I still use a BASF kit I got as a child. Saw one on ebay once...)-(
__________________
__ (6) Otari MX-5050's - a 5050BII-HD donor, Bll-HD and (3) Bll-2, Mk.III-8, Ampex 960 & F-44, Teac A-4010S & A-4070, Revox A77 Mk II, Sony TC102A __
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-06-2012, 08:14 PM
edwyun's Avatar
edwyun edwyun is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: NY/NJ, USA
Posts: 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy74 View Post
I'd be needing one of those splicers too, are there any left?
ditto. looking for one as well.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-07-2012, 04:43 AM
edwyun's Avatar
edwyun edwyun is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: NY/NJ, USA
Posts: 261
funny how they magically appear!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-10-2013, 12:43 PM
bliddel bliddel is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 147
The splicer shown in the first post is a "Gibson Girl" splicer. They are the best for cutting the tape. However, let me add my two cents since I did intercuts routinely for a living.

Remove the "trim" blades from your Gibson girl splicer. You'd forget someday and make a mess. My technique will avoid the need for any "trim".

You also need a splice block. Editall held the patent, and Nortronics also made some under license.

Use the right formulation of splicing tape for the magnetic tape you are splicing. Scotch 41 is for 1/4 inch tapes that are not back-coated. Scotch 620 is for 1/4 inch back-coated tapes like 206, 207, 208, 209, or 250. If you use 41 on back-coated tape, it will stick, but will eventually ooze adhesive.

Wash your hands, thoroughly. If you have acetone, it's a nice touch to finish up with acetone (yes on your bare hands). Dry on a new paper towel.

Cut the tape with the Gibson girl.

Using non-magnetic stainless tweezers, or surgically clean hands, position the tape ends in the splice block. Butt the ends together so that no light is reflected.

Having first pre-cut a strip of splicing tape about 3/4 of an inch, and stuck it to the edge of your clean table, grab one end with your tweezers, and pull it off of the table and place it centered over the splice. Then, use a Q-tip if you wish, but the back of my fingernail always worked just fine. Burnish until all the air bubbles are gone. Now snap the tape vertically out of the block with tension from both ends, and resume. It doesn't hurt to check your work at this point.

With practice, you can literally change what people say - on tape - so precisely that nobody but you will even notice your handiwork. :-)
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-14-2013, 06:40 PM
bliddel bliddel is offline
Serious Tapehead
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 147


I did not remember, but evidently GibsonGirl was a service mark or trademark of Robbins.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 08-18-2013, 05:59 PM
quiberon quiberon is offline
TapeHeads.Net Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 27
Reelspin

Hi,

Attached picture of my tape splicer, "The 'CAT' Automatic Tape Splicer". No sharp blades to handle, pre-cut splicing tape is dispensed from a cassette automatically when the handle is pressed. The tape is cut at a 60° angle by the edges of the tape holders.

Purchased it around 1985-1986 from Future Film Developments in London, along with several cassettes of splicing tape.

The only thing I've had to do to it was replace the pressure pad on the handle that presses the splicing tape onto the tape as it had disintegrated with age.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSC_1137.jpg (55.2 KB, 37 views)

Last edited by quiberon; 08-18-2013 at 06:01 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



For more Tapeheads affiliates and links, see the Links and Resources page.
Would you like to see your company or site here?  CONTACT US


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©2013, Tapeheads.Net. All rights reserved, no use of any element incorporated into this site without express written permission.