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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A close friend owns a bar and had a line of screen printed shirts (8 screens) around ten years ago. When the man who did the screen printing passed away, his widow gave our friend the screens, which he stored in a damp storage room. Although the screens and frame are covered in layers of dirt and mold, the screens don't appear to be damaged-there are very few pinholes or other marks that would need to be masked-and he wants us to begin printing the line of shirts again. I have hesitated to attempt cleaning the screens as don't want to damage or remove the old emulsion while cleaning the grime and mold off. I have read some tricks like taking them to the car wash, vegetable oil, mineral spirits, etc..., but I am not looking to reclaim them just make them useable. What would be the safest way to clean them without damaging the design?
 

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10 year old emulsion..hhhmm.. that can be a tricky one...try press wash on a small corner of the screen and see if the emulsion is still holding up..if not it's time to kick a hole in the screens because old emulsion can be a real pain to wash out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I noticed while searching for any old posts that this obviously isn't something very common...and very tricky. I will try that (not the kicking part-yet) tonight. I already warned him we may have to start from scratch, but if we can save these screens it means we could be printing them asap and save some time and money. Redesigning and burning eight screens is more of a hassle than using a little elbow grease (hey maybe that'll work! lo) not to mention less cost effective. I will let you know how it goes!
 

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Well I finally got around to trying out some suggestions and figured I'd send you some before, during, and after pics so you all can see what kind of a hot mess I'm talking about. This has now become not only a labor of love but a mission to see if it can be done! The owner of the screens has some sentimental attachments, and since we haven't finished our light box and wash out sink we figured what the heck...if it works we are out a small amount of money for cleaners and some elbow grease! I'm going to try to upload some before pics, and I'm working on the during. I am trying two different methods to remove the years-old mask that has become an organic component the astronauts might encounter on some far-off planet, and I am finding that letting goo gone disolve it then gently scrape it-then repeating and repeating...you get the picture. I'm on a mission now!
 

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Well I finally got around to trying out some suggestions and figured I'd send you some before, during, and after pics so you all can see what kind of a hot mess I'm talking about. This has now become not only a labor of love but a mission to see if it can be done! The owner of the screens has some sentimental attachments, and since we haven't finished our light box and wash out sink we figured what the heck...if it works we are out a small amount of money for cleaners and some elbow grease! I'm going to try to upload some before pics, and I'm working on the during. I am trying two different methods to remove the years-old mask that has become an organic component the astronauts might encounter on some far-off planet, and I am finding that letting goo gone disolve it then gently scrape it-then repeating and repeating...you get the picture. I'm on a mission now!

Very messy indeed. Goodluck to your mission.. LOL :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the moral support! If the rain lets up I will be back at it tonight and have some more pics. My elbows are hurting from all that elbow grease last night lol. The masking is coming off-but so is the skin on my fingers...but I love a good challenge!
 

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Unless there's something in the images that I can't see that's intricate, it's kind of hard for me to imagine spending any time trying to salvage screens like those. The frames are crappy miter jointed, the mesh is likely not very tight, and the art looks to me to be simple text and shapes that shouldn't be difficult to reproduce. After spending all that time trying to salvage what may very well be unusable, you'd have to start over again anyway. I'd have handed the frames back to your friend and told him that if he was interested in saving them for "old time's sake" to have at it with some water and detergent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The problem with starting from scratch is that we are going to build our light box and don't have the plumbing installed yet so we are unable to start from scratch at this time. The money from these shirts is to pay for the rest of my materials. We have only been doing heat press designs and are waiting for my tax id so we can got to the local flea markets, so money has been tight. I am only cleaning two screens now so that I don't waste my time on all of them in case this doesn't work out. My husband is building the light box this week and installing the plumbing for my washout tub too so if I have to start from scratch it will just take me an extra week or so. It looks like the emulsion is intact so far and the designs haven't been destroyed so now it's just getting as many impurities out of them before we try the ink!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm right there with ya-I've used Awesome Orange on the frames. I spot tested it on a test screen and it may have pulled some emulsion out so I switched to screen cleaner. Goo Gone desolves the old masking rather quickly and then it just scrapes off. It has poured here all weekend so I haven't gotten back out to finish the two I'm working on but should have pics in the next day or so. Major improvements!
 
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