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Removing Blu-tack

Posted by Mark W  
Mark W
Removing Blu-tack
May 03, 2006 03:20PM
Can anyone recommend a solvent for removing old hard/semi dried Blu-Tack (aka Adhesive Putty, Rock-Tack etc) from Mineral specimens?

It would be better if the solvent was commercially avaialable and non toxic.

Have tried isopropanol to no great affect.

Any hints/helps greatly received!
Re: Removing Blu-tack
May 03, 2006 03:58PM

Have you tried using another piece of blue tack and rubbing them together? They usually stick and come off that way but I'm not sure about older blue-tack.

Re: Removing Blu-tack
May 03, 2006 04:32PM

I got some months ago a nice epidote crystal from Prince of Wales, Alaska, with some old blue-tack attached. After trying as Barry suggest without any success, I tried with some commercial acetone and after a few hours, the epidote was clean with no traces of blue-tack.

I have also tried with Red Cloud wulfenites (this time the blue-tack had hardened with time). The acetone softened it and I was able to take it out without risking the fragil wulfenites.

I just hope it will work with your specimens as well.

Felix Garcia
avatar Re: Removing Blu-tack
June 03, 2006 10:35PM
I have a FAR FROM IDEAL solution. blue tack dissolves, sort of, in lamp oil.

Needless to say you should not emerge porous specimen in lamp oil, but I had good results on quartz and cassiterite specimen.

Emerge the sample in lamp oil and let it soak for about 15 minutes. Then you should be able to brush off the tack with a soft painters brush while keeping the sample emerged. Then wash the sample thouroughly with dishwashing detergent to get rid of the fat.

This is truly a last resort after the 'rub it of with more blue tack'method failed.

avatar Re: Removing Blu-tack
June 05, 2006 12:29PM
I have had success removing blue tack using mineral turps
Re: Removing Blu-tack
June 15, 2006 07:31AM
Some opinions:

1. Removable (smiling smiley) tack is a MUCH better way of temporarily affixing specimens than glue. I get very irritated by micro/thumb specimens of 'mineral A' that have been glued in such a way that the tiny pocket of rarer, uglier 'mineral B' has been left not only out of sight but drenched in glue. If they had been tacked instead, there would have been some hope of retrieving B, in many cases.

2. Real Blu-Tack (nearly neutral pale blue-grey colour) is MUCH better than strongly coloured tacks. It is also much better than plasticine, window putty or various dark grey tacks that I have encountered. These have a very high oil content, and the oil tends to leak into the specimen, giving it a permanent wet look which is almost impossible to remove. Blu-Tack does this to a much smaller extent.

3. Rolling and dabbing with another piece of not-too-old-and-dry, not-too-warmed-up Blu Tack is the best way of removing 95% of the tack on your specimen. This is also a great way to remove crumbs and fluff from specimens, to keep them photogenic.

4. To get rid of the final scraps, I use a modification of Maurice's method. I use a drop or two of light bike/sewing machine oil, and mix it into the tack with a soft toothbrush to produce a thin, oily sludge. Then I add a dribble of washing-up liquid and mix that in. The resulting mixture emulsifies with water and can be washed off.

Of course, wherever possible, try to avoid using tack on fibrous, hackly, porous or cavernous surfaces, since you will never be able to extract all of it.
Re: Removing Blu-tack
January 31, 2007 07:26AM
Please, someone know how to produce blu-tack or where I can find out about that?.. I traed patents but I didn't find. Sorry, I know this forum is not about that.
Re: Removing Blu-tack
February 01, 2007 05:26AM
Hi all!

I use tack for several years(I paint historical miniatures and tack is one of the key materials.)I use Yellow tack but the philosophy is the same with every tack.

If you want to remove tack use a "ball" of bigger amount of tack and rub it with the piece of tack you want to remove.Tack has higher affinity with tack than anything else!

I always use tack to set my minerals on bases,instead of glues(silicon,Cyanoacrylic,epoxy putties etc.).Tack is REMOVABLE mechanically WITHOUT the use of hard tools(knives,needles etc.),which can fatally damage even hard specimens(breaking),not talking about softer ones that can be scratched!

To remove Tack,Epoxy Putty,Cyanoacrylic glue(super glue) etc.,one should use pure Acetone.Cyanoacrylic is dissolved in a few minute,Tack and Epoxy need much more time(days)-for Epoxy you should need to work mechanically as well!Here I'm talking about degenerated Tack(when you have used other kind of solution to remove it!)-NO NEED to remove tack in normal condition with solutions!BE CAREFULL!Pure aceton will dissolve the glue,but maybe your specimen as well!

And,since we've opened a new topic-how do we present our specimens on bases:

This is my opinion:I always try my specimens to be stably set on a base,so that a vibration does not remove them and cause them to fall and damage!

BUT!I do not glue them or use any material that could hurt the specimen.I prefer to use hard paper boxes,which are "dressed" with foam(soft sponge like material) and just put the specimen inside.The specimen is free to move in the borders of the box,then I put the box insinde the bookcase and stabiliase it with tack on the bottom.Result:The box doesn't move,only the specimen can move,but only inside the opened box walls,that are dressed with foam and doesn't get damaged!If I want even more stable specimen,I sew the specimen with a little thread on the foam(the foam is well glued on the inside of the box!).

This way,my specimens are visible and safeand I can move them when ever I want,just closing the box,and rotate it to leave the tack.Then I remove the tack with some ball of tack and take them to a show(maybe).This way the specimen is always(cross your fingers on that :))just in the condition it came to me!

In case you wonder,I don't buy the boxes,I make them myself,cutting hard paper and gluing the foam inside.

I hope I helped and I would love to hear other tips on presenting safely our specimens!

Re: Removing Blu-tack
February 04, 2007 05:25PM
I have used blue tack for at least 15 years and am still re-using some of the older material. It softens quite easily with warmth and as some of you have said, removing it is like removing gum. Just rub tack with tack. The last time I tried to get some the supplier was out and couldn't get more from the manufacturer. Hope some one comes out with a new batch. I have used poster tack but it doesn't have the same quality as it looses it's grip when it gets old, sort of like some of us upper middle aged folks. I use the smaller wall tiling pieces for bases. You can get them in various colors or just plain white and they can range in size from 2cm up to 5cm. Wes
Re: Removing Blu-tack
February 06, 2007 01:05PM
For fragile specimens try a 1:1 mixture of commercially available acetone and hydrocarbon (for example lighter fuel or cleaning gasoline). Soak specimen in mixture for 24 hours, then wash with fresh mixture. Be careful, this mixture tends to remove fat also from your skin.

Re: Removing Blu-tack from wooden doors
June 27, 2007 08:33AM
I need to remove old sticky Blu tack from wooden cupboard doors. I have a sneaky suspicion that Acetone will harm the vanish. Does anyone know what else to use.
Thank you
Re: Removing Blu-tack
July 16, 2007 01:08AM
To remove blue tac from a varnished door, try spraying it with WD-40. It's a good solvent for many things like old masking tape and sticky labels. Of course try in a spot that doesnt show first.

John Passaneau
Harry Shaw
Re: Removing Blu-tack
October 21, 2011 01:48PM
I had lumps of hardened Blu Tak on a laptop(my granddaughter had stuck a picture).I sprayed on WD 40 and almost instantly was able to gently remove the adhesive with a paper towel.Thanks for the tip.
avatar Re: Removing Blu-tack
October 21, 2011 02:21PM
A bit off topic but if you are looking for something to fasten very fragile none water soluble minerals to say styrofoam or other porous bases I have found icing sugar to be ideal since it can easily be removed without a trace by placing it in warm water ( or cold but slower).Just mix the sugar with water to whatever consistency you want, mount and let dry. Also good for protecting delicate minerals for shipping ( encased in icing sugar).
avatar Re: Removing Blu-tack
October 21, 2011 04:06PM
"Also good for protecting delicate minerals for shipping ( encased in icing sugar)."

The customs don't really like strange parcels that are filled with a white powder. If you live in a country where people tend to take drastic safety measures before asking, then good luck and have fun ! Well, sugar is be easy to identify, but It certainly won't be that at which they will be thinking in the first place ...
Re: Removing Blu-tack
October 21, 2011 04:08PM
Great suggestions everyone, mindat shows 2 (or 200!) heads are better than one!
Reiner, I really like your suggestion, I'll try it, but I hope you don't have ants! They will find sugar, for sure.
Wes, I use those small squares of tile too, @ $6 for 50 at hobbie Lobbie, (and yesterday, 30% off, cha-ching.)
Marika, On flat surfaces if I can wet them a little, I use a stiff razor blade, it gets right down to the bone. Slip under the item at a very slight angle, sometimes it does surprisingly well.
Re: Removing Blu-tack
October 21, 2011 05:22PM
Mmmmm... Acetone
avatar Re: Removing Blu-tack
October 21, 2011 06:41PM
Hello Peter,

The icing sugar is not in the form of white powder, it is applied as a semi-liquid and then let to dry to a hard crust. You can do it in stages for really fine needles first apply as a thinner liquid then after that dries thicker etc. It is like embedding the crystals in a matrix of sugar. For the powder method I use laundry detergent powder but that is too harsh for some things.
avatar Re: Removing Blu-tack
December 20, 2014 01:28PM
Is mineral tack essentially blu-tack?
Re: Removing Blu-tack
December 20, 2014 06:41PM
Konstantinos Charalampidis Wrote:
> ... I prefer to
> use hard paper boxes,which are "dressed" with
> foam(soft sponge like material) and just put the
> specimen inside.
> ...
> This way, my specimens are visible and
> safeand I can move them when ever I want, ...

Interesting, but not sure about how it show. Can you post a picture?

By the way, hot glue is very very easy to remove with a drop of alcool. No residuals, very little risk of any damages.

Luca Baralis

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