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  #1  
Old 09-04-2007, 08:09 AM
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Default Rubber Stamp Question

Is there a life expectancy for a rubber stamp...the red rubber kind? I have one that dates back to 1983 it was my first purchase...a dogs paw print. The rubber is very hard and dry...Is there any certain special way to take care of stamps? I use water and a stamp scruffy to clean my stamps. I have not used baby wipes...should I be doing that? I use ink and pigment and have used chalk pads. I have staz-on but have not used it as I thought it required special solvent to clean but do not know if that is true...
If anyone would know or have suggestions I would appreciate your reply.
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2007, 09:38 AM
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In the September/October issue of The Rubber Stamper, there is a lengthy letter from a stamp manufacturer about the care of rubber stamps. Unfortunately, he doesn't address your "dried stamp" problem, but he does caution against using any petroleum-based products, oils and lanolin (used in some baby wipes) because oil and rubber do not mix. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) actually attacks rubber and can destroy it over time.

He also mentions not leaving the rubber exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat or cold.

Apparently, there is also a question as to the use of certain inks with photopolymer stamps although he doesn't elaborate.

I'm not sure this was especially helpful to your particular situaton, but they are probably good guidelines for us all to keep in mind.
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  #3  
Old 09-04-2007, 11:49 AM
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I addition to the great advice offered by Stampoor, I offer these tidbits I've learned over the years.

Baby wipes are acceptable for cleaning stamps, but they need to be alcohol free (in addition to lanolin free) as alcohol will kill your rubber by drying it outand making it brittle causing it to crack & crumble. For this reason you should NEVER apply alcohol inks to your rubber stamps! Use those inks for backgrounds & the co-ordinating dye inks or a solvent based ink for stamping any images.

Many commercial stamp cleaners contain a "conditioner" that helps to keep the rubber soft, but over time I've found that my oldest stamps can get hard. (especially the stamp wheels) I spray on a conditioning stamp cleaner and let them sit for awhile then gentle scrub them with a soft toothbrush while rinsing under warm water. This not only softens the rubber a bit (it doesn't return the rubber to it original flexibility, but I don't know of anything that will) it can also remove old ink from the negative spaces in the image that don't always get cleaned completely during regular cleaning with a stamp scrubbing pad.

Solvent inks like StazOn can be cleaned of most of the ink if you clean them immediately after stamping with regular stamp cleaning solution & a stamp scrubbing pad . If the ink has sat on the rubber long enough to start drying, you will need a solvent ink cleaner like the one StazOn offers. The solvent cleaner will also remove some of the inks left behind by regular cleaners. "Cleaning" a stamp means getting the ink off both the stamping surface and out of the negative spaces so the image stamps clearly (dried ink in tiny negative spaces of an image can cause the image to loose detail &/or leave lil blobs when stamped), it doesn't mean that your rubber won't have perminent ink stains. Some inks stain by nature (solvent) and even some dye ink colors will perminently stain rubber no matter what cleaner you use. I've heard of folks applying sealers to their wood mounts to limit the staining that is part & parcel with stamping. I figure the more stained the wood, the more I obviously love that stamp!

As for the "new" clear polymer stamps...the jury is still out for me. I have some older ones that have turned yellow & lost some flex, but still stamp ok. I have newer ones that don't seem to "hold" dye ink as well as my rubber stamps. (The ink looks like I spritzed it with water when I stamp with these images.) The older stamps were originally wood mounted, so I re-mounted them on loop tape. The newer ones are cling mounts. I think the new polymers are less porous than the older ones or rubber & that keeps them from holding the ink until they've been used enough to wear some "tooth" into the smooth surface. (new rubber sometimes does this too, but rubbing the stamp across some fun foam seems to scuff up the surface enough w/o hurting the image)

Maybe one of the vendors here as more info as to what inks work best with these "new & improved" stamps & how to safely clean them. I would recommend not using solvent inks & cleaners with the polymer stamps until we learn more.

HTH
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Old 09-04-2007, 12:37 PM
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Default more clear stamp info

Talking about polymer stamps got me wondering, so I did a search to learn more about this type of stamp.

Blockhead Rubber Stamps had great info about how to use, clean & store polymer stamps with many tidbits that I found not only useful but pertinent to our earlier posts.

http://www.blockheadstamps.com/Techn...ar-stamps.html

There are inks & cleaning methods that are fine for rubber but not polymer & visa versa, so this info is rather important if one has both types of stamps.

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Old 09-04-2007, 03:49 PM
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Wow good information...I hope to see if I can get that magazine...I do not always get to places where they sell it...I used to laugh and say I live behind the Redwood Curtain but that is not nearly as rural as I am now. I cannot control the temperature of my art space so I just have to live with the reality that stamps get old. I have not apparently been abusing them or using the wrong products on them. That is good to know. Thanks so much for the information sharing!
I really appreciate it!
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  #6  
Old 09-04-2007, 04:20 PM
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Default mineral oil?

I think I read in a RubberStampMadness article in the past few months to a year (?) that soaking the rubber part of the stamp in a very shallow layer of mineral oil can help recondition it. Anyone else remember that, or I am making this up by mistake???

Kate
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  #7  
Old 09-04-2007, 06:24 PM
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Jenna, Thanks so much for the link to the information about clear stamps vs. rubber and their care. I printed it out for future reference -- because my brain's memory microchip doesn't work as well as it used to.
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  #8  
Old 09-04-2007, 11:57 PM
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You are most welcome!

Finding answers to stamping related questions/problems & doing web research are 2 things I really enjoy.

Now to see if I can find out more about the mineral oil for stamp reconditioning question.
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2007, 12:48 AM
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Alas, either I'm not asking the right question or there just isn't much info on how to recondition rubber stamps out there in webby land.

All I could find was a posting on a Stanford U message board from a man wanting to recondition an antique rubber stamp set he'd acquired. This is the advice he was offered:

"The best solution I've found is to apply glycerine heavily to the rubber portion of the stamp & put it in a plastic bag in a warm (not hot) area for a couple of days. Works best with clean stamps, I generally use a toothbrush & dish soap to clean mine up, but you might need a solvent based cleaner if they are gunked up with oil or solvent based inks."

and was signed "Andi".

I edited out some inconsequential info, but this was the bulk of it. As to where to buy plain glycerine? I know it's used to make some soaps, so it may be displayed with the soap making supplies in a craft store & eaily found on line. Come to think of it...it's also an ingredient of Versamark Watermark ink pads (that's the clear ink in the black case from Tsukineko) and now that I think about it, I've used it to lighten inks stains on rubber before and it did seem to leave the rubber looking good & ready to stamp again. I discovered this when using a stamp that had been stamped in permenent black ink, cleaned using regular stamp cleaner that left the rubber stained, then used it with the Versamark pad. My pad got a shadow of the image on it and my stamping had a grayish cast to it from the black ink. I've since done this deliberately on an old V pad, let the ink sit for awhile then scrubbed the rubber under warm water with a tooth brush to get the ink out of the small places. I just hadn't done recently enough to remember without the above reminder.

I'm still wondering about the mineral oil reconditioning, as Stampoor pointed out the artical that states that many oils can damage rubber. Hopefully somebody out there in RSC land will know more about this and share the info.
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  #10  
Old 09-05-2007, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inky Whiskers View Post
As to where to buy plain glycerine?
Glycerine is available at any pharmacy and is used in lots of personal care products like hand lotions, etc. It's what I've always heard, too, using it to recondition tired rubber stamps.

I disagree with the author of the rubber stamping article in not using oil on rubber. For a while there was banter on various Yahoo groups about using olive oil on rubber to clean them. I tried it, and it works wonders. I even use olive oil on my new black rubber to get rid of the coating sometimes left in the vulcanizing process. Doing this allowed beautiful first impressions with solid images. It doesn't do anything harmful to the stamps I've tried it on.
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