Are "acid-free" backing boards truly acid-free? Time to pH test & find out!
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Bill C   
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Glad to see this bumped, as I need to rebag/board all my books

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cojack16-migration   
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question: If one were low on money, could they store their comic books decently using mylite 2's without half back boards? Does putting the comics face down in shoeboxes (without boards but with bags) hurt the spine or something? Just wondering

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toysmania   
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I wouldn't store my comics face down. The probability you damage the book (especially if you're not using boards) when picking the books up is so frightening high.

 

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Twistty1   
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Wow not sure how I missed this the first time... Awesome report... :golfclap:

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BCW Supplies   
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While we at BCW Supplies appreciate the time and effort that went into Mike Schmidt’s extensive study of comic backing boards, we believe that his conclusion is in error.

 

In the images that Mike provides in his article he demonstrates that the coated side of the BCW Comic Backing Board is indeed neutral with a pH level of 7, as are the other brands of comic boards. However, in his test results, Mike states that “the 2-year old E Gerber half-back shows hardly any change in its surface pH, the shiny coating on the 2-year old BCW backing board has broken down & both the front and the back of the board is now acidic.” Consider this; a comic backing board serves only two purposes. One is to act as a stiffener to prevent damage and the other is to absorb the residual acid migrating from the pages of the comic book (this is the reason that it is recommended that you change your bags and boards every 3 to 5 years). If the 2-year old E. Gerber half-back shows hardly any change in its surface pH as Mike has aptly demonstrated, then it isn’t absorbing any residual acid that migrates from the pages of the comic book.

 

Also in the images that Mike provides, he demonstrates that the uncoated side of the new BCW Comic Backing Board is acidic with a pH level of 4. Further, he demonstrates that the pH level of the 2-year old BCW Comic Backing Board is acidic, also with a pH level of 4. Mike states in his conclusion that “these boards will actively contribute, on a molecular level, to the decay of your comic book from the moment they're placed inside the bag.” However, the fact that the pH level of the uncoated side of the BCW Comic Backing Board remains constant is evidence that the acid within the solid bleached sulfate board does not migrate to the comic book. Mike’s assertion that “it would be safer for your comic book to store them in a bag without a coated backing board” is absolutely false. Since there would be nothing to absorb the residual acid, your comic book would deteriorate more quickly.

 

One of the controls that appear to be lacking in this study is the description and/or images of the comic books used. Consider the fact that comic books can be in various degrees of deterioration depending on what materials were used and when the book was produced. Are we left to assume that Mike used 4 copies of the same comic book for his study? Another control that is missing from this study is the time period. Mike states that the E. Gerber half-backs and the BCW brand used boards are 1 1/2 – 2 years old. Is that 2 years for the E. Gerber half-backs and 1 1/2 years for the BCW Comic Backing Boards or vice versa? Is Mike implying that the boards have been used for the same period of time as the reader is left to assume?

 

We at BCW Supplies believe that Mike has gathered some useful data, but the study is lacking some scientific controls and does not support his conclusion.

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Shark   
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:popcorn:

 

Oh yeah. Welcome to the boards too. :)

Edited by Shark

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OldGuy   
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Welcome to the boards.

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comicdonna   
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:popcorn:

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divad   
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B-b-b-but, we like Mike! :grin:

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InvstmntComcSuply   
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WTTB

 

and since you are here can you address the following statements about your boards on your website:

 

"-Buffered with 3% calcium carbonate "

"The BCW ... Backer Boards are made from a full 24 point solid bleached sulfate, coated on one side with a buffered with 3% calcium carbonate , and are precision cut to size."

 

This implies that the entire board is buffered with 3% calcium carbonate, which is untrue. It seems odd that such a poor use of grammar would remain on your website for years, when the rest of the site would fully pass muster with the most demanding of high school English teachers. However, it does mislead customers into thinking that the entire board is buffered throughout.

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Mark 1   
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While we at BCW Supplies appreciate the time and effort that went into Mike Schmidt’s extensive study of comic backing boards, we believe that his conclusion is in error.

 

In the images that Mike provides in his article he demonstrates that the coated side of the BCW Comic Backing Board is indeed neutral with a pH level of 7, as are the other brands of comic boards. However, in his test results, Mike states that “the 2-year old E Gerber half-back shows hardly any change in its surface pH, the shiny coating on the 2-year old BCW backing board has broken down & both the front and the back of the board is now acidic.” Consider this; a comic backing board serves only two purposes. One is to act as a stiffener to prevent damage and the other is to absorb the residual acid migrating from the pages of the comic book (this is the reason that it is recommended that you change your bags and boards every 3 to 5 years). If the 2-year old E. Gerber half-back shows hardly any change in its surface pH as Mike has aptly demonstrated, then it isn’t absorbing any residual acid that migrates from the pages of the comic book.

 

 

In my eyes, the only way to debunk Mike's test is to conduct your own study and provide the data as evidence.

 

From a logical standpoint, a backing board that is coated would have a harder time to absorb acid and protect the comic compared to a non-coated backing board. Or, am I missing something?

 

 

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RedRaven   
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"There's a board in Daddy's arm were all the money goes"

 

Great John Prine song.

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BCW Supplies   
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B-b-b-but, we like Mike! :grin:

We like Mike, too. We assume that he is trying to provide you with accurate information to help you preserve your valuable collections, and that's a good thing. We simply differ in our opinions about what is best for your comic books. We do agree on one thing, though. Microchamber paper is the best solution for preserving your comic books, but it is expensive.

 

WTTB

 

and since you are here can you address the following statements about your boards on your website:

 

"-Buffered with 3% calcium carbonate "

"The BCW ... Backer Boards are made from a full 24 point solid bleached sulfate, coated on one side with a buffered with 3% calcium carbonate , and are precision cut to size."

 

This implies that the entire board is buffered with 3% calcium carbonate, which is untrue. It seems odd that such a poor use of grammar would remain on your website for years, when the rest of the site would fully pass muster with the most demanding of high school English teachers. However, it does mislead customers into thinking that the entire board is buffered throughout.

We must agree that the statement that you have quoted above could use some revision. However, we would disagree that the rest of the site would fully pass muster with the most demanding of high school English teachers. Regarding the issue of the buffered board itself, we state that the board has a 3% buffer of calcium carbonate. We do not use words like "buffered throughout" or "infused" and we clearly state that the product is made of solid bleached sulfate because we do not intend to mislead our customers. We're not really certain how we would better describe the buffer on our coated backing boards, but suggestions are welcome.

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BCW Supplies   
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In my eyes, the only way to debunk Mike's test is to conduct your own study and provide the data as evidence.

As we stated before, Mike has collected some useful data and we're not disputing the data itself. It is the conclusion that we believe is in error. We have in fact conducted our own study. We submitted our board for a hot extraction test which is TAPPI T 435. The results indicated that our board has a pH of 8.01. However, we are still left to draw our own conclusions. You'll have to decide for yourself which conclusion is more accurate.

 

From a logical standpoint, a backing board that is coated would have a harder time to absorb acid and protect the comic compared to a non-coated backing board. Or, am I missing something?

Wouldn't logic dictate that a 3% buffer in the form of a coating absorb more acid than if the 3% buffer were distributed throughout the board? We believe that is why Mike's data suggests that the used BCW Comic Backing Boards have become acidic on the coated side after a 2 year period and the E. Gerber half-backs are still neutral. It appears that the E. Gerber half-backs are not absorbing any residual acid, which is the purpose of the comic backing board.

 

Perhaps it would help to understand what solid bleached sulfate (SBS) with a coating of calcium carbonate is typically used for. Solid bleached sulfate is typically used for packaging applications that require printing. The SBS is printed on the coated side because the calcium carbonate absorbs the ink. Coincidently, it is this property that makes it desirable for use as comic backing boards. Not only does the calcium carbonate absorb ink, it also absorbs the residual acid that migrates from the pages of a comic book.

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whisp   
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In my eyes, the only way to debunk Mike's test is to conduct your own study and provide the data as evidence.

As we stated before, Mike has collected some useful data and we're not disputing the data itself. It is the conclusion that we believe is in error. We have in fact conducted our own study. We submitted our board for a hot extraction test which is TAPPI T 435. The results indicated that our board has a pH of 8.01. However, we are still left to draw our own conclusions. You'll have to decide for yourself which conclusion is more accurate.

 

From a logical standpoint, a backing board that is coated would have a harder time to absorb acid and protect the comic compared to a non-coated backing board. Or, am I missing something?

Wouldn't logic dictate that a 3% buffer in the form of a coating absorb more acid than if the 3% buffer were distributed throughout the board? We believe that is why Mike's data suggests that the used BCW Comic Backing Boards have become acidic on the coated side after a 2 year period and the E. Gerber half-backs are still neutral. It appears that the E. Gerber half-backs are not absorbing any residual acid, which is the purpose of the comic backing board.

 

Perhaps it would help to understand what solid bleached sulfate (SBS) with a coating of calcium carbonate is typically used for. Solid bleached sulfate is typically used for packaging applications that require printing. The SBS is printed on the coated side because the calcium carbonate absorbs the ink. Coincidently, it is this property that makes it desirable for use as comic backing boards. Not only does the calcium carbonate absorb ink, it also absorbs the residual acid that migrates from the pages of a comic book.

 

Is this a good thing? I can understand the unwanted acids but don't understand how absorbing ink from the comic would be a good thing.

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