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#893496 - 08/30/05 05:05 AM Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED!
FFB Offline

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Registered: 02/03/04
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As many of you know, the eternal question among comic collectors who don't want to incur the cost of calcium carbonate buffered back boards is, "Do I put my comics against the shiny side or the dull side?" Many times this has been debated, with no clear answer.

Well, now there's an answer. I recently bought a pH detection pencil and used it on two back boards. The back boards are relatively new, having been purchased within the last six months or so from Russ at comicsupply.com. I followed the instructions that came with the pencil and tested the pH levels on the shiny side of a back board that I pulled out of the middle of a a previously unopened ream of back boards and on the dull side of the back board that was right next to the first one I pulled from the middle of the stack.

For those who don't know, on the pH scale, a lower number means that the item is more acidic and a higher number means that it is less acidic (alkaline). A pH reading of 7 means that the item is neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline.

I don't know how well these colors will show up on your monitor, but by my eyeballing the color scale, the dull side registered a pH of approximately 5, and the shiny side registered a pH of about 7 to 7.5. Thus, the shiny side appears to be the "non-acidic" side of the back board, while the dull side appears to be quite acidic by comparison. So, if you've been putting your books against the dull side of non-buffered back boards, you've got your books on the wrong side!



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#893497 - 08/30/05 05:06 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: FFB]
fable Offline
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Registered: 02/20/04
Posts: 415
Loc: UK
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#893498 - 08/30/05 05:22 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: fable]
ComicSupply Offline
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Registered: 10/31/04
Posts: 4918
My only question would be, does the book possible interact with the shiny side to make it more acidic over time? Where as the dull side might not?

You have any boards from months back with a book placed on each side? Do you think a few months is enough time?

Where did you get the pencil?

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#893499 - 08/30/05 06:45 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: ComicSupply]
kiltman Offline
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Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 4653
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
So your saying, after i spent several hours changing all my books to the dull side after thinking the shiny side was more acidic.....i have to change it back?

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#893500 - 08/30/05 07:55 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: kiltman]
Norinn Radd Offline

Rorinn Nadd

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Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 18000
Quote:

So your saying, after i spent several hours changing all my books to the dull side after thinking the shiny side was more acidic.....i have to change it back?




All of your books are on the dull side no matter what side of the board you use.
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#893501 - 08/30/05 07:59 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: FFB]
Zonker Offline
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Registered: 09/20/02
Posts: 7937
I realize a single data point is quite enough in the legal system but for those of us who spend most of our day in greater nerd-dom, how repeatable is this experiment? Seriously, no need for scores of reps, I would imagine 3 trials would be enough to get a feel for its consistency.

And hats off for your initiative to go after the answer first-hand!

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#893502 - 08/30/05 08:37 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: Norinn Radd]
Forbush-Man Offline

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Quote:

Quote:

So your saying, after i spent several hours changing all my books to the dull side after thinking the shiny side was more acidic.....i have to change it back?




All of your books are on the dull side no matter what side of the board you use.





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#893503 - 08/30/05 08:38 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: FFB]
joe_collector Offline

Ok ok. JC Superstar. But only because he martyred his ID.

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Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 37569
Loc: Titan
Quote:

Thus, the shiny side appears to be the "non-acidic" side of the back board, while the dull side appears to be quite acidic by comparison.




Thanks for the test, but I never understood why it was even in doubt.

After all, why in the world would standard backing board manufacturers spend MORE to treat one side of the board, if you weren't actually *supposed* to use it?

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#893504 - 08/30/05 08:39 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: Forbush-Man]
Norinn Radd Offline

Rorinn Nadd

TOTAL NEWBIE


Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 18000
Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

So your saying, after i spent several hours changing all my books to the dull side after thinking the shiny side was more acidic.....i have to change it back?




All of your books are on the dull side no matter what side of the board you use.










_________________________
"The circumstances of men's lives do much to determine their philosophy, but, conversely, their philosophy does much to determine their circumstances." - Bertrand Russell

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#893505 - 08/30/05 08:43 AM Re: Back boards - shiny side or dull side? THE MYSTERY REVEALED! [Re: FFB]
whomerjay Offline
If you have a dream about out-posting me, you better wake up and apologize.


Registered: 10/15/03
Posts: 2921
Loc: Bal'more
Quote:

As many of you know, the eternal question among comic collectors who don't want to incur the cost of calcium carbonate buffered back boards is, "Do I put my comics against the shiny side or the dull side?" Many times this has been debated, with no clear answer.

Well, now there's an answer. I recently bought a pH detection pencil and used it on two back boards. The back boards are relatively new, having been purchased within the last six months or so from Russ at comicsupply.com. I followed the instructions that came with the pencil and tested the pH levels on the shiny side of a back board that I pulled out of the middle of a a previously unopened ream of back boards and on the dull side of the back board that was right next to the first one I pulled from the middle of the stack.

For those who don't know, on the pH scale, a lower number means that the item is more acidic and a higher number means that it is less acidic (alkaline). A pH reading of 7 means that the item is neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline.

I don't know how well these colors will show up on your monitor, but by my eyeballing the color scale, the dull side registered a pH of approximately 5, and the shiny side registered a pH of about 7 to 7.5. Thus, the shiny side appears to be the "non-acidic" side of the back board, while the dull side appears to be quite acidic by comparison. So, if you've been putting your books against the dull side of non-buffered back boards, you've got your books on the wrong side!





Perhaps this has been addressed before, but is it simply just of question of board (side of contact) pH, or rather the capacity of the board to interact with the comics and alter pH, or buffer changes in comic paper pH that might occur naturally? Is the goal simply to have support that won't generate an acid insult? I'm sure you don't want a highly basic board, as I assume paper has some preferred pH range. It seems to me you want a board that maintains a non-damaging pH over time when stored with a comic, and ideally it has some buffering capacity to mitigate enviromentally- (or book-) induced changes in pH.

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