Subject: The Famed Beatles "Butcher" Cover
By: Jim Kendall (jimk@fab4.uucp)

One first has to realize that there are 6 (six) separate incarnations of the Butcher. These are:

  1. First State (never been covered) stereo
  2. First State (never been covered) mono
  3. Paste Over (second state unpeeled) stereo
  4. Paste Over (second state unpeeled) mono
  5. Peeled State (third state) stereo
  6. Peeled State (third state) mono

Before any attempt is made to peel a butcher cover, one must first determine the exact condition of the cover to be peeled.

Under a bright light look for any stains on the cover that are the result of a liquid spilling on it. If you attempt to peel a butcher that has had water, coffee, etc,etc spilled on it you will ruin the cover. The butcher slick will come right up with the glue. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO PEEL A LIQUID STAINED BUTCHER COVER.

Check the number on the back lower left on the back cover. You should see one of the following:

1 or 2 - (pressed in Jacksonville, IL) 5 or 6 - (pressed in L.A.)
12 or 13 - (pressed in Scranton, PA)

Covers with numbers 1,2,5 and 6 use an alcohol soluble glue. Numbers 12 and 13 used a different glue that alcohol will not work on. These covers must be peeled using saliva (it's the only solvent that I have found that removes the glue from #12 & 13 covers). The actual method used to peel covers is the same for all covers, it's just that #12 & 13 covers require saliva instead of isopropyl alchohol. NOTE: The solvent used (alcohol or saliva) must be applied SPARINGLY! Too
much alcohol can leave the cover with a pink tint. Use a LITTLE AT A TIME. A syringe with a 26gauge by 1 1/2" needle is a good dispenser for alcohol. To use saliva, just keep your fingertip wet with it (more on this later).

Now you are ready to start. The first thing to do is to get as much of the `Trunk' cover off as possible (but not too much) until you can see the Butcher slick through the white paper and glue covering it. It's important to leave a good layer of paper fiber over the glue as this provides a backing that the glue will adhere to while you are peeling. For this step you will need a roll of 2" masking tape. Tear off an 8" strip of masking tape and apply it to the CENTER of the `Trunk' cover pressing it down firmly. Next, gingerly lift off the masking tape - the `Trunk' cover will come up with the masking tape. Continue to do this until all of the trunk cover is removed. NOTE: Be careful not to get masking tape on any part of the cover except the
trunk portion as this will remove parts of the cover that you want to keep (e.g. the `File Under: The Beatles' or the `ST 2553' number that have been pasted over). Again, be careful not to take too much of the `Trunk' paper off, leave a good backing for the glue to stick to.

Now comes the fun part. Remember, the glue is over 20 years old and it's pretty crusty and hard. Don't attempt to peel more than 1 square inch at a time. Starting in the upper left gray area, apply enough alcohol or saliva to cover about 1 square inch. Saliva is applied using the finger tip. Let the solvent soak in for about 1 minute so as to soften up the glue.

Next, use your fingernail to LIGHTLY scrape the paper backing and glue. Be careful at first to see how far down the Butcher slick is. DON'T GO TOO FAR. If the Butcher starts to come up or if you see a `nick' starting to form STOP IMMEDIATELY and move on to a different part of the cover letting the trouble spot dry completely. You can come back to it later. Nicks of this kind are usually caused by too much solvent.

Continue in this fashion peeling 1 square inch at a time until the cover is completely peeled.

If you do happen to get a nick in the cover, it can usually be taken care of by LIGHTLY applying a #3 pencil to it (if the nick is in the gray area) or whatever color you need to cover the nick. There's something to be said for restoring nicked Butchers like this. It covers up the ugly nicks and produces an over all better looking peel job which can up the price and make it more valuable.

This method can be used to `clean' up Butchers that have an excessive amount of glue on them from a previous attempt at peeling. Since there is little or no paper backing from the `Trunk' cover for the glue to stick to on these covers, you must take EXTRA CARE not to nick the cover. Cleaning a Butcher after it's been peeled requires more care than peeling from scratch, so BE CAREFUL.

If you do use alcohol and your cover looks like it's starting to get a pink tint, try using saliva (as far as I can tell, saliva won't turn the cover pink). Don't worry, the pink tint usually fades with time (unless you've saturated the cover and left it to sit, but you wouldn't do that, now would you?).

(BTW - store the record separately from the cover. If you store the record in the cover, the seams will tend to split with the passage of time)


"With love from me to you"
Jim Kendall Click here to return to the rmb home page.