JAIC 1983, Volume 22, Number 2, Article 5 (pp. 92 to 97)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1983, Volume 22, Number 2, Article 5 (pp. 92 to 97)


Randall Couch, & Mihaly Turbucz

ABSTRACT—A system for lining wooden drawers with acid-free cardboard trays is explained.

INSTITUTIONS sometimes find themselves in possession of wooden drawers which they are unable or unwilling to replace for one reason or another. Before such drawers can be safely used to store art or archival material on paper, they should be partitioned to prevent material from sliding and lined with high-quality stock. Metal drawers may also be improved by a system of dividers.

Mihaly Turbucz, an architecture student employed at the Humanities Research Center on a work-study program, was asked to design and construct a tray system to meet these requirements. The result here presented is an example of the important contribution non-conservators can make to the preservation of a collection.

The tools, materials and techniques used to construct these trays are those used in constructing phased preservation boxes. The board should be dense, calendered lignin-free stock which does not break or chip when creased, such as .040 or .060 Lig-free from Conservation Resources International. Board creasers can be purchased from C.R.I. and Hollinger Corporation. If a creaser is not available, the following makeshift technique will serve:

Clamp a metal straightedge in a job backer, laying press, or pair of vises, leaving one-fourth inch exposed above the jaws. File a notch, shaped like a rounded V and three board-thicknesses wide, in the end of a piece of wood or bamboo. Position the board to be creased over the straightedge with one hand; align the fold marks over the straightedge. Before making the crease, depress the board at each mark using the notched stick; this helps hold the board in position while the crease is made. To make the crease, draw the notched stick down the length of the board repeatedly in one direction, forcing the board down on each side of the straightedge. Considerable pressure is required. the lower surface of the board, which rests on the straightedge, will become the outside of the fold. After some practice neat, serviceable folds can be produced using this method.

Fig. .

The size of these trays can be varied; they can be made compatible with a standard-size folder/mat/frame/solander-box storage scheme. Half an inch should be left in one dimension between the inside of the tray and the folder or mat; this finger-room is needed so material can be lifted without damaging the edges.

1 Instructions for tray without partition

1) Cut board as shown in Figure 1A (Dimensions are given for a tray to fill entire drawer). Dark areas are cutouts, to be discarded.

Fig. 1. Cutting, creasing, and assembly diagram for a full-drawer tray.

2) Crease board as indicated in Figure 1B If heavy board is used, three creases may be required on each ridge to achieve a neat result:

Fig. .
If heavy board is used, score outside of folds at edges of tray bottom with a knife, as shown:
Fig. .

3) Assemble tray by folding under tabs, as shown in Figure 1C.

2 Instructions for tray with partition

4) Repeat steps 1–3. Refer to Figure 2 for dimensions and pattern. If heavy board is used, it may be necessary to insert an extra board inside the partition to fill space created by the creased ridge:

Fig. .
The partition should be glued in position with an adhesive such as PVA (whether or not the extra board is needed) to relieve tension which could make the tray dangerously springy.

Fig. 2. Cutting, creasing, and assembly diagram for a partitioned tray.

3 Instructions for half-size trays

5) Figure 3 shows a combination which is useful for larger drawers that must house works falling into several standard sizes. Two unpartitioned trays, or one of each type, may be combined in each drawer by making them half-size. Follow steps 1–4, but for tray dimensions (1, w, h) use the following formulas:

Fig. .
We have found that if the trays are accurately constructed, they fit in the drawers snugly (see Fig. 4). The slight tension provided by the side wall folds eliminates the need for tape or adhesives to hold the trays in position, even when their contents are light in weight.

Fig. 3. Tray in combination in over drawer.

Fig. 4. A drawer containing art work in paper folders held within trays constructed to the dimensions of the folders.

Section Index

Copyright 1983 American Institute of Historic and Artistic Works