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Friday, August 20, 2010

Storing Model Kits for a Year or 2 from Martin K.

Q. Thanks for your quick reply Debra.
 Perhaps you might be able to assist me with some general information regarding long term storage / collecting.
The reason for my purchase is the following:

I am a collector of model kits (Example:

Here is my plan of collecting:

I currently live in a smoking home and plan to store these model kit boxes in the closet of my bedroom (in which I don't smoke). In about a year or two I plan to buy my own place in which these kits will be displayed in the open, however, until that time, I need to keep these in mint condition along with some books I collect and prevent cigarrete smoke from damaging the items.

I was planning to wrap each box in your archival tissue and place the wrapped box inside a large size ZipLoc bag, sealed and placed inside a large, airtight Rubbermaid tote to prevent damage from cigarette smoke. I have read your FAQ and noticed that you do not recommend contemporary Ziploc bags. Would you be able to recommend a alternative solution to Ziploc bags?

A. Since we are not talking about long-term storage here, I think you can go ahead and use them.  The PE film that Ziploc bags are made of does deteriorate and crumble over time.  If, however, you store the Rubbermaid boxes as you propose to - in a closet in a climate-controlled area for a relatively short time, you'll be fine.  The archival tissue will act as a buffer for environmental contaminants (including the smoke) and will reduce the possibility of moisture damage.

Cigarette smoke is insidious - and PE film is not the greatest gaseous barrier, so you might want to use the freezer variety or double-bag the regular type.  When your order ships, I will see if I can scare up some PP film or Mylar bags for you - the PP sleeves we carry now are probably not large enough - but we used to carry larger sizes and there may be a few I can locate.

Many collectors use silica gel packets to guard against odor - and we do carry those.  If you use them. Use just one or 2 per model, as it's never a good idea to dry paper products out too much.  Activated charcoal in a closed container (find online or in aquaria sections of pet stores) works quite well as an after-measure - in case you already have a few that are aromatic.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Protective Storage of Native American Dolls and Artifacts from Anne C.

Q. Do you have any advice for what products I should buy to preserve my collection?  I have a  large collection of handmade dolls and other Native Alaskan items purchased over the last 20 years when I lived in Alaska.  Most are made of or dressed in leathers, furs, feathers and other "natural" materials.  When I lived in Alaska I displayed them in a glass case that did fine.  It wasn't airtight, but the humidity up there is very low.  Now I live in Florida.  The collection is beginning to look a little "ratty" and today (horrors) I found a live bug in the case.  I'm sure he was loving all the fur and stuff in there.  My new case is not airtight - it's more of a wooden and glass furniture piece with glass shelving. What can I do so that I can keep my collection on display but not lose it to the critters?

A.There are a few places on the site where you can get information - and then, of course I am happy to answer any specific questions.

Guidelines for good conditions are here:

Florida is notorious for bugs.  Our Simply Scentsational Sweater Blend is a combination of just about every herb and spice known to repel insects.  The price is the same as for our Pure Lavender Sachet.  If you want to try it just order Lavender and let me know in the closing dialog box that you want to sub - it's not separate on the site yet.

Our tissue is safe for all materials.  It's acid and lignin-free but not buffered.  Buffering agents can react adversely with natural materials, disrupting their naturally protective acid mantle.  It can also cause colors to shift.

Sounds like a wonderful collection.  Be especially sure to use UV filtered lighting and keep away from bright ambient light and sunlight!

Please let me know if I can be of further help.
and follow-up...
Q.Thanks so much, Debra.  I have just put in an order for the sweater blend.  I will use it in both of my doll collection cabinets.  I also ordered the desiccant packs - hopefully they will help keep the humidity stable. I'm sure I will be back with more questions! 

A. Questions are wonderful, Anne:

Don't hesitate as they arise!

We anticipate getting this out for you today.

Take it easy at first with the desiccant.  The sachets of SSSB will act as a bit of a buffer in that regard - just due their bulk.

You do not ever want to go too dry with organic materials.  Aim for eliminating the growth of any mold or mildew.  Your collections sounds quite precious, so I recommend purchasing a small hygrometer that you can put in the case.  Organic material collections can tolerate up to 60% relative humidity without danger of molds.

Storing Leather Baby Shoes from Gillian M.

Q. I recently ordered the Sweater Care Kit and the Preservation Pack for Babies (clothes) and they are amazing!  I love your products and won't hesitate to recommend them to anyone. It was so much fun getting things ready for future generations. I do have some questions about preserving and storing baby shoes that I hope you can help me with. I have several pairs of Robeez brand baby booties.  They are all leather with a suede sole.  I washed them in gentle detergent and air dried, as per their web site's directions but I'm concerned about the leather becoming too dry in storage.  I wonder if I should use a leather conditioner on them before stuffing and storing them.  I also thought I would put them in the breathable sweater bag and place it on top of the other tissue wrapped items in the Sterilite box.   Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on this?

A. You are right to be concerned about the leather over–drying.

It's best when cleaning leather to use leather cleaner.  That can be tricky when you have pieces, such as your booties, that have both leather and suede.

Before storing them, brush the suede gently, then mask it with paper or painter's tape to protect it while you condition the leather uppers.

Depending on the type conditioner you use, you might be able to skip the masking.

I recently bought a passport cover at Wilson's Leather and the sales clerk cleaned it for me with a new cleaner/conditioner they market.

She assured me it was safe for both the outer leather and the inner suede, but I asked her not to use it on the suede - just not certain it would not leave an oily staining!

After letting them breathe a bit, give them a final buffing, stuff them gently with archival tissue and wrap.  The sweater bag will shield the other contents of your box while protecting the booties.  Do not recommend using desiccant packs with leather.  You'll be storing in a temperature controlled area, and so will not need it.  Check on everything periodically.

Storing Newspapers (again!) from Jane S.

Q. (too many to post) I just answered 12 e-mailed questions from a reader, spread over a week, regarding storing newspapers and newspaper inserts. This is not a customer of The Preservation Station, but a reader who had already purchased her supplies from 2 other companies and could not get help from customer service at either establishment. Was happy to help, but really! I'm posting a portion of my 12th response here to save future time:

A. To better illustrate my recommendations for safe, inexpensive storage of newspapers (and similar media) I will tell you how my own things are stored:

In a Sterilite underbed box; in general with our archival tissue under the bottom-most paper and a sheet or 2 between each item being stored (not each page). Pages with color have a single sheet interleaved.  Very significant (to me) newspapers have every page interleaved to prevent newsprint (which is not very stable) from touching and possibly smudging or blurring the opposite page.  The entire works is then covered with a few layers of tissue. The box is stored on a shelf of a dark closet (on an interior wall) in a room of our home that is lived in and thus has relatively stable temperature and humidity.  I have lavender in a corner of the box to guard against pests and mustiness. I take it down and check on it when I straighten the closet. That's it.

If I had loads of money, the only thing I would change is that I would interleave each and every page and place each paper in an archival sleeve with a sheet of Archival Intercept. The fact that I do not do that, even though I can purchase the products wholesale, gives some indication of the fact that, in my opinion, this would really be over-kill for contemporary newspapers.

Wishing you the best,  Debra