Storage, Acid-Free & Internet-Wisdom-Worm-Can-Opened

Discussion in 'Care / Preservation' started by 269sqnhudson, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. 269sqnhudson

    269sqnhudson Member

    Messages:
    424
    Location:
    London, UK
    I packed up some spare cotton/nylon military and flight jackets in storage following the currently favoured procedure of using acid free paper and polypropylene boxes. I then made the fatal mistake of checking 'The Interwebs' to see if I'd done it right. Obviously a grave error: 'Oh but is your paper lignin-free?' 'Is it buffered or unbuffered?'

    Having spent a half-day packing the jackets and a week fretting about it I discover that the internets tell me I may have used the wrong paper. I've spent a lot of time, money and energy on this and am loathe to go back and repeat. Also, the 'unbuffered lignin free' paper seems not to be widely available. It's doable but not common. Is this possibly because there is no demand and in fact no need for it?

    I would really like to just put this issue aside so I'd love to hear any opinions. The jackets in question are Buzz repros and 1960s US ripstops (not heirlooms but important to me) and will be in storage for anywhere between 1 and 5 years but not decades.

    Opinions enthusiastically received.

    T
     
  2. Silver Surfer

    Silver Surfer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,900
    i use old [mid 1800s-late 1800s wooden blanket chests [without paper, liners, etc]to store my gear. the wood used in these chests has lost any moisture it might have had, and any natural oils are long gone. because of this, the wood absorbs light odors, and errant clothing, and or leather dampness. wide ones can be sourced for minimal folding and they run any where from yard sale dough to antique store dough. i make a point of visiting the chests to rotate the ones on top to the bottom and the ones on the bottom to the top, while folding the gear the opposite way. in this way, all of the gear gets equal weight upon it, and folding cancels itself out. also be going through the gear, you can prevent any of the dreaded moth damage. oh, many of these old chests are nicely mortise and tenon made, with nifty finishes. thus, they are wife pleasing furniture. bottom line: ive used these chests for some 30 years and it works.
     
  3. tonyknowles

    tonyknowles Member

    Messages:
    70
    Basically in a nutshell you want to stay away from any products that are made from wood pulp. Paper products can be labeled as "acid free" however they are not naturally acid free. The acid present in the wood pulp has been buffered with calcium carbonate to become ph neutral. the best material for long term preservation is to use paper products made from cotton rag which is naturally acid free/ph neutral and does not require a chemical process to make it acid free/ph neutral. The most extreme example of this is old newspapers, the acid in the wood pulp that the paper is made from has not been buffered and the yellowing you see is the acid burning the paper. This is also true with any paper artifacts you may have, preserve, display and store these items with cotton rag prpducts. There are products out there that are buffered and bleached to look pure white and mimic the look of cotton rag. You also want to stay away from any wood containers especially particle board or pressboard which can leach or outgas chemicals that can harm fragile items. Again the best thing is natural cotton paper products. IMHO the best solution is cotton paper and plastic containers, the plastic containers are a trade off in protecting against insects, water damage, etc versus a wood container.

    I do have experience/education in this field related to paper products but the same applies to any preservation of artifacts. Hope this helps
     
  4. tonyknowles

    tonyknowles Member

    Messages:
    70
    forgot to add, I think you will be ok for short term storage, ie 1-2 years, but for long term storage I would go with cotton rag paper
     
  5. 269sqnhudson

    269sqnhudson Member

    Messages:
    424
    Location:
    London, UK
    Thanks for the answer but that's sort of my point, one buys acid free paper and it's not acid free and cannot be used in any context where acid free paper is needed....what's the point of the unusable acid free paper? It's bonkers!
     
  6. tonyknowles

    tonyknowles Member

    Messages:
    70
    Yes it does suck that this is not more clear in packaging, etc. but now you know.

    again I think you will be okay with the products you have purchased for storage for 1-2 years but for museum grade items I would use cotton products. Keep in mind that you are going the extra mile for sure to educate yourself and care for your items, most collectors dont.
     

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