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Hi all;

I'm thinking of buying a wooden entomological cabinet to store part of my medal collection in. Are there any concerns with laying medals out on white polyethylene that anyone knows of?

They are expensive, but then again so were some of my medal groups and it looks like a great way to store them. I like the wood look and it would suit the furniture in my study as that is all Tasmanian Oak too. See blurb below. I have included a link for those who are interested.

The cabinet shell is made from polished cedar veneered brimsboard and the drawers from Kalantis and Tasmanian Oak timbers. The Cedar on the cabinet shell and the Kalantis on the drawers are highly polished externally resulting in a fine piece of furniture.

Each drawer is accurately made, has machine dovetailed joints and is interchangeable with other drawers. A naphthalene recess runs along each interior side of the drawer. An accurate fitting frame, made from polished Kalantis and glass, fits snugly over each drawer. Twin pull knobs and a card frame are provided.

White polyethylene pinning foam for the drawers is an optional extra.

Regards;

Johnsy

http://www.entosupplies.com.au/?path=1_1_18_563

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The cedar could potentially be a problem in terms of damage to medals, as could any veneer (what has it been glued on with?). We have problems that entomologists do not (my wife is one). Likewise, getting a cabinet previously used by entomologists would be a serious problem, as the chemicals they use to kill pests on their specimens do severe damage to medals, especially silver (British) ones. Most of the pretty woods have chemical issues, leaving only ugly metal. I hope to get getting banks of map cabinets for my collection.

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I would recommend getting virtually the identical design from optometrists. I use metal file cabinets with the same size drawers that once held eyeglasses.

Beware, ohhhhhhhhh beware of laminates (glue as Ed says :speechless1::speechless1::speechless1: ) and anything that is going to make chemical miasma in a sealed away storage container. In my yout' before any of us knew better, I stored things away wrapped in ordinary kleenex. Takes the finish right off as if by evaporation.

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They are brand new cabinets Ed, so there would be no chemicals in that respect. So I would be better off buying the metal version? Not as attractive but basically the same set up, they are lined with polyethylene. Would the polyethylene be a problem or is it neutral?

My collection is currently stored in plastic sleeves in cardboard boxes and I am looking to store them in something a bit more special that is practical and attractive. A mate of mine is a cabinet maker and he said he would be happy to build me cabinet similar to those pictured above in a hardwood such as Tasmanian Oak, but with lockable doors like the one below. Would be sealed with polish and little or no glue (all dovetails).

Regards;

Johnsy

Edited by Tiger-pie
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Hallo Gents :beer:

Mahogany, Walnut or Rosewood are ok for use.

Oak or Cedar contain a natural resign which can tarnish your collection.

In general when any wood is used it should be well seasoned and dried.

Tropical hardwood, such as Mahogany are least harmful.

The effect of the glue used in wood making has to be taken into account as well.

Any with a Polyvinal Acetate Emulsion are best avoided!.

Kevin in Deva. :beer:

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I don't entirely understand the chemistry (or the botany?), but oak is also bad, high acid or something. Mahogany?

Some place I have a long piece on that. Let me look.

Thanks Ed.

Gents, "Tasmanian Oak" is a product name only. It is a type of gum tree, or Eucalyptus. Blue gum would be my preference, you can hit that with an axe when it is dried and it will bounce back at you, hit you in the fecking head, leave a dent in your skull and a small mark on the wood! I sh#t you not, it has happened to me when I was working out bush. :lol:

Regards;

Johnsy

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Thanks Ed.

Gents, "Tasmanian Oak" is a product name only. It is a type of gum tree, or Eucalyptus. Blue gum would be my preference, you can hit that with an axe when it is dried and it will bounce back at you, hit you in the fecking head, leave a dent in your skull and a small mark on the wood! I sh#t you not, it has happened to me when I was working out bush. :lol:

Regards;

Johnsy

So having determined it can damage your health, does" T.O." have any natural corrosive effects on Silver, Zink, Lead, Gilt, etc. . . Medals??

Thats what we need to know, :rolleyes:

Kevin in Deva :beer:

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So having determined it can damage your health, does" T.O." have any natural corrosive effects on Silver, Zink, Lead, Gilt, etc. . . Medals??

Thats what we need to know, :rolleyes:

Kevin in Deva :beer:

:lol:

Not sure Kev, I will have to do some research on that from this end. There is a lot of oil in gum, and you do get pockets of resin in the wood sometimes but I'm not sure how corrosive it might be. It smells bad when it is first cut, but mellows quickly once cured. What I was pointing out in the post above is that it is a very hard hardwood, so that might put it in the same league as mahogany, it doesn't have the same dark colour, it is quite a light wood.

Regards;

Johnsy

Edited by Tiger-pie
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I'd definitely avoid polyethylene or any other plastic. Almost all plastics will out-gas for years. we all use those plastic envelopes, but if you're really interested in avoiding problems over a long term, best to get rid of them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Cool - this is EXACTLY what I have been looking for... but than preferably an antique one :cheers:

visiting the site straight away...

They are expensive, but then the Euro is doing better than the Aussie peso...

I asked my Dad about Tas Oak as he works in the timber industry, and he doesn't think there should be any problems with it if it has been cured correctly. It is comparable with tropical hardwoods with the advantage that eucalypt oil in the wood acts as a pest repellant.

The only problem I have ever had with eucalypt was when the wood was "wet", soon as you touch a steel axe head with moisture on the blade with your hands, your skin stains dark purple to black.

The veneers are sealed with polish, so they shouldn't be an issue either. Might just have to remove the lining and put something more "medal friendly" in the draws.

Regards;

Johnsy

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Here's a tuppence worth from somebody who's recently taken a course on "Artifact Preservation" as part of getting a Museum (worker's) Certificate:

All wood's give off some gases; oak is the worst (most acidic) and the description of the effects of Blue Eyc. on steel and skin sounds BAD!

Any wooden case should, according to museum types, sit empty for a year to let it "outgas" !!!

All glued substances, but espcially modern laminates, also outgas, some a LOT, as they dry and cure. Again, a process which takes months, not days!

Cover the poly foam with archive grade "inert" paper to protect medals from chemicals too.

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but there it is! Use metal cabinets lined with paper and get the magnicent looking TO case and wait till it "cures" if you really want to protect the medals.

Peter

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Here's a tuppence worth from somebody who's recently taken a course on "Artifact Preservation" as part of getting a Museum (worker's) Certificate:

#1-All wood's give off some gases; oak is the worst (most acidic) and the description of the effects of Blue Eyc. on steel and skin sounds BAD!

#2-Sorry to be a wet blanket, but there it is! Use metal cabinets lined with paper and get the magnicent looking TO case and wait till it "cures" if you really want to protect the medals.

Peter

#1- Again I would point out that "Tasmanian Oak" is a marketing name, it is not an oak. I have a lot of furniture made of Tas Oak and I have had no problems with it affecting anything stored in cupboards and draws, including metallic items.

#2- No need to apologise, I understand your concern. I'm looking at the long term here, so if I need to wait, so be it. More than likely I will give these commercial items the flick and get my mate to make me a custom cupboard similar to the one I posted above, with the dispaly case on top.

For the time being my medals can wait in their plastic sleeves and cardboard boxes. And yes you are right, they are magnificent looking and will fit in nicely with the furniture in my study. Don't worry, I am as concerned about the condition of my collection as anyone.

The only medals that I don't care about are my own, they have a Bundaberg Rum patina from being worn on ANZAC Day!

Regards;

Johnsy

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  • 6 months later...

Here's a tuppence worth from somebody who's recently taken a course on "Artifact Preservation" as part of getting a Museum (worker's) Certificate:

All wood's give off some gases; oak is the worst (most acidic) and the description of the effects of Blue Eyc. on steel and skin sounds BAD!

Any wooden case should, according to museum types, sit empty for a year to let it "outgas" !!!

All glued substances, but espcially modern laminates, also outgas, some a LOT, as they dry and cure. Again, a process which takes months, not days!

Cover the poly foam with archive grade "inert" paper to protect medals from chemicals too.

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but there it is! Use metal cabinets lined with paper and get the magnicent looking TO case and wait till it "cures" if you really want to protect the medals.

Peter

just come across this thread, and for what its worth im hoping to go into business crafting archival quality cases boxes and cabinets (to hopefully fund medical school).

ill agree with everything which peter has written with one or two extra points.

firstly with laminated or veneered furniture, as long as the veneers are on the outside only, this will usually be fine (depending on age). gas of course enters the air through brownian movement/diffusion, rather than being a liquid which seeps around every crack back into the case. even more so with old/antique furniture, which has had time to shrink and grow, and adapted to air moisture levels (buying cases or cabinets locally would be better than from abroad/another part of the country), thee with be less aqueous gases released.

all woods will give off gases, but after time these will be at such a low rate that it will really just be a pedant who will mention it. if you really want to do something to help dissipate the gases, just open it up now and then to breath (although not being air tight the gases will escape slowly anyway).

generally, the older the piece is the better. especially with antique furniture where animal glues will have had an excellent chance to dry out. youll also notice frame and panel construction (as opposed to routered pieces made for the mass market) which means less adhesive in the first place (it gives the wood room for shrinkage). no matter how well a wood is air or kiln dried it will still adapt over many years to air moisture levels. the bottom line here is if a cabinet has been used for 100 years or so and youre grandmother could display her finest silver and china in it, your militaira will be safe as houses too.

just to point out its wrong to think of wood as 'dead' once it has been cut down. it still moves and breathes many years after having been used in construction (think about stairs creaking at night), and of course reacts to temperature.

antique coin display cabinets are ideal for medals (rather than new ones). just stay away from iffy type woods, such as oak or teak (definite no-no), chestnut etc. alot of australian hardwoods id avoid too, like jarrah or sheoak, or any eucalyptus. not sure about rosewood though as i doubt id be able to afford to buy a whole case made of this!!!

metal frames are usually better as they can be bought cheaper generally, new, and of course arent as prone to damage - scratches and dents, except that with change of temperature (for those who watch their heating bills) and season they attract moisture, which isnt taken up of course as it is with woods so will sit around on the metal. the downside of wood of course is that it will lose this moisture later (but only if it has had ample time to draw it in - i.e. lengthly exposure), though this wll be far far lower than with newer wood and it wont take as long to adapt to the air moisture level. the plus side however is a nice antique english walnut case looks the wal-nuts(!) and will give a very nice prominence to your display! these are of course military ANTIQUES for the most part, and i personally dont like a silvery metal and modern look around them - it drags something away from it.

be cautious of modern furnitue, especially cheaper stuff - anything using soft woods and man-made boards (lots of adhesives in those). the glue is often not a sign of a total master, but mass produced quickly, and of course will gas out, no matter how quick drying it may be ('though some epoxies are good). and of course anything made with chip board, fibre boards or ply will no doubt be laminated, often with a self adhesive laminate.

with the interior and lining of course this is spot on. any acid free, and hopefully dye free material to line the ENTIRE interior would be a bonus. in fact any non-reactive material (or very slowly reactive material as everything eventually degrades) will be perfect for a lining. plus presenting a collection on bare, unfinished wood just doesnt look too nice!

of course you could just seal them in an air tight container made of some inert metal, lined with layers and layers of acid free tissue and filled with nitrogen :cheeky: that should do the trick :cheeky:

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Interesting discussion... I have often lusted after our Entomologist's cabinets. Always thought if the drawers were lined with acid-free archive paper they would be splendid as it removes the whole UV exposure issue. I still like glass/metal cabinets as the optimal display surface. NO direct sunlight ever...

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The problem is that the cabinets used by entomologists need to be chemical-imbued with moth balls and all such massively noxious stuff to kill off the small beasties that eat the corpses of the less-small beasties stored therein. (My wife is an entomologist and she'd kill me for not knowing the proper science-babble vocabulary here. :P )

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ED! Please tell your wife I said:

TAXONOMY RULES!!

Guys,

I think it is best to refer to numismatists, as they have now more than 2000 years of experience storing metals :rolleyes:

Anyway, here are a few links that I have collected over the years, as this seems to be a sempiternal problem:

. Some general information about different types of storage solutions

. Viking Cabinets

. Mahogany Cabinets by P. Nichols

. Plan for DIY

Marc

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 11 months later...

Hello Gents!

I'm wondering on my method of storage, I'm sure it isn't ideal, and if it is just plain bad, I need to know! Currently, I keep my medal in their original cases. The cases are mostly wood or pasteboard. The cases are then kept in polypropylene bags. The bags are not closed. Everything is kept in a gun safe. My immediate concern was fire protection, but now after reading through this forum for a while, I'm wondering about this. I do know the shelves of the safe are made with ply or particle board (BAD) and covered in some fuzzy material (unknown qualities as far as out-gassing goes....). I keep a silica dessicant in the safe, I have no idea how dry things get, but I recharge it when the indicator reads about 40%. But another concern that I'm just now thinking of is the chemicals on the guns - mostly grease, and oil - nothing solventy. I'm in the safe several times in a day so the air gets flushed to some degree, which may not matter at all. I guess the only thing I can be assured of is no UV damage! Am I in trouble here with the way I'm storing them???

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Hello Gents!

I guess the only thing I can be assured of is no UV damage! Am I in trouble here with the way I'm storing them???

Dieter

This is one of those discussions which ultimately ends up with a choice between "bad choices" and "badder choices", unless one has the luxury of putting the whole collection in Cryogenic storage while the cabinets "cure", a month/year long process. And, ultimately, all objects deteriorate to some degree in ANY environment. Entropy Rules! :speechless:

That said, however, your solution sounds like a good compromiwe, especially the open bags and the 'air exchange'. I don't expect you'll have to worry about the whole lot turning green or black on you. Do feel free to post shots of your collection too!

Peter

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