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Subject: Clamshell boxes

Clamshell boxes

From: Lill Ohman <rsilverm>
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 1994
A Simple Tab for "Microclimate" Phase Boxes

In response to Mike Widener's question, at the University of Utah we
have been using "Microclimate" phase boxes manufactured by Mike and
Carmen Waters of Custom Manufacturing for approximately one year.  Along
with our satisfaction with this wonderful and affordable product, we
have noticed some problems opening these snug fitting boxes.  A secret
to opening them is awkward to describe, but essentially goes as follows:
For right handed people, grasp the box with the heel of the left hand in
the center of the front board close to the spine, and wrap the fingers
around the spine.  Push down slightly with the heel of the hand while
squeezing the spine's hinges.  This leverage will force the fore edge to
open slightly like a clam shell, allowing the fingers of the right hand
to pry the two halves apart.

As complicated as this is to explain, we decided to devise a simple tab
to ease people's comfort level when opening a Microclimate, not to
mention saving ourselves hours of future discussions.  The materials
required are limited to two staples and a 1/4" wide strip of polyester
marketed by Bookmakers as "Swiss Polyester Sewing Tape."  This tape is
very strong and thin, and being a non-woven material, won't fray.  We
have had equal success using strips of Tyvek.

The polyester tape is wrapped around and stapled to one wall of the
Microclimate before it is folded into its final shape (they are shipped
flat and scored for folding).  This allows the tape to be securely
attached to one wall of the box while leaving only the business end of
the tab exposed.

On the tray that holds the book, the polyester tape is attached to the
wall that forms the structural support for the fore edge.  A length of
polyester tape is looped around this wall and stapled to itself twice,
leaving about 1" of tab extended.  This tab will fit neatly through the
slot in the base of the box and is followed by the cardboard tabs of the
fore edge wall.

The finished polyester tab derives its strength from being attached to
an integral part of the box's structure.  The 1" length of the tab is
sufficient to grasp comfortably but not long enough to interfere with
other shelved material.  The slot at the head is preferred to the tail
slot because this placement of the tab provides maximum leverage for the
user.  Don't be afraid to experiment a little with the length and
placement of the polyester.

This note is simply to encourage people to try modifying the Waters'
wonderful box design.  The polyester tab has proved so successful it
helped convince one curator of the usefulness of Microclimates when she
otherwise could not be persuaded.  I wish I could have included a
diagram (easily worth a thousand words in this situation), but I hope
this description will suffice.  Good luck.

Lill Ohman

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:76
                 Distributed: Thursday, April 21, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-76-007
Received on Wednesday, 20 April, 1994

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