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Subject: Paint for microfilm cabinets

Paint for microfilm cabinets

From: Cheryl Thies <bm.mha>
Date: Wednesday, June 15, 1994
In response to the inquiry about paint for microfilm cabinets, several
questions should be asked first.  The first relates to the cause of the
rust.  Is it simply a humid environment or perhaps the presence of
Kalvar film?  If Kalvar, the cabinet will continue to rust until the
Kalvar is removed and replaced. Secondly, are the films to be stored
silver gelatin, vesicular, or diazo?  If the latter two, there is less
concern about off-gassing.  Lastly, what other types of collections are
stored in the vicinity that might be affected by off-gassing.

That having been said, I pass along the following paint specification
that the conservation department of the Minnesota Historical Society
uses when purchasing collections storage cabinets and shelving.  It was
also used to evaluate paint proposed by the architect for walls,
ceilings, and floors in its' new facility.

1.  The film forming resin shall be a stable, inert material such as
    acrylic, polyester, or epoxy.  Examples of acceptable resins are
    water reducible acrylic, epoxy and epoxy/polyurethane, and powder
    coatings of polyester or epoxy resins. No PVA shall be contained in
    the formulation.  Also not acceptable are alkyd or vinyl toluated
    alkyd resin finishes. (note: alkyds have been identified as
    affecting silver emulsion photographic emulsions.

2.  The formulation shall contain no long chain drying oils.

3.  Upon receipt, the product should not be off-gassing solvents or
    other volatile substances.  The product shall be odor free
    indicating complete absence of residual solvents.  The test
    procedure for complete cure shall be provided upon request by the
    manufacturer or distributor.

4.  The paint film shall have no free, unreacted radicals remaining.

5.  The formulation (film forming resin or pigment) shall not include
    any sulphur compounds.

6.  Biocides such as formaldehyde shall not be included in the

The manufacturer of the cabinets usually will not be able to answer
these questions and you will need to get the name of the paint
manufacturer.  Eventually, you will get to a chemist at the paint
company who will be able to answer your questions. With the increasing
use of powder coat finishes, this task is getting easier.  If a
manufacturer does not want to cooperate and get the information for you,
go to a different cabinet company.

                   Conservation DistList Instance 8:2
                   Distributed: Friday, June 17, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-8-2-001
Received on Wednesday, 15 June, 1994

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