WHY THE DETAILS ARE THE PRODUCT

It seems like such a simple idea. Just put one box inside another and make it work like a drawer. But our DrawerBoxes™ are better described as deceptively simple. Our current versions are the result of over 8 years of tweaks and improvements.

Stated simply, our DrawerBoxes are designed to be an integrated system in which every part contributes to the whole to make it truly function like a drawer.

Let’s start with the length. Our origins go back to the traditional “long box”, used by comic collectors for over 25 years. Long boxes are commonly 28”-29” long. Why? Don’t ask. It’s too long of a story to explain here. But it was no accident that we settled on the 26" length for our long comic DrawerBox.  The extra comics in the length of a 29" box increases the weight of the drawer by a little over 5 pounds, about a 11%-13% increase.  That manifests itself 2 ways: that weight is multiplied by the number of boxes you stack, which reduces the maximum height a little.  More significantly, the drawer becomes heavier to pull out.

Assuming you don't mind pulling the heavier weight, you also have to make sure the front of the box that you are pulling on also can withstand the weight.  Our drawers have 4 layers of cardboard around the handle to help support them.  Most long boxes do not, which means you are pulling more weight with less durability and over the long term they would not hold up.

Similarly, our short comic DrawerBox length was the result of a national survey in which we asked collectors what length worked best for them to fit in the tightest spaces and still give them the capacity they needed.

DrawerBox drawers are designed with tabs on the end to signal when the drawer is almost all the way out.  This is important because most people are inclined to give the drawer a firm tug to extend the drawer.  Without the tab, it is easy to pull the drawer out too far and spill the comics on the floor.  Potentially cataclysmic if you pull out a drawer from the 4th level or so!

The width of the drawer has to be narrow enough to fit in the housing, but not too narrow or you have a sloppy operation, not to mention defeating the safety tabs.

Height is also crucial.  The obvious reason is that if the drawer is too tall the drawer will not fit.  But even if it is slightly shorter problems may develop because it is normal for the drawer to hang down a little as weight is applied.  But a drawer that is too short will simply fall out if it left too far open.  So you have to either remove the drawer entirely every time you open it or never leave the drawer more than partially open, limiting your ability to get to the contents in the back.

And what about the tendency for the unit to tip over when it is extended open? Our BoxLox Box Anchors were created to address that.

And, of course, upgraded materials have to be used to make them strong enough to stack. If you can’t do that, their purpose is defeated.

We have spent a number of years perfecting our design to ensure our DrawerBoxes work as well as possible.  Even though the concept is deceptively simple, a lot of engineering went into making sure they would work correctly.

Our goal in the beginning was to create a storage device that worked like a drawer, but was completely modular. And to make that happen, the details had to become the product.

COMIC AND MAGAZINE PRESERVATION

It’s not surprising that there is quite a bit of confusion about how to best protect your comic or magazine collection. The Internet has a profusion of suggestions, everything from comments on message boards to blogs to websites reputing to be “experts” on the topic. Unfortunately, most of this information is incorrect despite the sincere efforts of the writers. There seems to be two major causes for this: collectors who forget that paper is subject to a variety of climate issues and what may work in their area is inadequate elsewhere. Additionally, many of these writers have only been collecting for a short period of time. What works for 2 or 3 or 5 years may be destructive 10-20 years later. The point of protecting your periodicals is to avoid problems over the long term.

We at The Collection Drawer Co. have one significant advantage because we are collectors ourselves and have been collecting for over 45 years (egads!), well before the first preservation products were invented. During that period we have tried a number of techniques, that is, we have made every mistake in the…ummm… magazine. This has given us the opportunity to see first hand what works and what does not over a prolonged period of time with a variety of approaches. So following are some things we have learned over that time. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary for all the reasons listed above.

By far the single most important technique in preserving your comics and magazines has nothing to do with spending money on costly products. It is very simple. Always store your collectibles in a cool, dry place. Heat and moisture are paper’s worst enemy and the newsprint used in older comics is particularly vulnerable. A warm air temperature can cause the paper to turn yellow in less than a year. One of the most valuable collections ever found is the Mile High Collection, owned by Edgar Church and uncovered after he passed way by Chuck Rozanski. A significant characteristic of those issues are the whiteness of the pages despite being printed on cheap newsprint in the 40’s. But this is not surprising when you realize that they were stored in his basement, the coolest area of the house, and he lived in Denver, Colorado, known for its dry climate.

Storing print collectibles in a cool area is easy as long as you have air-conditioning or a basement (assuming it will not flood! You DO have everything raised off the floor, right?!?) but humidity is a bigger challenge since some areas of the country tend to be quite humid. Some collectors suggest using silica packets such as those found in shoeboxes, electronic equipment boxes and so forth. These do not work. They are only capable of absorbing a small amount of moisture and once they reach their maximum saturation cease to absorb. We have investigated materials that can be baked to dry them out but even these seem to have only limited usefulness. The most effective method to reduce humidity is to purchase a dehumidifier and have it run continuously in the area where the collectibles are stored. Circulation in this area should also be kept to a minimum so moist air is not introduced.

The key here is in realizing that if your area is humid, it is always humid in greater or lesser degrees. The air is constantly circulating in and around your collectibles, so the moisture must be constantly removed from the air. Note, too, that the cooler the air is the less moisture it can hold, so reducing the temperature even further helps as well.

The second most common damage collectors we know have experienced is bending. Step one in preventing this is to never stack comics or magazines lying flat. This will cause the spines to curl and can occur even if they are stacked for a short period of time. Even standing periodicals on their “nose” end (the end you open them from) will cause warping over time. Comics and magazines should always be stood on the bottom (or top) end so that the spine provides some support.

To prevent the other causes of bending the next most important item you need (besides our BoxSort Upright Dividers) is backing boards. But care needs to be taken in their selection and use as well. We’ll write more about that the next time.

In the meantime, let’s us know at Rich@CollectionDrawer.com if you find this column useful.