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Tucson, Arizona, United States
I work as Panther Peak Bindery and am a bookbinder, conservator and instructor working outside Tucson, Arizona for individual and institutional clients across the country. I am a two term President of the Guild of Book Workers, was a Fulbright Scholar, taught at North Bennet Street School for over nine years and was the fastest in my middle school class at running up and down a flight of stairs (really!).



Monday, November 7, 2016

Roll storage

It doesn’t do any good to have materials if you can’t store them correctly. Damaged goods are pretty useless. Wrinkled paper, even kinks in paper, make it useless for anything other than waste paper. And that can make some pretty expensive waste paper.

Book cloth is another item that can be ruined by improper storage. Sometimes it can be kept on the tube it came on, like the blue cloth roll in this picture, but that can waste space as well. No one has enough space and every inch can be important. But sometimes cloth isn’t in any shape conducive to being stored with other cloth on a shelf, though a bunch of unsupported rolls of cloth can be fine together.

It seems the answers to most of life’s problems can be found at Home Depot or IKEA. Well, sometimes the answers are duct tape and WD-40. I guess for bookbinding, it’s mainly the first two. For stuff around the house, it’s the tape and lubricant. Confusing, I know. What if the bindery is in a house? How do you decide? I’m getting dizzy here.

I went to Home Depot several years ago and bought a 4” PVC pipe, shown on the left below. It didn’t work because it was too flexible and distorted under the weight of stuff placed above it.

Next I tried a thicker, stronger tube. It was better but the tube only came in 3 inches and that was too narrow.

A few years after my search, I was in an Ace Hardware and saw these tubes. They are 4 inches and are sort of corrugated so they have plenty of strength. They come in 10 foot lengths, so I chopped them in half. I need to put caps on the back ends, because things are so dusty here in the boonies where there is no grass to hold the dust down.

Some materials are too large for a tube. For those I try to keep them in the box they were shipped in. 

It’s a particularly good system for small rolls of material. They’d get crushed and destroyed otherwise. And you’d never be able to find them.

No doubt there are tons of solutions for this problem, but this works well for me. Not only does it protect the cloth but makes it easy to keep it organized as well. And if you can’t find stuff, you might as well not even have it. If only I had room for more. . . .

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