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Storage Solution for Housing Sample Books


Winterthur’s Library and Archives holds one of the few complete sets of the 1888 edition of Hough’s The American Woods: exhibited by actual specimens and copious explanatory text, a 14 volume collection that houses paper-thin veneers of various woods found in the Americas suspended in cardstock. Each volume contains approximately 25 cardstock sheets and a bound booklet with information on the specimens. Originally, the stack of sheets and booklet were wrapped in a ¾ wrap and then slid into a wooden slipcover wrapped in a dark green textile to mimic a book [See Images 1-3].


Elizabeth L Peirce
Winterthur Museum and Gardens
5205 Kennett Pike
Winterthur, DE, 19735

Illustrator/Photo Credits:
Jim Schneck, Winterthur Museum
Liz Peirce, Winterthur Museum
Melissa Tedone, Winterthur Museum
Andrea Krupp, The Library Company

Publication: 2017


Image 1: Wood Samples

Image 2: 3/4 view of wrap.

Image 3: Slipcase

The slipcover had a metal clasp that held the textblock in place. However, there were several issues with the original housing that were causing structural issues with the veneer sheets [See Image 4]:

  • To release the clasp, the slipcase needed to be compressed, putting pressure on the sheets.
  • Many of the slipcases were too tight, requiring compression of the textblock to remove it from the case.
  • Two volumes were missing the booklet, causing the textblock to shift and slide loosely within the slipcover.
  • The textblock and wrap sat slightly recessed within the slipcase, making it very difficult to get a good grip on the block to remove it. Twill tape at one point was wrapped around the wraps to create a handle.
  • Many of the wraps had suffered from damage that weakened their spines, making safe access and transport to a reading surface difficult.
  • There was no information on the unbound nature of the sheets, with no information on safe handling of the collection.

Other considerations included:

  • The new housing needed:
    • to fit within the current space allocated within the Library.
    • to retain the information provided by the original housing.
    • to provide stability when on the shelf as well as during use.
  • Rehousing design needed to be simple and straightforward enough to be executed by two undergraduate volunteers with minimal experience working with archival products.

Image 4: Examples of damage, e.g. cracking and losses



The new housing consisted of a four flap wrapper contained within an acid-free cardboard clamshell box. An instruction sheet on handling was included in the clamshell box along with scans of important information from the original housing.

Materials, Tools & Supplies

Tuxedo Box

  • 20pt acid free folder stock
  • 1/4”double sided tape
  • Board shear
  • Matte knife
  • Cutting mat
  • 3/8” corner rounder
  • Small screw punch (2mm)
  • Ruler
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Bone folder

Clamshell Box

  • acid free cardboard -3mm ‘b’ flute
  • pH neutral ethylene vinyl acetate
  • Paintbrush
  • water (for rinsing brush)
  • clothespins
  • bone folder
  • pencil
  • meter stick
  • square
  • Cutting mat

Additional equipment used

  • BookEye Scanner


Four-Flap Wrapper (Tux box):

  • Dimensions were recorded from the text block in cm
  • Using the Tux Box instruction sheet used at the Parks Library Conservation Lab provided by Melissa Tedone, dimensions for the inner and outer wrappers were calculated.

    Image 5: Diagram of inner and outer wrap dimensions


  • 20 pt acid free folder stock was cut using a board shear to the dimensions of the two wrappers.

    Image 6: Cut sheets


  • Fold lines were marked on each wrap in pencil then scored with a bone folder
  • The folds were creased using a bone folder.
  • A dry fit around the textblock was performed to ensure the box would fit before final assembly
  • A tab was marked by drawing a line approximately 1/3 of the height up from the board edge. Two small marks were made 2 cm above the horizontal lines on the edge of the wrap. To mark the width of the tab, the width of the board was divided into thirds and lines were drawn up to the horizontal mark. Two lines were drawn connecting the central marks to the outside marks.

    Image 7: Tab layout


  • The tab was trimmed to approximately 2 inches long. Miters were cut on the corners of the tab
  • The corners of the inner wrap and ends of the outer wrap were rounded using a 3/8” corner rounder
  • ¼” double sided tape was placed in an ‘X’ formation on the inside of the outer wrap. Two additional lines were applied along the outside edges of the wrap, slightly recessed from the edge.

    Image 8: Layout of double-sided tape

    Double sided tape was chosen for speed and ease of application. The inner wrap was carefully lined up and pressed onto the outer flap and a bone folder was used to press the two wraps together.

  • A slot was marked for the tab by folding the box with the tab on the outside. Two pencil dots were marked where the tab begins.
  • A screw punch was used to bore a hole at each mark then a scalpel and ruler were used to connect the two holes.

    Image 9: Slot


    Image 10: Tuxedo box complete

    Image 11: Tuxedo box open

Clamshell Box

  • Dimensions for the clamshell box were taken from the completed Tux Box.
  • Andrea Krupp’s 1991 article The Library Company’s Corrugated Clamshell Box was used for reference and general layout. Dimensions were calculated using her diagram.

    Image 12: Clamshell box layout


  • The outline was cut out with a matte knife and the folds creased with a bone folder.
  • The corners were split using a bone folder, carefully separating the flat faces from the corrugation.

    Image 13: Splitting corners


    Once the paper was separated, the tabs were folded back and creased, then the corrugation was cut out using a matte knife.

    Image 14: Corrugation removed


  • The corners were painted with pH neutral ethylene vinyl acetate and clamped using wooden clothespins.
  • Handling instructions were written to be included in the archival housing.
  • A BookEye scanner was used to scan relevant information from the original housing, such as labels or advertisements, to be included with the new housing for reference.

    Image 15: Clamshell box open

    Image 16: Clamshell box closed


Be very clear when giving instruction. Modifications can be made on a box-by-box basis, depending on if the case is too large or too small. Pulling the corners too tightly on the clamshell box makes them round and collapse on themselves. To avoid this, line up the corner squarely, then add the adhesive to the outer tab. Smooth that in place and then adhere the inner tab by smoothing it into the corner without pulling.

Literature Cited

Krupp, A., 1991. The Library Company’s Clamshell Box. In Abbey Newsletter 15(6). Available at: <>  Accessed 13 May 2016.

Tedone, M., 2010. Tux Box (Four-flap Wrapper). [Handout]. Parks Library Conservation Lab, Iowa State University.


Library Storage
Four-Flap wrapper
Clamshell box

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