Corrugated Polyethylene Foam Drawer Liners
Many fossil specimens are sufficiently strong that they will not break under their own weight and do not require specialized supports. Some specimens may be large enough that they can be stored in drawers without using boxes, provided that the drawers are padded so that the specimens do not abrade on drawer surfaces and do not roll or slide into other specimens.
If specimens are of a uniform shape and size, a corrugated polyethylene foam drawer liner can serve as a quick, efficient, and inexpensive way of providing protection and efficient organization of specimens in drawers (Fig. 1). However, this system is not appropriate for specimens that tend to roll easily in all directions.
Figure 1. First phalanges of fossil horses (Equus sp.) are organized in a drawer and protected from abrasion by a corrugated foam drawer liner. All specimens are clearly labeled to limit handling when retrieving them for study. Specimen cards are held in a small box at the front of the drawer.
Gerald R. Fitzgerald
Canadian Museum of Nature
Box 3443, Station D
Canada K1P 6P4
Tel (613) 954-0358
Fax (613) 954-6439
Gerald R. Fitzgerald
Illustration: Karen Ackoff after
sketch by Gerald R. Fitzgerald
Corrugated drawer liners are made by folding and stapling a 1/8in thick sheet of polyethylene foam into a series of troughs of appropriate width and depth for the specimens.
- Heavy duty library stapler, stainless steel staples, 3/8in leg or monel staples, 3/8in leg
- Polyethylene foam sheeting, 1/8in
- Measure the inside front-to-back dimension of the drawer. This dimension will be the length of the foam sheet.
- Calculate the width based on the drawer size, and the width and depth of the troughs. If the sheet of foam is not wide enough, pieces are easily joined by stapling them together.
- Cut the foam sheeting to the appropriate length and width.
- Fold the foam sheeting into troughs and staple adjacent sides to-gether. A heavy-duty library stapler must be used with heavy duty staples as standard staplers are not strong enough and will not close completely (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. Cross section of corrugated foam drawer liner in metal drawer.
The troughs must be oriented front to back in the drawers and the foam must fit snugly so that the specimens and padding will not slide when the drawer is opened and closed.
- Place a piece of foam along the front and back edge of the drawer. It is not necessary to put foam in the troughs between the specimens because if specimens roll in this direction, other techniques such as padded boxes should be used.