Preservation

Acid-Free Archives Box

January, 1991

Scope

This specification covers the requirements for an assembled, acid-free, metal edged archives box with a hinged lid and a telescoping shallow front. (See Figure 3-1.)

Requirements

Construction

The assembled box shall consist of one paperboard box blanks with metal edge stays oriented and secured on the box joints as indicated in Figure 3-1.

Dimensions

The dimensions of the box shall be specified in the contract as inside measurements in the following order: length, width, and depth.

Paperboard (including paperboard lined with paper)

Composition

Paperboard

The paperboard for the box shall be made from any unbleached pulp that meets the requirements in this specification. The paperboard shall be free of alum-rosin sizing (ASTM D549-88), particles of metal, waxes, plasticizers (i.e. wet strength additives), plastics, and shall contain less than 0.0008 percent reducible sulfur (TAPPI T-406om-88). Surfaces shall be free of knots, shives, and abrasive particles.

Lining Paper (where applicable)
The paper for the lining paper shall be made from new cotton or linen pulp, fully bleached chemical wood pulp, or a mixture. The paper shall be free of groundwood (ASTM D1030, X 5 Spot Stains and TAPPI T-236cm-85), alum rosin sizing, (ASTM D549-88), particles of metal, waxes, plasticizers (i.e. wet strength additives), plastics, and shall contain less 0.0008 percent reducible sulfur (TAPPI T-406om-88). Surfaces shall be free of knots, shives, and abrasive particles.

Sizing
Alkaline sizing (surface, internal, or both) shall be used (ASTM D4988-89).

Alkaline Reserve
The paperboard shall have a minimum of 3 percent calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, or a combination of both evenly distributed throughout all plies and layers, when tested according to ASTM D4988-89.

Hydrogen Ion Concentration (pH)
The pH value of the paperboard shall be between 8.0 and 10.0 when tested according to TAPPI T-509om-88.

Abrasion
Outer surfaces of the paperboard shall show a loss of less than 0.7 percent of the total weight (mounting card and sample) when tested with #CS 10 wheel and 100 wear cycles (TAPPI T-476om-84).

Surface Smoothness (to determine the property of adhesion of a pressure sensitive label to the paperboard surface)
The surface of the paperboard shall hold a piece of weighted pressure sensitive tape securely in place for at least 10 minutes in 6 out of 9 trials, when tested according to ASTM D286-90, Procedure B modified as follows:

  • use a 3/4" wide, office pressure sensitive tape to conduct the test
  • adhere the tape to the paperboard surface with 2 rolls of a 10kg steel roller
  • suspend a 2oz weight from the tape

Thickness
The paperboard thickness shall be 0.060 inches plus or minus 0.005 inches, when tested according to TAPPI T-411om-84.

Stiffness
The paperboard shall have an internal stiffness of at least 1,800 Tabor stiffness units in the machine direction and 800 Tabor stiffness units in the cross direction at 15 degrees deflection, when tested according to TAPPI T-489om-86.

Finish
The paperboard shall be plate finished (calendered) on both sides.

Color retention
Dyes used to color the paperboard shall show no bleeding when soaked in distilled water for 48 hours while held in direct contact with white bond paper. The board shall not show a loss or gain of more than 5 points of brightness after exposure in a Sunlighter II apparatus for 96 hours or a fadeometer for 36 hours, when tested according to TAPPI T-452om-87.

Adhesive


Water resistant adhesive shall be used when laminating two or more thicknesses of paperboard together to form a single board of the required thickness. When aged in an oven at 50 degrees centigrade and 87 percent relative humidity, the adhesive shall not soften or run, but shall hold the two or more thicknesses of paperboard firmly together. The properties of the adhesive shall not detract from the properties of the paperboard (i.e. reduce the alkaline reserve, increase the percentage of sulfur, decrease the pH, or decrease the stiffness). The adhesive shall not be visible through or alter the color of the paperboard. If it is necessary to buffer the adhesive, the same buffer as in the paperboard (i.e. calcium carbonate, magnesium carbonate, or a combination of both) shall be used.

Metal Edge Stay

General Information
A metal edge stay shall be used to securely fasten together the joints of the box and lid. (See Figure 1.) It shall be made from a single unit of .0088 gauge cold rolled steel coated on the exterior with lacquer or baked enamel. It shall be positioned on the box so that at both ends it extends to within 1/4" of the edge of the paperboard.

Finish
The outer surface of the metal edge stay shall be free of sharp, raised edges.

Color
The color of the metal edge stay shall be specified in the contract

Dimensions
The metal edge stay shall be 1 inch wide and shall contain 8, 4-prong eyelets per 2 inch length.

Pull Cord

General Information
The box shall have a nylon pull cord mechanically attached (i.e., using no adhesives) to the inside bottom front of each box. (See Figure 1.) The pull cord shall be formed into a loop and fastened together at the two free ends with a metal clasp. It shall measure 5" (plus or minus 1/8") x 1/16" and shall extend 2 to 3 inches out from the edge of the box.

Attachment of Pull Cord Loop
The pull cord shall withstand being pulled apart at the metal clasp when the following test procedure is used.

  • Cut the pull cord in half at the point opposite the metal clasp.
  • Mount the two loose ends in the jaws of an Instron Tensile Tester.
  • Use an Instron Tensile Tester with a 50 kilogram load cell, the jaws set 2 inches apart, and the cross head and chart speeds set at 10 inches per minute.
  • To pass the test, the cord shall not pull apart at the metal clasp when it is subjected to a force of up to 8 kilograms.

Color Retention
Dyes used to color the pull cord shall show no bleeding when the pull cord is soaked in distilled water for 48 hours while held in direct contact with white bond paper. The dyes shall resist transfer when the dry pull cord is rubbed against a piece of Whatman #1 filter paper.

Workmanship

Each box shall meet the requirements stated in this specification, shall be constructed in accordance with good commercial practice, and shall be free of imperfections that may affect its utility or aesthetic appearance.

Each box shall be made to the dimensions specified. All panels shall fit closely without gaps or warping. All edges shall be cut straight and shall be smooth and even. The corners of the box shall be square. The bottom of the box shall rest evenly on a flat plane. The completed box shall contain no surface dirt (smudges, fingerprints, and the like) and no oozed adhesive and shall not be marred (dents, bumps, and the like) in any way.

The paperboard shall be scored and creased uniformly. Scores and creases shall be deep enough to permit precise folding during construction. All folded edges shall be free of fraying, cracks, and breaks. The lid shall be able to withstand repeated opening without cracking, splitting, fraying, or otherwise losing strength along the hinge.

Adhesive, when used, shall be uniformly applied to all surfaces to provide a firm, even attachment of all components. C Each metal edge stay shall be made to the dimensions specified. Each shall securely fasten together the joints of the box and shall be positioned as specified. All the prongs of each metal edge stay shall fully penetrate the paperboard so that they are visible on the inside of the box or lid.

The pull cord shall be made to the dimensions specified. It shall be attached to the box as specified.

Identification Markings

The following information shall be legibly embossed on the outside bottom of each box: name of manufacturer, pH range, year of manufacture, and the words acid-free.

Preparation for Delivery

Packaging

The archives boxes shall be packed in a standard commercial container that is sealed with tape. The number of boxes to be packed in each container shall be specified in the purchase order.

Marking

The outside of each packing container shall be legibly marked with the following information: the purchase order number and the type, size, and number of archives boxes packed in the container.

Quality Assurance Provisions

Tests

Test procedures and controls specified in this document shall be used to determine the quality of the product. Other procedures and controls must be approved by the National Archives before test results will be accepted. Unless otherwise indicated, the tests shall be performed at and the samples conditioned to standard conditions of 73 degrees Fahrenheit (plus or minus 3.5 degrees) and 50 percent relative humidity (plus or minus 2 percent RH.) (See TAPPI T-402om-88.)

Test Methods

The requirements for paperboard quality and characteristics shall be tested in accordance with specified test methods of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI).

Publications describing these tests may be ordered directly from the technical associations at the following addresses:

ASTM - American Society for Testing and Materials, 1916 Race Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

TAPPI - The Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, One Dunwoody Park, Atlanta, GA 30348

Tests for Paperboard Quality

The requirements for paperboard quality shall be tested according to the following methods:  

Requirements Test Method

Rosin (Raspail test) ASTM D 549-88
Reducible Sulfur TAPPI T-406om-88
Sizing ASTM D4988-89
Alkaline reserve ASTM D4988-89
Hydrogen Ion concentration TAPPI T-509om-88
Abrasion TAPPI T-476om-84
Surface Smoothness (for label adhesion) ASTM D286om-90
Thickness TAPPI T-411om-84
Stiffness TAPPI T489om-86
Color Retention TAPPI T-452om-87

Additional Tests for Lining Paper Quality

Lignin
-Phloroglucinol
-Kappa number

ASTM D1030, X5 Spot Stains
TAPPI T-236cm-85

Test for Pull Cord Strength

The adequacy of the attachment of the pull cord at the metal clasp shall be tested according to procedures described under the Pull Cord subsection of the Requirements section of this specification.

Responsibility for Tests

Unless otherwise specified in the purchase order, the supplier is responsible for the performance of all requirements specified herein. Unless otherwise specified, the supplier may use his or her own facilities or any commercial laboratory acceptable to the National Archives. The National Archives reserves the right to perform any of the tests set forth in the specification where such tests are deemed necessary to assure that supplies and service conform to prescribed requirements.

Inspection

Examination Criteria

An examination shall be made to determine whether the completed box complies with the Requirements section of this specification. The qualities and characteristics that shall be regarded as unacceptable in the completed box are listed below.

Completed Box

  • Not style specified
  • Not dimensions specified
  • Not materials (qualities or characteristics) specified
  • Not color specified
  • Not construction specified
  • Not identification markings specified

Workmanship

  • Edges not cut straight, not smooth and even
  • Scores and creases not deep enough to permit precise folding during construction
  • Corners of the box, not square
  • Box not capable of being opened repeatedly without cracking, splitting, fraying, or otherwise losing strength along the hinge of the lid
  • Folded edges showing exterior splits and cracks
  • Box warped and uneven on flat surface
  • Lid bows open; not a snug fit
  • Panels are gaped or bulged and are not aligned properly
  • Surfaces not clean or smooth: not free of oozed adhesive, smudges, fingerprints or dirt; not free of lumps or indentations
  • Surfaces torn, scuffed, or otherwise physically marred
  • Metal edge stay not attached securely
  • Metal edge stay not oriented as specified
  • Surface of metal edge stay has sharp, raised edges
  • Pull cord not securely attached at the metal clasp

Packaging for Delivery

An examination shall be made to determine whether the packaging of the boxes for delivery comply with the requirements of Preparation for Delivery section of this specification. The characteristics that shall be regarded as unacceptable in the packaging are listed below.

  • Not number of boxes per container specified in contract
  • Container not sealed with tape
  • Container not legibly marked with the purchase order number
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