Flat File Corner - Tips, Questions, Answers, Etc.

Information on shipping, storing and repairing your art, plus your reviews on products for art collecting, making, storing, etc..

Postby appletree on Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:22 pm

So, we have tons of threads dangling around about flat files, storage methods, specific questioned threads, etc.
I thought one compiled area to discuss would be helpful.

To help those that visit this thread I will add some links:

Looking to buy a flat file?
Check out craigslist; search for "flat file", "filing cabinet", "map file", etc.
Check out eBay
Storage Boxes
Looking Anywhere?
Looking In Texas?
Australia Boys Down Under Can Help
Perhaps you need some advice in the UK?

Need a lock for your Safco flat file?

jjbehren wrote:Some people might find this useful, considering how popular Safco 5-drawer files are. Safco sells a lock kit for their 5-drawer files:

http://www.safcoproducts.com/saf/en/US/adirect/safco;jsessionid=1E768017A53B71919F758B964B5358AC.ldi2?cmd=catProductDetail&productID=4981



What about storage and accessories?
EB Wiki - Storing Your Print
Note: ONLY buy acid free foamcore. Brick and mortar stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby will sell you some and even cut it to size for you (remember to use weekly coupons).
Common Suggestion: Give yourself breathing room around what you are storing. Storing 24x36 prints, don't have it cut down to 24x36, but give yourself a few inches.
Glassine (commonly used to store art or to layer in between pieces)
Poly Bags (commonly used to store art in, some put the art plus a piece of foamcore to keep it sturdy)
Mylar Sleeves
Krystal Seal Art Bags
Thoughts on Mylar storage bags poll
Photo Corners
My Most Favorite Tool - Air Blower
Are You Insane Like Me - Cotton Gloves (I use these, every so often when they get dirty I toss em out and use a new pair)
Different Brand of Cotton Gloves
Thread on Acid Free Backing Boards


Do you like your art flat?
Most would suggest to avoid storing art inside the shipping tube for an extended period of time, thus there are many ways people flatten their art.
You can use books, dvds, blurays, etc. Generally I allow the print to sit out of the tube for a day or two then add weight. I cover the print with kraft paper to avoid dust and stuff while it is sitting out.
Paper Weights - Frame Destination
IWish's Weight Bags


Want some flat file inspiration?
Show us your Flat File/Work/Flattening area
iambillyg's Flat File Refurbish Thread
Viv's backyard flatfile refurb thread
McGraw's Flat File Flip
Flat file refurb project
Flat File Refurb
Craigslist Flat File Refinishing Project


Anyway, feel free to discuss flat files, ask questions, post photos, comments, or suggestions, etc. in this thread.


***Any additional links or suggestions please feel free to PM me and I can add them in or have a mod do so.***
Last edited by appletree on Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:06 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby appletree on Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:24 pm

I will kick off the discussion.

What type of organization do you follow in your files? I just organized my new/first flat file and sort of did small stuff in the top drawer/stuff to be framed next. Then a draw for Horkey stuff (largest stuff on bottom). Then a drawer for misc posters. Then a drawer for stuff I want to sell.

How do you know when you have too much stored in a drawer? Any science or just when it is busting at the seams?
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Postby chan011 on Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:26 pm

thank you for this.
just bought a safeco off craigslist for $50.
its still disassembled in my garage until i finish moving in to my place
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Postby appletree on Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:29 pm

Thanks for the positive comment. I spent my lunch time doing this, hoping it will help and be a corner for lots to filter to and use as a resource. I plan to have a mod update the post when possible to keep it up to speed and accurate.

Congrats on the new flat file. I just got mine last week and it has been great so far. Will post photos of it soon.
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Postby Darkknight37 on Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:56 pm

Cool thread, nice work! If you keep an eye out long enough Craigslist is your friend!
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Postby nothingtogein on Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:55 pm

Love this idea for a thread. I know myself and many others have probably spent hours trying to track down much of this info by perusing the forums...having it all gathered in one place is a tremendous timesaver! Thanks appletree!
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Postby RambosRemodeler on Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:58 pm

appletree wrote:Thanks for the positive comment. I spent my lunch time doing this, hoping it will help and be a corner for lots to filter to and use as a resource. I plan to have a mod update the post when possible to keep it up to speed and accurate.

Congrats on the new flat file. I just got mine last week and it has been great so far. Will post photos of it soon.


Yup really good idea. Thanks for starting this Austin.

I finally landed a flat file. It needs work but I like it. It is drymounting huge though.

I haven't decided what to use as far as storing the print goes ie glassine, mylar. Anybody care to share their preferences and why?
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Postby appletree on Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:04 pm

No problem, thanks for the votes of confidence. I will do my best to keep it fresh and updated.

Rambo, no real method to my madness, but I use glassine and poly bags (from Frame Destination). Not as thick or fancy or expensive as mylar bags, but they are really nice, seem thick to me, and do the job. If it is an oddball size (doesn't fit small bags and big bag is way to big) I usually use glassine. Lay the print face down on a sheet and wrap the edges around the print. Make sort of a bag with glassine. It works and you have to get the crease a few times so the "flaps" don't open up and catch on everything. For small/tiny stuff I usually just use glassine as well. I think I bought like 100 sheets for 60-70 bucks and had them well over a year or two now, starting to get somewhat low.

I need to order more bags actually.

Ohhhh my favorite thing ever is my air blower thingy. You all can thank me later. I will edit the main topic to share my most beloved tool around art/photography. Didn't know amazon sold them until now, I bought mine through B&H about two years ago. Gonna order a second one just to have two since I often search for half an hour looking for mine.
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Postby SurfingJeff on Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:43 pm

I posted some info about what I use for backing boards a few months back in this thread. Probably overkill for most things in your flatfile, but it adds a little bit of extra security for high value items.
Last edited by SurfingJeff on Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby soam24 on Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:47 pm

great thread!
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Postby appletree on Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:07 pm

SurfingJeff wrote:I posted some info about what I use for backing boards a few months back in [url=http://forum.expressobeans.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=116420&p=2113404]this thread[url]. Probably overkill for most things in your flatfile, but it adds a little bit of extra security for high value items.

Thanks, I updated the post.

soam24 wrote:great thread!

Thanks. Hopefully the entire community over time gets some valuable use out of it.
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Postby wottagunn on Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:55 pm

appletree wrote:I will kick off the discussion.

What type of organization do you follow in your files? I just organized my new/first flat file and sort of did small stuff in the top drawer/stuff to be framed next. Then a draw for Horkey stuff (largest stuff on bottom). Then a drawer for misc posters. Then a drawer for stuff I want to sell.

How do you know when you have too much stored in a drawer? Any science or just when it is busting at the seams?

Great thread mate!

My FF is 5 drawers high. The first I use for flattening Horkey's. The second drawer is for flat Horkey prints <$250, the third drawer is for Horkey's >$250.
The 4th drawer I use for flattening anything other than Aaron's work, and the final drawer is for anything that is flat.

I have about 20 prints in one draw, and that is about enough I think. But if I owned more prints I would probably just store them there anyway.


and I know this sort of thing gets asked a lot, so here is how I layer each drawer:
- foamcore on bottom of each drawer
- prints, to fully cover the drawer one layer high
- two sheets of glassine
- prints
- glassine
- repeat
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Postby nsd on Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:15 pm

Great thread. Any tips on the 24x36 bags at a quantity between 10 and 100? Some of the places I looked before (like the Krystal link above at Jerry's) no longer carry that size or the quantities are either 10 or 100 but nothing in between.
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Postby lsmith55 on Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:18 pm

Nice Thread Appletree- consolidating and summarizing everything helps a great deal.

As for my set up- I use the crystal clear protective sleeves from Frame Destination on everything and store it all in the Martha Stewart flat file. I keep everything flat with poster weights in all four corners (from iWish) I was a bit embarrassed to purchase a Martha Stewart product, but I'm really glad i did. The quality is top-notch- made of solid wood and has ball-bearing sliding drawers. It's super smooth, looks like nice furniture and gets the job done. I'll take a pic of my own set up later on, but for now, here is a stock photo:

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Thanks again for the helpful thread! :clap: :notworthy:
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Postby dasponyboy on Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:27 pm

SurfingJeff wrote:I posted some info about what I use for backing boards a few months back in this thread. Probably overkill for most things in your flatfile, but it adds a little bit of extra security for high value items.

I do the Surfing Jeff method, 30x40 bags from Frame Destination and then cut down the acid free backing board myself and use mylar corners. I love having the extra couple inches around the print and it makes it super easy to pull them out.
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