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Gear storage worries: abrasive dusts
Old 3 Days Ago   #1
retinax
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Gear storage worries: abrasive dusts

Hi all,
In central Europe I'm fortunately largely spared the problems people in some locations face about moisture and fungus - keeping stuff out of basements and leather cases is usually enough. But I've started worrying about something else: I've recently found some of those little bugs that eat wool in my place, and was thinking about fighting them with Kieselgur/diatomaceous earth. I think the stuff is fairly hard and abrasive. Please tell me I'm overthinking this, I know people have that stuff in their apartments in the form of cat litter as well, and other abrasive materials like the desert dusts the wind carries for thousands of kilometers can't be completely avoided. If I always use a blower as a first step of cleaning lenses, I should be fine, right?
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Old 3 Days Ago   #2
Saul
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WAY, way over-thinking this one. Are you in lockdown mode like the rest of us?
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Old 3 Days Ago   #3
retinax
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Yes, these are lockdown mode thoughts... thanks for the confirmation!
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Old 3 Days Ago   #4
lamefrog
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I keep my gear in a dry box - basically an airtight/watertight plastic container with a desiccant (a block of calcium chloride) and a hygrometer. Humidity is kept at 30-35%. Very easy to build and no worries.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #5
David Hughes
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Or freezer bags that "zip" shut.


Regards, David
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Old 3 Days Ago   #6
peterm1
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Over the years I have accumulated quite a few lenses and the like and the approach I now use is to place my gear in simple and relatively cheap clip top plastic food storage boxes of appropriate sizes. Each can hold several lenses. They are stackable and they have a soft silicone rubber seal around the clip top closure so they exclude air, bugs and dust. I usually wrap each camera / lens item in a soft micro fibre cloth of the sort found cheaply in hardware stores for cleaning. This prevents them from abrading against each other when when the boxes are moved. I use a texta pen to write on the top of the box what is in each.
I place these in a cupboard or wardrobe with a tightly close-able door and away from clothes, shoes etc which attract moisture and fungus. I place one or more canisters of desiccant in the cupboard with the boxes - those canisters are the disposable type containing calcium chloride and so need regular changing, especially in wetter months.
I find this works adequately - small canisters one inside each plastic container - could be used but this approach is less convenient given the number that might need to be checked and changed regularly. If you wish to have an alternative I am told that the silica style cat litter (unperfumed) works as desiccant. i.e. do not use the diatomaceous earth type - its of questionable efficacy in my view. Just place an appropriate amount in some kind of receptacle that is permeable - a clean sock or piece of women's hosiery for example and tie the top. The problem with this is that the disposable containers of desiccant that I use have a water container at the bottom and when water begins seeping from the over saturated desiccant (held in the top compartment of the desiccant's plastic container) it flows into that lower receptacle - both keeping the water safely contained and signalling that change of desiccant is needed. I do not use a hygrometer, I just keep watch on the desiccant container each time I open the cupboard to retrieve a lens. Like you I would not be inclined to store anything even with the above arrangements in a cellar. In my experience they always tend to being dark, (naturally) moist and conducive to the growth of fungus and mold.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #7
Rob-F
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I keep my lenses and cameras in a five drawer Sears Craftsman metal tool cabinet, in the basement. Since it's metal, there are no materials that store moisture. The air conditioning and heating circulates through the basement, keeping the air temperature and humidity controlled. I've had no problems after 19 years of keeping my gear in this way. It is a finished basement, however, and is part our living quarters, in daily use. I'm always opening the cabinet drawers, which I believe helps to have good air circulation.

So I think that whether a basement is OK for equipment storage must depend on the individual circumstances. You don't want it to be too dry, because that's not good for cloth shutters. Right now the humidity meter near the cabinet reads 45%, and the temperature is 68 degrees F.

I think in general it's good to provide for air circulation, as long as the humidity is reasonable. I would only use a sealed container if it has desiccant in it, as lamefrog and peterm1 discussed; and only if there were a humidity/fungus problem in my area.

(Why does "desiccant" need two c's? I think it looks better with one c and two ss!)
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Old 3 Days Ago   #8
retinax
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Wait wait, so all of you who are advising on storage boxes etc. do think silica dust constitutes a problem unless gear is contained like that? I normally don't keep my stuff in boxes, as I said moisture isn't a large issue here and I like to have quick access to my equipment...
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Old 2 Days Ago   #9
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Retinax, if moisture isn't an issue and you want to keep your gear clean and dust free, why not simply keep it all in a cupboard with doors? That will keep the dust off, allow enough air circulation, and let you have quick access. Putting a hygrometer in the cupboard will help to make it a special lens storage facility.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #10
wwfloyd
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Something to consider. Make a small closet or large cabinet into a dry storage box... by adding a rod type dehumidifier. I have an 18-inch Goldenrod in a small closet. The Goldenrods come in various lengths, and use about 1 watt per inch, as I recall. Placed at the bottom, their heat generates a current of moving, dry air.
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