Uline, Metro, modular wire shelving vs. powder-coated steel

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    • #132624
      Charlene Martin

      Hi everyone –

      After having my archive purchase expensive powder-coated steel (considered ideal by conservators), I’ve heard that chrome-plated modular wire shelving (Uline, Metro, etc) will do.

      Has anyone used it to house their manuscript archives, or heard about others using it? How is it holding up? I am housing my collection in acid-free boxes and folders , so the documents would not directly interact with the chrome plating. At the moment, the collection resides in a consistent 68 degree, 30% humidity environment.

      Thank you for your help with this!



    • #132629
      Michael Nagy

      Yes, this could work.  Three considerations I would have.  Only go for NSF rated chrome shelving.  See that the documentation and packaging actually carrying the real NSF certification label, otherwise it could be cheaply painted chrome colored wire.  Note the carrying capacity, weight rating.  Will the shelves hold boxes full of paper, as opposed to dry foods.  Are the shelves free standing, or do they have to be anchored to the building.  Many of these are only designed to be next to walls, not in ranges in the middle of a space.

      We actually decided on powder coated steel because it was less expensive for our space.  We got records center shelving with powder coated steel frames and replaced the default particle board decking with powder coated steel wire decks.

    • #132628
      Leslie Wyman

      We have chrome wire modular shelving from theshelvingstore.com, and love it.  It can hold heavy loads, has sturdy lockable wheels, and is incredibly easy to move even when filled.  Our collection storage office is small, so we were able to add quite a few of these units, and then just unlock the wheels and move the units to create an “aisle” to access whatever we might need.  Like you, all of our archival items are in the boxes, etc, so nothing is actually touching the metal; however, we also have reemay to put under something if we would ever need to.

    • #132627
      Charlene Martin

      Thank you, everyone. I’m glad I can suggest some lower-cost alternatives for the additional shelving that my archive storage will require. I feel a bit foolish for following the highest NEDCC standards for the initial shelving purchase. I guess this sort of judgement comes with experience 🙂

    • #132626
      Greg Jackson


      You might want to consider the weight of the cardboard boxes and whether to place something under them (between the cardboard and the metal).  If the boxes are very heavy, the wire shelving tends to make indentations in the cardboard, making them harder to slide or remove from the shelves.

    • #132625
      Fletcher Durant

      We very recently purchased some Metro shelving as temporary storage areas during processing.  As far as my research into the topic could tell, the chrome plating is acceptable for long-term storage.  There was not any research into the suitability of “Super Brite” chromate finishes.  I was also advised that for long-term storage, you want to cover the wire shelving with corrugated board or coroplast, as the shelving will end up damaging heavy archival boxes.

      Good luck.

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