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Old 4th August 2011, 05:26 PM
youngrichard youngrichard is offline
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Location: West London
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Default Restem 10 x 8 Paper Safe adapted for 7 x 5

I thought I would share this wrinkle.
Restem 8 x 10 paper safes are great; they stack and are easy to use. By contrast the Restem 7 x 5 paper safes are non-stackable, inefficient and break easily - which is probably why they are rarely seen on eBay.
I chanced on a way to convert the 10x 8 safes to take 7 x 5 paper, when I came upon some sawn and planed timber; which came from wooden slats used as a bed base. I think the nominal size is 1 1/2 " x 3/4". The timber I have is actually 11/16 " x 1 7/16 " or 18 x 36 mm. As we all know sawn timber approximates to its nominal size, but after planing loses 3 to 5mm or 1/8 th to 3/16 th inches; which puts my timber in No Man's Land ie somwhere between sawn, and sawn and planed. To me it looks roughly but not fully planed. I labour this point as you will need to go to your timber merchant and measure what he has, if you want to pursue this. The longer dimension is not too critical, could be a few mm more; just needs to be high enough to keep 100 sheets of paper in place. But the shorter dimension dictates the width of the paper space in the drawer after packing, which needs to be 5 " plus a mm or two. So find out what he has, do a few sums based on measurement of the tray, and if it still doesn't work out you may need to do a bit of planing yourself; but I hope not.
The Restem 8 x 10 " safe has 4 rubber tipped fingers to push the top sheet of paper forward as the door flap is opened. The idea is to pack the tray with timber leaving a space slightly greater than 7 " x 5 ". This means 3 lengths upright across the back of the drawer, and a total of 4 upright from side to side. This is the cunning part. One timber spacer sits on one side of the tray, just leaving room for the most lateral finger and the next two fingers to fall on and push the paper. On the other side of the tray the two spacers are separated by a third short segment, glued between them at the front of the tray; in the gap between them towards the back of the tray, the 4th finger has room to slide uselessly back and forth.
The lengths at the back of the drawer are cut a few mm less than the width of the tray ie a loose fit, the side members are then cut so as almost to reach the front of the tray, without obstructing the closure of the door. Apart from cutting, only a couple of spots of wood glue are needed and the whole shooting match sits unattached in the tray; so if you wish to revert to using that tray for 8 x 10 paper it is merely necessary to remove the timber.
The only trick involved is in the insertion of the rear 3 spacers. Pull the drawer forward so that the first spacer lying flat can be slid under the fingers; then push the drawer back in until, reaching in with your hand, the spacer can be flipped upright. Pull the drawer forward again and repeat with the second spacer, and the third. The side pieces can then be slid in.
In the pictures I have laid the timber on top of the safe to show how they sit inside the drawer; I haven't worked out how to remove the drawer completely so can't show that. I suggest making a 7 x 5 conversion first, which is very simple.
I have also converted a drawer to post-card size; this involved a bit of planing of one of the side arms to make room for the paper, and you will see that only 2 fingers are used for pushing, one each side is side-lined to the empty channel. There is also a problem with this smaller size in that the packing at the back fouls the push-fingers if it sits upright; hence the work-around configuration that you see; 2 spacers laid flat, and an upright back rest glued between the fingers on to the spacer immediately behind it. And I am sure 4x 6 " paper or any size less than 8 x 10 can be accommodated with a little ingenuity.
One warning: you will see that I have stacked the boxes by sliding them together. If you leave the feet on, the weight of the boxes transmitted through the feet can bow the roof of the box below so that the door does not close properly. I partly spoiled some paper this way, otherwise the safes have been perfectly light-tight. The problem seems to be avoided by sliding the boxes together, as they are designed to do, and as seen in the photos.
I now have 8 drawers at my disposal; they have been acquired by judicious bidding on eBay over the years; now I have enough, I can retire from the market as I expect there to a rush of buyers anxious to try out this little wrinkle.
Richard
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