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Mark, may I pick your brain about slab organization?

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Author Topic: Mark, may I pick your brain about slab organization?  (Read 524 times)
Auntie Rocks
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« on: September 14, 2011, 06:03:23 pm »

I remember your posts concerning your slab collection and your continuing efforts to arrange it.

How do you classify & store your own stuff? In shoe boxes or tupperware? By color? By rock type? By size (slabs together with slabettes? Slabs with the remaining parent rock?

My slab collection has reached critical mass and I am getting buried.   dunno
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Mark
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 07:07:40 pm »

Organized, didn't they tell you that's just a pipe dream?  Only people with a couple dozen slabs can be organized.

Well, Ok.  I am somewhat organized.  The problem is that each time i have started organizing (and that's dozens of times), its somewhat different than the previous times.  So i have ended up with various organization schemes.  Years ago when i had a lot less stuff, i organized differently than i do today.  One time my wife decided to help me because of all the stuff lying all around.  She decided i needed to organize my slabs by color.  So we organized by color, all the stuff in the bedroom and on the closet floor.  Now this was at odds with all other schemes i had used, and i eventually de-organized theses half dozen boxes and integrated them into other boxes.

In the beginning, God said, "Mark, organize your slabs by reusing all the flat rate boxes that your stuff arrived in".  That was fine, until i moved stuff to the basement.  One flood, and the bottom row of boxes got a bit wet.  Once wet, the boxes integrity was compromised and some of the sides collapsed inwards or outwards from the weight.  The piles then tilted and where i had like 6 levels of flat rate boxes, they tilted until the whole pile slid over.  Luckily due to the bubblewrap and the rocks being hard, i lost only a couple of slabs.  But it was quite a mess and the boxes were trashed.  Another problem for some people, would be dampness which will affect cardboard boxes the same way.

Once i noticed all the cool plastic boxes my wife was buying to store her sewing stuff in, i just had to get some.  My first boxes and my favorites still today, are the plastic file folder boxes.  I got these from staples mainly and they are made by rubbermaid.  I start by putting down a packing layer in the bottom of the box like several layers of bubblewrap of even foam.  I then lay a row of slabs down with a space all around each one.  Cover this layer with several more layers of bubblewrap and then lay down the next layer.  Sometimes i also put a thin layer of cardboard down with the bubblewrap for a bit more support.  I will often just take a cereal box and use the box sides as a layer with bubblewrap under or above it, either way is fine.  Fill the box until you have a couple of inches free at the top.  I then stuff bubblewrap or wadded up plastic grocery bags to pad out the top of the box.

I also take pics of each layer of slabs as i finish them.  Just shoot straight down and make sure you can identify the type of stone from the pic or on the PC.  Digital pics is what i use, but you can use film.  When the box is done, i print out a couple of sheets with maybe 4 pics per page and then tape it to the front of the box.  This is more of a long term type of storage as its a pain to retrieve a slab from any but the top couple of layers.  I save these digital pics on my PC with a folder for each box.

Now as time went, sometimes i couldn't find the nice file folder boxes and bought something else.  Now i have different types of boxes.  I also bought different sizes, thinking i could use smaller boxes as the current working box for cabbing.  But that would get full and i would get another and then another until i had a dozen current working boxes.  

So how to organize.  I have done it several ways and am not totally happy with any of them.  I don't really like doing it by color, though now that i am making jewelry, that way makes more sense.  I used to organize by dealer, as my dealers tended to be consistent quality wise, so in fact i was organizing by quality of stone.  I got away from doing it by dealer and started doing it by quality.  My best stuff went in my treasure drawer and then i organized by more categories like stuff to cab, stuff to save away, stuff to sell, junk, etc.  At the point where i really got into Plume Agates, i started storing all my agate together.  So this is kind of a mess.

So where are we, yes confused.  I have organized many ways.  I have stuff stored in flat rate boxes, Michaels photo boxes, plastic boxes, and an old wooden library card catalog.  I have slabs stored by type, like plume agate and tiffany stone.  And then i boxes that have my most precious slabs.  So you have to figure out what works for you.  A single scheme doesn't do it for me.  But whatever you do, keep a record of what is in each box.  Pictures of what is in each box is another great thing.  Now i haven't mentioned all the files and pics on my computer from the internet that i have saved away.  When i buy something from an ebay auction, i copy the pics from the internet and save them to my PC.  I also save the main page with the info like what it is, price paid, date, dealer, etc.  I try to save pics of all purchases so i can go back and figure out what something is when i forget it a few years, or months, or weeks or days later.  If i had a few dozen slabs, it would be a breeze, but because i have thousands of slabs, i utilize a variety of schemes.  Hope this helps.  Any more questions, let me know.  

Mark (hopelessly, partially, organized)

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metalartz
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2011, 08:58:57 am »


hi Auntie Rocks

I sort by type into plastic shoe boxes,  and so will have material from several dealers in each box.  I will use ziplock bags to seperate each lot, and will add a note with dealers name, where and when , and cost.  I like sorting by type and then if need be by color.

Good luck
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David

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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2011, 09:11:52 am »

I found these parts cabinets at a local surplus shop for $20 each.   They mostly had large fiberglass trays in them.  You can see one of those where the drawer is missing.  I bought four.  The smaller file car cabinets I found at the flea market.  $30 for the stack.  The slabs are sorted by material and the drawers are labeled as such.  Smaller more valuable slabs in the card files.  Bigger stuff in the trays.  The small cabinets are wood so they sit on a wheeled pallet.  Obviously I don't have as many slabs as Mark.  I have been lucky enough to find large wheeled steel pallets at a local farm auction.  All my good rough is stored on those in milk crates.  The crates stack exceptionally well and the pallets can handle over a thousand pound each.  Less valuable rough gets turned into a rock garden around the patio.  Still available but out where they can be enjoyed.


* DSCN2491.JPG (204.88 KB, 640x438 - viewed 17 times.)

* DSCN2490.JPG (254.77 KB, 623x640 - viewed 20 times.)
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Mark
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2011, 01:56:39 pm »

I love your card catalog.  I have one, i mean my wife has an old antique one that she lets me use.  They are great for storing slabs, but even better for cab and preforms.  I do separate by color of preform/cab in the drawers and sometimes if i have a lot of something like tiffany stone, it gets its own drawer or drawers.  The last place i worked there was an unused tool or parts cabinet like 5ft tall by 3 ft deep with say 3" deep drawers in two rolls from bottom to top.  It was heavy duty shop metal and i wanted it so bad.  Our company used to sell surplus to employees back when they cared about us.  Whenever they remodeled or got too much storage they would have a big sale to the employees.  I would go in and buy large metal shop tables like new for $10 and the heavy office filing cabinets for $10 and other tables, chairs, partition walls, etc., for real cheap.  You just had to have a truck to load it up and haul it out.  I filled a pickup with stuff on top of stuff for maybe $50.  I use both big tables in rock/jewelry shop and the tall filing cabinet is filled with smaller chunks of rough.  But now they are stingy and don't do that anymore, now they just screw their employees every chance they get.  Yes, you guessed it...... THEY SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark, glad i don't work there anymore.
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Auntie Rocks
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2011, 05:07:38 pm »

Mark, I like your ideas, especially the photographic compilation.

I too, like cool plastic boxes and have dozens of the different styles that I've tried over the years. Sometimes, my memory ain't so great (out of sight, out of mind!) so see-through is best. Although I really like the see-through Sterilite file carriers (and their smaller counterparts all stack well) with colored clamp-on lids with built-in handles, clear plastic shoe boxes with bold labels may win the day.

I pulled out all my slabs and about three-quarters of 'em are laid out on the deck of my 13ft sailboat, getting sorted as to type. I have run out of gas and room and will get out a big table tomorrow for the rest of them.

Still up in the air as to how I'll pack them back up.
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