Poplar, Oak, Tannic acid & brass cases

I know that oak is to be avoided around brass cartridge cases because of the tannin in the wood, but does anyone know if poplar is a concern? I ask because I am wanting to put some very small dividers in my cartridge drawers to prevent cases from sliding up & down. Woodin Lab has these sorts of little dividers going horizontally across some of the drawers for this reason, and they are around 1/8" by 1/8" by a few feet long. Poplar apparently has a high amount of tannin in the bark, but I find no info on the lighter softer wood content. And if I were to paint them with a spray-primer would this help “seal” them? There are only a couple wood options at the local big-box hardware stores for these sorts of tiny trim pieces, and poplar seemed like the better choice?

Matt,
I use 1/8 inch thick Lexan cut into strips about 1 inch wide as dividers in some of my drawers.

I also have drawers that I custom built out of pine then sealed with clear enamel spray paint and I have not had any problems with them at all.

Zac

I was looking for these sorts of tiny wooden divider strips in pine but could not find them, or if I did they were all warped & unusable, presuming that the end-user would be nailing or gluing them flat to something. I will be gluing them, but only to corrugated j-flute, which wont hold a flat shape with much strength. I can resort to aluminum, but at a much higher cost.

THIS IS THE FIRST I’VE HEARD THAT OAK AND OTHER TYPE OF WOOD POSED A PROBLEM WITH BRASS - LEAD YES BUT NEVER BRASS. BACK IN THE DAY, BEFORE LEAD BASED PAINT WAS OUTLAWED, THE AMISH FOLKS IN PENNSYLVANIA OXIDIZED LEAD FOR THEIR PAINT BY THROWING LEAD INGOTS ON THE STUMP OF A FRESHLY CUT OAK TREE.

BASSWOOD IS ONE OF THE BEST AND EASIEST WOODS TO WORK WITH. YOU CAN FIND IT IN MOST HOBBY SHOPS THAT TRAFFIC IN MODEL AIRPLANES IT COMES IN MANY DIFFERENT SIZES. I BUY A LOT OF IT IN A VARIETY OF DIAMETERS AND LENGTHS AND USE IT NOT ONLY AS DIVIDERS IN MY ALL WOOD CARTRIDGE CABINETS BUT IN SEVERAL DIFFERENT ART FORMS I DABBLE WITH. PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT MY CARTRIDGE CABINETS, BOTH OAK AND CLEAR PINE, ARE VERY OLD. THEY WERE 50 YEARS OLD OR MORE WHEN I FIRST GOT THEM 50 YEARS AGO, NOTHING LEFT IN THE WOOD TO ATTACK ANYTHING, LEAD INCLUDED.

BY THE WAY, UNLESS YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE COLLECTORS WHO HAS GONE TO PLASTIC, THAT CARDBOARD YOUR CARTRIDGES ARE RESTING ON IS MADE FROM WOOD PULP.

I hear you on the cardboard j-flute, but being heavily processed & coated, it seems fine, or at least I haven’t heard of any negative reactions from any collectors. The oak is always cautioned against since there are so many oak cabinets & drawer sets out there which look appealing as display units, but which can cause a reaction (so I hear).

Poplar has been used for centuries for the saya or scabbards of Japanese swords The storage scabbard or shirasaya (lit. white wood) is a “resting” scabbard for the blade when it is not mounted in formal fittings. When a blade is newly/freshly polished, a fresh shirasaya is made to protect it. poplar is the wood of choice. (Maple in recent years is sometimes used because of the grain) Even straight grain, warp resistant, relatively hard but easy to work, no resins, sap, tannin or other contaminates to harm the blade. The blade is steel and the habaki or collar that is fitted to the blade at the junction of the tang and blade to fit it snugly in the scabbard, can be made from copper, brass, silver, gold. or alloys of these. In many years of collecting these swords I have never seen any corrosion on the habaki, blade or other fittings in contact with the poplar wood parts of the sword. Excluding exposure to H2O. my $.02.

Thanks Sportclay, that’s good info

Outside of using new oak for the cabinets and/or drawers, I’d be more leery of those corrugated cardboard trays. Much of today’s paper product comes from third-world countries and I sometimes think they use cow urine (or worse) in the manufacture.

If you have access to a local paper mill (do they still cut down trees in ME?), I’d advise you to visit them and see if they can sell you some acid-free corrugated cardboard. That’s what I did. Or, simply go plastic. It’s the greener choice - or maybe not.

Ray

The corrugated stuff I have came from a collector who had already been using it with success for years without any condition issues. SO far so good, but I check them often to see if there is any sign of tarnish or corrosion on the brass.

If your Cardboard “corrugations” are made from Chlorine Bleached Pulp, you will eventually get tarnish. Same for all species of Pine They are deadly for Brass cases ( and Lead Bullets.)

The Best thing is to Lacquer the Wood or Card with a good Poly lacquer…that will seal in any acids etc, which cause staining/tarnishing or corrosion.

Doc AV

Actually its the Tannin in the hard woods (oak, mahogany, cherry, red wood) that you need to watch out for. Tannic acid is what is commercially made from extracting the weak acid out of the wood. Coating them with poly or sand and sealer helps but does not stop the gasses from being released out of end cuts or pin holes. Popular is best bet, but stay away from the soft woods pine, cypress and cedar.
Personally I “age” my sections in a cherry cabinet that has poly. In a month the fresh cut metals start to oxidize and become tarnished helping it to be distinguished from each other. After 2 months the lead starts to turn purple, at which point they are taken out and put into airtight containers.
The corrugated cardboard should be acid free. I use in combination with acid free foam core board that can be cut with a razor knife, comes from hobbies/art stores and Walmart for my dividers. Just make sure it says acid free.
Also use acid free Ricker mounts that are 3/4 inch tall and fits into slim draws. They have a glass (or plastic) tops helping to stop any oxidizing from contaminates in the air. Great for separating collections and are easier to handle while on the move.
Kevin