Posted by Martin Wenzel
Temperature: -23 Degree C
Wind Speed: 5 to 10 knots
Temp with wind chill: -35 Degree C
As they say: “You can never have enough clamps”. It is certainly true while I am conserving hundreds of wooden food storage boxes here at Scott Base in Antarctica. After transporting them from the expedition bases of R.F.Scott and E. Shackleton to Scott Base, we have temporarily stored them in unheated containers outside the base.
Box before treatment © AHT / Martin
From there I take them one by one into our heated lab space and work on them as quickly as possible. In order to avoid splitting, distorting and delaminating, it is important to reduce to a minimum the time they are exposed to the warm and dry atmosphere inside. It almost becomes a game to try to do simultaneously as many gluing steps as possible.
Clamping © AHT / Martin
Once the clamps are off after about 2 to 3 hours, parts get reassembled, nailed joints strengthened and contents returned. Depending on the condition, a box will be out of the lab the same day, stored again at -20 to -30 degree C and waiting to be transported back to its original location.
Treated box © AHT/ Martin