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How to Repair Split Boxes

Greg Aleknevicus

September, 2000

One of the most annoying problems I run into when purchasing games in thrift stores is the frequency with which the boxes have split corners—very aggravating. There are a couple of ways to fix this; the most common method is simply to tape it up. Hardly an attractive solution and it tends not to be very solid in any case. There are also "corner repair" stickers available. These are thin, stiff pieces of cardboard with glue on one side that you can apply to the inside corner of a split. I've only tried them a few times and wasn't entirely pleased with the results. Eventually I came up with the following procedure which works very well in my opinion and doesn't require any exotic materials.

(You can click on the pictures to get a much larger view.)

The split corner

Our "patient".

Split repair kit

The tools we'll require:

  • White glue
  • Angle bracket
  • 2 binder clips
  • Q-Tips
Applying a bead of glue

Apply a very thin line of glue along a single edge of the split. Be careful not to apply too much as this is somewhat visible from the outside.

Less is more!

If you apply too much (and it's easy to do) you can use your finger to spread it around and wipe off the excess.

Angle bracket for support

Place the angle bracket behind the split. (Another reason you want to make sure not to apply too much glue is so that none gets on the bracket.)

Clip one side...

Attach one of the binder clips to one side, clipping it on the angle bracket. You can then make final adjustments to the actual join, making sure that everything is lined up perfectly.

...and then the other.

Once the join is lined up, attach the other binder clip.

The bracketed corner

The properly positioned bracket and binder clips.

Apply glue to the split

Apply a line of glue into the corner of the box. Neatness isn't that big of a concern but you don't need very much at all. (In fact, most of what you apply here will be wiped up later anyway.)

A bead of glue

The applied glue. (The amount shown is actually quite a bit, much more than you'll actually need.)

Wipe off the excess

Using a Q-Tip, wipe up the excess glue. Use light pressure going over the join several times. You may need to use several Q-Tips if you used a lot of glue. Note that for the box top you need to be careful that the remaining bead of glue is quite small. If you leave too large a bead it can interfere with the closing of the top (depending on how tight the two halves fit together).

Let it dry

There should be very little glue left once you're done—just a small little line in the very corner of the split. Let it sit for several hours (or overnight) and you're almost done.

Apply a TINY dollop of glue

Remove the bracket and clips. Depending on the condition of the split there's likely to be loose bits of paper and cardboard flapping about. Apply a tiny (and I do mean tiny) drop of glue to the backside of these bits...

Attach any loose bits

...and then use your thumb to spread it around. Preferably, you want to make sure that you only get glue on the underside of the loose bits. White glue can leave a dull finish which can detract from the repair.

The finished corner

The finished product. While not perfect, it's a lot better than what it was and much more functional.

One of the main reasons why boxes split in the first place is because of the way they're constructed. The actual cardboard sides aren't attached to each other at all, it's the covering paper that holds everything together. This paper is usually quite thin and subject to wear. If the paper gets rubbed enough it can become quite brittle or tear outright. Once a small tear starts, a complete split is likely to occur. One way of lessening this likelihood is to perform the above procedure on a non-split corner. Obviously you won't need the bracket or clips and can just run a small bead of glue down each corner and then wipe the excess off with the Q-Tips. This will result in a corner much stronger than the original.

- Greg Aleknevicus

For further notes on repairing splits, please see How to Repair Split Boxes 2.0.

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