Part 38 - Shop Walkthrough, Part One
by Lord Thomas the Black


Shop Walkthrough

            Welcome back to another episode of MTV's "Cribs" mean, another edition of "Blackmaille"!

            Lots of people ask me how I make my maille; do I work out of Tupperware containers, do I have a portable setup, etc. They want to know what my workspace looks like, what do I store my rings in, etc. So, I thought I'd take this month and next (I had to split this article for size reasons) and give you a tour of my shop.

            Up until almost two years ago, my "workspace" consisted of my living room coffee table. My apartment was little more than a shop in and of itself. It was a mess, but then, I was a bachelor. What can I say? When we bought our house, however, one of the biggest selling points (for me, at least) was a workshop set up in the basement, which I immediately claimed in the name of maille!

            A quick note before we begin: I haven't cleaned a thing, so the shop is a mess. I didn't want to be one of those people who obsessively straighten everything up, leaving the impression that this is how the shop actually runs. My shop is a mess, and that's how I roll. Deal with it. 

Fig. 1 – The entrance. Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here.

Fig. 2 - The "desk". Right inside the front door, to the right. I keep notes and research materials here, until I get around to putting them in the appropriate binders.

Fig. 3 - The inside of the front door. The bulletin board and dry-erase board hold notes on current projects, in this case, the riveted coif.

Fig. 4 - More research materials. I like to keep everything close so I can look something up without having to run to the library. I keep some art supplies and design materials up on top, and the niche below holds my miscellaneous rings and jewelry findings.

Fig. 5 - Shelf, Pt 2. On top are my sketch pads, graph paper, and charts for inlays. The middle shelf is a display of past works. The framed certificate is the scroll for my Leather Mallet (an SCA Arts & Sciences award). The bottom is a niche in the workbench for miscellaneous things.

Fig. 6 - Shelf, pt 3. SCA and Baronial promotional flyers on top. Leatherworking tools on the next shelf down, then artist's lightboxes and more research notebooks (I do a staggering amount of research). The bottom compartment holds my riveted maille supplies. 

Fig. 7 - A series of ring-storage jars, labeled with contents. 

Fig. 8 - The "Wall of Tools". The shop came equipped with the pegboard, so all I had to do is buy the hooks and hang everything up. And there's still room for more! 

Fig. 9 - The left wall (as you enter). The small shelves hold all the chemical supplies (tumbling medium, metal polishes, blackening oils, paint, etc). Below you can see a maille vest, and some posters from past seasons at the renaissance festival.

End of Part One 

            Thank you for visiting my shop today. Part two of our tour will continue next month. Thanks for joining me for another edition of "Blackmaille"! As usual, any questions, comments, fan mail, or hate mail can be sent to:

                                    c/o Tom Beckett
                                    13628 Belmead Ave
                                    Grandview, MO 64030

            Happy mailling!


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