Part 8 - Ring Storage
by Lord Thomas the Black
Welcome back to Blackmaille, with your host: Thomas the Black! Let's get started…
Since my column last month on cutters, you should now have a fairly sizeable pile of rings sitting on your workbench (or coffee table, or floor, or wherever). You need something to put them in! Luckily for you, this month I'll be covering a few methods of sorting and storing your rings until use.
When choosing what to store your rings in, you need to consider a few things. For one, what kind of metal are your rings made from? If they're mild steel, for instance, they're likely to rust, and will need to be kept in something airtight. Do you do a lot of public demos? If so, you might want to get some period-looking wooden boxes. Do you do a lot of mail on the go? Something lightweight and portable may be for you. Hope-fully this article will help you make the decision that's best for you.
Wooden Boxes - These come in lots of different sizes and styles, from rustic-looking finished boxes to unfinished plain pine boxes. These are easily found at most Hobby Lobby stores. The finished boxes can get kind of expensive ($12.00 and up), so I'd go with the plain, unfinished boxes. They're quite a bit less expensive, come in a variety of styles and sizes, and allow you to decorate them yourself, with your device, some knotwork, whatever. Plus, they're plausibly period (depending on how you decorate them), so you can put them up on the table to work from at demos.
"Lays" Brand "Go-Snacks" Containers - I've found these to be great for people who do mail on the bus (for example), or while waiting for someone at the bookstore; basically, anywhere you have a few spare moments, but don't want to drag a lot of stuff around. They're compact, hold a lot of rings, and the cap doubles as a bowl to work from. In fact, I like to get two and save the cap from the second one so I have a tube with a cap on each end. The bad thing is they're plastic, so no good for demos.
Ziplock Bags - These come in a huge variety of sizes, from gallon-size freezer bags down to tiny little "crack bags". The larger sizes are good for storing huge amounts of rings, while I use the smaller ones to sort out tiny rings, odd metals, and jewelry fittings. They're "mostly" airtight, so your rings are less likely to rust, but they're not very durable (as anyone who's ever dropped a gallon bag of 14 gauge 3/8" rings can attest!).
Tupperware (Gladware) - While I haven't tried this personally, I have seen it done with both loose rings and finished projects. Tupperware (and its cheaper cousin Gladware) containers are airtight, waterproof, and stackable, and if you use the clear bins it's easy to tell at a glance what size rings they hold. Even if you don't use the clear containers, Tupperware and Gladware containers are easily labeled with a Sharpie marker.
"Gatorade" Jars - I recently found out that the plastic jars that Gatorade powder comes in (the orange and white ones that look like miniature coolers) are perfect for storing rings! They're compact, yet roomy; they store a lot of rings, and the white lids are airtight and easily labeled with a marker. In a pinch, the lid can double as a bowl to work from.
"Altoids" Tins - The little metal boxes from the "curiously strong mints" make curiously good ring containers, particularly for small rings or rings you don't use often. I even use mine for jewelry fittings. They come in a few different sizes, and if you don't want to look at a mint box, they can be easily painted to be more attractive. They're also easily labeled, to make sorting supplies easier.
These six methods are the ones I've found to work the best, but every mailler has their own preference. If you'd like to share your method, let me know! I'm always up for learning something new. The important thing is to find a container that suits your needs best.
As always, thanks for reading my column! If you have any mail-related questions, please send them to:
c/o Tom Beckett
6522 E 125th St, Apt 2
Grandview, MO 64030
Next month: Tips & Tricks!
See you next month!
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