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Solutions For The Deskless?


oraxia
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It's becoming apparent that my growing collection of inks and other writing supplies are going to need a home, but unfortunately I do not have a writing desk of any sort, nor do I have room for one in our cramped rental townhouse. I've been using our dining table, but this is annoying my darling husband as we have no proper place to eat meals with my stationery and supplies all over it. I'm hoping to find something that would be somewhat mobile (imagine a mobile calligraphy/letter writing kit, if you will), so I could pack it up and take it elsewhere (like maybe a pen meetup or coffee shop) with a reasonably tidy deployment.

 

Currently I've got a little pencil box holding most of my dip pen holders and a little tin for my nibs, and two little travel watercolor sets in tins. Everything else (notepads, cards, envelopes, ink bottles) is kind of stacked inside of a random cardboard box, which doesn't really lend itself to easy access or packing away. Oh, except for my wax seals, which are in a little plastic craft box that doesn't fit them all that well. My couple of fountain pens are in an eyeglass case, with but one exception that lives in a place of honor.

 

I'm probably missing something obvious, but my first thought was some form of tackle box. There's a bajillion out there, and I have no idea what would do well for holding my current collection with some wiggle room for a little expansion, so if you have something that's worked for you and know the brand/model, please let me know! Even just ideal measurements would help, I'm pretty lost. (Truthfully, however, it should not have room for too much more expansion... Having a severely limited space will help me be more selective in my acquisitions.) I also very much like the Travelling Desk, but I'd need to find some kind of insert (I think) to keep things well seated in the interior part--I don't like the idea of bottles of ink rolling around in the bottom for likely obvious reasons. (Also, with the shipping to the US, the Travelling Desk is fairly pricey... But if there's an easy/great solution to partitioning the large interior cavity, I might be willing to splurge anyway.)

 

I am open to other desk-less suggestions, because I really am not sure what else is out there that might help in my situation (other than maybe moving to an area with cheaper housing). I've considered possibly getting a gateleg table like the Ikea Norden or a wall-mounted murphy desk (maybe not good for a rental), but that still leaves me with no way to easily store my supplies when the desk is not deployed (and it would have to spend most of its time not deployed if we are to be able to traverse the narrow little house).

 

Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated! :)

Nevermind me! I'm just an inkling, a mere pigment of your imagination...

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I suggest a portable campaign desk. They are available to meet a variety of needs in a variety of sizes and configurations. Another possibility is a machinist's chest. I have both.

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I'm single, and probably not as cramped as you. But I live in one of the smallest houses in my town, and that's not an exaggeration. I tried my kitchen table (no dining room). But, the kitchen is in an addition and not well heated. Winter in North Dakota makes it uncomfortable unless I'm cooking.

 

I use a simple lap desk for writing. My inks and pens fit easily into a small space. The pens are in leather pen cases on my bookshelf. The inks are in a small, available space on a bookshelf.

Proud resident of the least visited state in the nation!

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I keep my pen repair supplies in two small toolboxes (outgrown those two. I m ready for a third.lol.)

Inks are in shoe boxes which keep out the light and stack well, and I too use a lap desk for writing. Have one in every room of the house.

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I suggest a portable campaign desk. They are available to meet a variety of needs in a variety of sizes and configurations. Another possibility is a machinist's chest. I have both.

 

It took me a little deeper of a dive than expected to figure out what a portable campaign desk was--I'd seen a LOT of desks that claim to be a "campaign desk" in my initial small table searches which simply mimic the look and I hadn't realized that they were based on something that actually folded up and was portable! Learned something new today :) (Still trying to find a good image that shows how the legs fold up, although I am guessing they are typically a separate folding piece like those folding luggage racks.) I will definitely search further down this route (apparently they may also be called "field desks"), because if I can find a small and truly portable one, that does sound like the perfect solution! Thank you so much :D

 

 

I had seen the antique style folding lap desk (well, this version of it, your link is cheaper) when I had been looking up what a writing slope was and thought it looked a bit shallow for holding ink bottles, but the inkwell storage box looks more promising. Perhaps I should search with that term? I'm realizing that I probably need to start measuring every item I am interested in putting in the box rather than approximating, because I think things are going to be a tighter fit in whatever I find than I had perhaps intended... Thank you for the helpful links! :)

Nevermind me! I'm just an inkling, a mere pigment of your imagination...

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In our former apartment we (husband and I) had the IKEA Norden table, too and really liked it because it is a flexible and somewhat neutral solution which works in many situations and types of rooms.

 

I'm glad to see a note on the Norden--it's nice to see that it actually has been a good solution for someone already, and I think I am still considering unless whatever solution I come up with has a built in table surface (like the campaign desk suggestion). Thank you for letting me know about your experience with the table! :)

Nevermind me! I'm just an inkling, a mere pigment of your imagination...

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I'm single, and probably not as cramped as you. But I live in one of the smallest houses in my town, and that's not an exaggeration. I tried my kitchen table (no dining room). But, the kitchen is in an addition and not well heated. Winter in North Dakota makes it uncomfortable unless I'm cooking.

 

I use a simple lap desk for writing. My inks and pens fit easily into a small space. The pens are in leather pen cases on my bookshelf. The inks are in a small, available space on a bookshelf.

 

Yikes, the kitchen is in an unheated addition? :o Dare I ask how the inhabitants prepared food before said addition? (Also, anything unheated in a place like North Dakota sounds frightening to me...)

 

I'm thankfully not in so chilly an area, but I am in an earthquake-prone one, so pretty much anything glass or breakable on my shelves is either on the very bottom shelf or museum puttied down. I'm hoping for a solution that would afford the bottles and such some protection if I were to put it on a shelf, but in reality, it will likely be stored on a closet floor etc. I had initially looked into lap desks (like the ones used for laptops) and C tables for use at the sofa, and they may very well be part of whatever solution I land on. I think that's essentially what the Travelling Desk that I'd seen was trying to be (although having a built-in cushion sounds nice). If I can find one with a decent storage compartment, that might keep things together in a safe/tidy way just as well. Thanks :)

 

I keep my pen repair supplies in two small toolboxes (outgrown those two. I m ready for a third.lol.)

Inks are in shoe boxes which keep out the light and stack well, and I too use a lap desk for writing. Have one in every room of the house.

 

Toolboxes were another thought along the same line as the tackle boxes--they really seem well suited, but man, there are so many different kinds! :unsure: Although if you're ready for a third one, I guess you haven't had great luck in finding the perfect fit either! :P Since you've branched out into multiple boxes and have clearly had that setup for some time, I was wondering if you felt it was better to have your kit divided up into multiple smaller boxes or if you would consider having one big box for everything? I think I had in my mind the single box solution, but perhaps I need to reconsider.

 

My inks are currently in a cardboard box, which I was viewing as a very temporary solution, but perhaps I should revisit it. It wouldn't be terribly hard to make some cardboard partitions, it's just not as sturdy as a wooden or metal casing solution. Thank you so much for your input, I've got a lot more to think about! :)

Nevermind me! I'm just an inkling, a mere pigment of your imagination...

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A temporary solution might me a couple of trays to stack materials on and easily move on and off the dining table or a brief case, or small hard suitcase . There is also this post about an everyday carry:

 

https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/307022-a-portable-dip-pen-workstation/

 

I hadn't seen this EDC solution post, thank you for pointing it out to me! :) It seems like more of a solution for taking a portion of a larger collection on the go rather than containing the whole collection in a portable manner, but I could definitely see this as something I would like to put together once I have a system for the home collection! I'd seen some references to using dinky dips for dip pen before, and I'll have to look into acquiring a few for a future travel kit like this. Trays are not a bad temporary solution, either, since those can probably be easily slid under the bed etc. Thanks! :D

Nevermind me! I'm just an inkling, a mere pigment of your imagination...

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Yes, the campaign desk legs are not attatched and do fold up like a portable luggage rack. I bought mine at an antique shop for a fraction of the cost of a new one for while it isn't new, it also isn't old enough to really be considered a valuable antique. I don't know how furniture prices are where you live, but here the cost of truely excellent pieces, even very high end go for a song, if they are not made by an important furniture designer, or are antiques. I have seen furniture pieces which when new sold in the thousands being sold as used in the hundreds.

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Yes, the campaign desk legs are not attatched and do fold up like a portable luggage rack. I bought mine at an antique shop for a fraction of the cost of a new one for while it isn't new, it also isn't old enough to really be considered a valuable antique. I don't know how furniture prices are where you live, but here the cost of truely excellent pieces, even very high end go for a song, if they are not made by an important furniture designer, or are antiques. I have seen furniture pieces which when new sold in the thousands being sold as used in the hundreds.

 

That sounds amazing! I wonder if I can road trip to your neck of the woods to find one... Granted, I haven't perused a great deal of antique shops here, but what I have seen seems a bit over-valued to my uncultured eye :blush: But I've also never looked for a campaign desk, so perhaps I will have to give that a try! Thank you for the clarification on the legs! :)

Nevermind me! I'm just an inkling, a mere pigment of your imagination...

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I use one of these for my inks - a wood soda crate I picked up at Michael's"

 

http://www.michaels.com/rtf-wood-soda-crate-by-artminds/10280266.html

 

 

I started a more involved thread on it earlier this year. The dividers have a little bit of glue holding them in, but are easily adjustable. (I removed two)

Brad

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind" - Rudyard Kipling
"None of us can have as many virtues as the fountain-pen, or half its cussedness; but we can try." - Mark Twain

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I use one of these for my inks - a wood soda crate I picked up at Michael's"

 

http://www.michaels.com/rtf-wood-soda-crate-by-artminds/10280266.html

 

 

I started a more involved thread on it earlier this year. The dividers have a little bit of glue holding them in, but are easily adjustable. (I removed two)

 

Ooo, thanks for the tip :) There's a Michael's near me, I'll have to stop by this weekend. I like the idea of an enclosed system for everything, but if nothing else, that might be an excellent interim solution for the ink bottles! Of course, that might enable me to buy more bottles (I have rather less than 24 bottles right now), but I think I'm willing to take that risk for now ;) Thank you!

Nevermind me! I'm just an inkling, a mere pigment of your imagination...

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