Friday, May 2, 2008

From the Archives - Create a Stamp Caddy

Note: This post originally appeared on Stamps of Distinction on January 31, 2008. It was the first full entry that was ever posted. Even though it is a bit basic in premise, I thought I would bring it back from the archives since it seems like a great idea to help organize your collecting hobby.

Let's face reality. Sometimes we want to work on our stamp collection, but we don't want to sit at the kitchen table far away from our family or our favorite ballgame on TV. But most of us would like our coffee tables uncluttered with the mish-mash of tools that are necessary for the pursuit of our hobby. My solution was to buy a tool caddy like the one pictured.

This handy tool is made of rigid plastic and it is easy to stuff quite a few stamp tools in it. In mine, I have a spare set of tongs, an envelope of stamp hinges, a magnifying glass, a collection of glassine envelopes, a pen and pencil, watermarking tray and fluid, and a small group of collection cards. I also include a few envelopes and stamps in case I am working up a trade with one of my trading partners. If you were to look into mine right now, you would also find my latest packet of stamps that I have traded for and am in the process of mounting in my albums.

Obviously, not everything that I need for working with my stamp collection will fit into such a small space. I usually have a "red box" with stamps in it nearby, and of course the current album I am working in. But it does save me several trips back to my "official" stamp collection work area looking for that new pack of hinges, or the watermarking fluid, or whatever. I just carry the caddy into the living room, plop down on the couch while my wife is busy working on her hobbies. When finished, it is easy for me to pick up my tools and carry it back to my normal work area.

Do you have any favorite tools that help you enjoy the hobby? If so, leave me a comment with your ideas.


Joshua McGee said...

My caddy contains a small stack of black-backed stockcards (instead of glassines); a few strips of Hawid mounts (instead of hinges); a small, sharp pair of precision scissors; a mini stamp mount guillotine; two hand loupes of different strengths plus a tiny one that sits on the table with a built-in mm scale (for value settings, etc.); an acetate multi-gauge (graduated perf gauge, concentric circle gauge for cancels, protractor, rulers); and my APS stamp for working with circuit books.

I'm in the process of converting a really nice hand-tooled leather case (that used to hold an expensive bottle of whisky!) into my caddy. Ideally I would like a "tackle box-style" system in which I would lay the box on its back, open the "front door" (lid), and pull out three hinged stair-steps of philatelic goodness. I want to take internal measurements around to pro shops (maybe even hardware stores) to see if something exists that can be coaxed out of its current holder.

Failing that, I might try to make my own with basswood and brass hinges, but a lot of questions remain unanswered: Would I need to miter the corners, or would butt joints suffice? Would adhesives alone work or would I need mechanical fasteners (other than the hinges)? If so, would good-quality staples stand in for brads? It will take me more research.

Tony Servies said...

Great comment, Joshua. You have some excellent suggestions for additional items for a caddy.

Good luck with your next iteration! I hope you are able to come up with something nice for your latest and greatest caddy.