The Portable Scribe


This post was inspired by a question asked on Facebook.  Roughly the question was, “What do you use as a scribe when you’re traveling to events?”  There were a lot of good answers being given.  I have a couple of different things I could take and I wanted to share pictures of them with you so people can get an idea of what I’m talking about.

But wait, before we get started with that, what would a medieval scribe have used as a portable scribal desk?  The real answer is that based on what we know, they could have traveled with a variety of different kinds of scribal desks as well as different scribal tools and materials.  I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a period fashion scribal desk and I love it.  And it is portable.  If by portable we mean one person can pick it up and carry it then yes, it is portable.  It also weighs pretty close to fifty pounds.  (22.67 KG) (3st 8pnds)

To see pictures of my scribal desk please visit my very unused flickr page

So what of the modern traveling SCA scribe?  Well its a bit different.  I actually prefer to use Plano’s fish tackle boxes.

Fish tackle box with a nice storage space in the lid and four (4) drawers inside it.

Fish tackle box with a nice storage space in the lid and four (4) drawers inside it.

We see that in the lid I can put ink bottles, as well as other things.

View from above opened top.

View from above opened top.

There are two slits in the side of the top compartment.  If you have a liquid leak it will come out, down the sides.  So when travelling I strongly recommend putting your ink in a zip lock style bag and then putting that into a second zip lock style bag.  This is known as double bagging and it has kept me from having to clean up huge messes several times.

I love having drawers to sort my stuff out.

Four (4) simple plastic drawers allows you to sort your stuff into an easy to find system.

Four (4) simple plastic drawers allows you to sort your stuff into an easy to find system.

I keep my pen holders, drafting pencil & graphite,  as well as erasers in the top drawer.

Pen holders, drafting graphite and erasers.

Pen holders, drafting graphite and erasers.

In my second drawer I use the small compartments to seperate out my nibs.

Nibs, glorious nibs.

Nibs, glorious nibs.

In the third drawer I have my corrections kit.  Curved and straight exacto blades, burnisher, rougher erasers, pounce and more.

The quick and needed corrections kit.

The quick and needed corrections kit.

And in the last drawer I keep…

Yes, that's right, toothbrushes.

Yes, that’s right, toothbrushes.

Keeping one’s nibs clean is very important to do and so I pack along toothbrushes.  I have extras in case a fellow scribe needs one.

As you can see it is very easy to compartmentalize my scribal kit into this fishing tackle box.  This style comes in many different sizes but they all more or less follow this same pattern I have a huge one that I use for Pennsic or large demos that I keep my gilding stuff in as well.

What kind of container should you use for portable?

Something that:

– Will take a beating.  Travelling is hard of stuff, and so your stuff needs to be tough;

– Can take having ink and other scribal materials spilled in and on it;

– That will be easy for you to transport and use;

– you will be happy with.

I do recommend taking a look at fishing tackle boxes because they are cheaper and tougher than any art box that I have seen.  In the end, use whatever works for you.

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