Mount Skip stamp

Letterbox stamp

As I was googling around to find the information for my last post on Bob and Len's letterbox, I noticed that all the sites mentioned something along these lines:

These boxes normally contain a visitors' book and a rubber stamp. On finding the box, hunters use the stamp to record the find in their own books or on a series of cards, and then mark the visitors' book in the box with their own personal stamps.

There are many letterboxes placed on Dartmoor, the majority of which are hard to find. Collecting letterbox stamp impressions is an enjoyable and challenging pastime.

Bob and Len's box is sadly lacking in the rubber stamp department, so I set about making one. There are bazillions of references on the web on how to do this, the basic technique is to carve a plastic pencil eraser with the design of your choice. I'm not particularly artistic so I decided a simple place name would be the best - the letterbox isn't particularly near anywhere, so I chose 'Mount Skip' as it is reasonably close, and it has the fewest letters to carve ;-) The easiest way to do the design is to edit it on a PC, then print it on a laserprinter, or photocopy it. You then put the paper face down on an eraser and with a cool iron, press the paper for a few seconds. Let it go cold, and gently peel the paper off - hey presto! the toner has transferred to the eraser. You then set about hacking away everything but the design from the eraser - in my case 'hack' was the operative word! I used a scalpel, and a set of jewellers screwdrivers for small details, e.g. the center of the 'o' and the 'p' - you can twizzle them around and drill out small details - you can see the final result above. I carved a cavity the size of the eraser into a bit of wood and glued the eraser in to make it easier to hold and to give it a bit of protection - it's my first effort so I'm not sure how robust it will be, but I can easily make another. If I was doing this on a regular basis I'd certainly consider get hold of a stand-mounted magnifying glass and some linoleum cutters, which seems to be the standard recommended toolkit for eraser carving.

I popped up to the letterbox this afternoon and put the stamp in the box, so I'm now eagerly awaiting the first visitor to use it - if it's you add a comment below to let me know!

Categories : Peak District