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


Re: Mount Skip stamp

Not sure if I am the first - but I used your stamp this afternoon and it produced a very good image! The Letterbox is a fine idea. I walked up from Tintwistle by the shooting cabins and followed the compass bearings to the spot. I carried on over Featherbed Moss and down to Chew Reservoir and back over Wilderness. Do you know what all the bundles of fence posts and rolls of fence wire are for that are neatly arranged just above the Chew Reservoir dam? All the best Alan PS I very much enjoy your weblog.

Re: Mount Skip stamp

Thanks for your report, glad to hear the stamp works OK! I'm sure Bob will be pleased to hear that the directions work OK as well. When I put the stamp in the box I more-or-less followed the same route as you, except I headed in a straight line for the letterbox from Ogden - aren't GPSs wonderful ;-) On my way back I finally found the south-western end of the Chew Syphon pipeline tunnel - I've had several half-hearted attempts at looking for it over the years and somehow never managed to find it. As for the fence, is it old or new stuff? I do recollect seeing some posts and wire that were being taken out a while back. However if it is new I don't know what it is being used for, although the Rangers at Dovestones would be sure to know. And I'm glad you enjoy the blog, it's always nice to hear :-)

Re: Mount Skip stamp

The posts at the top of Chew were new - over forty sets of posts with 100m roll of fence wire each all neatly arranged. Is the syphon you located the other end of the one that comes out above Chew Brook west of wilderness?

Re: Mount Skip stamp

Tried to find the letter box today, failed. The snow and frozen ground did not help. Will try again in better weather.