As a long-time geocacher, I have always been interested in the letterbox hybrids. Maybe it’s because of the different and not-so-often used icon. Maybe it’s because it’s different.
But I like them.
The stamps, the idea of them. It’s a different side of the game.
To go back in time, however, letterboxing was my first interest. That interest never came to fruition, however. I started geocaching March 1, 2008. But earlier that winter, the friend who introduced me to geocaching had mentioned letterboxing. I had done a little research on it and it seemed cool.
You got clues and had to follow them to find the treasure. When you got there, you used the stamp to make an imprint in your log book and then took your stamp and put it in the log book that resided in the box.
That sounded fun.
Alas, it was a tough winter. A bunch of snow and with everything else happening, we opted to wait until spring to try it. Of course, geocaching came along and pushed letterboxing back. I came across letterboxes many times during my caching excursions. It seems letterboxers and geocachers think alike in placing these items!
When I found one, I always looked. Sometimes I’d sign the log thinking I would like to try and find these online. I soon purchased a stamp and stamp pad at an art store to carry with me, in case I came across one or two or found the letterbox hybrids.
Still, I didn’t sign up anywhere.
Alas, this year has been tough. Without a steady flow of income, I looked to do more things around here. Late in the year, I found letterboxing and just a week or two ago, I went and found a few for my first “official” finds. I was still using that store-bought stamp, however.
I realized that most people didn’t use the store-bought type. I looked through past finders and saw some amazing stamps.
Luckily, Santa came through with a basic carving kit and a few other things needed to get carving.
I did my first carve Monday.
After reading a whole heap on carving and such, I found a piece of are that I thought would be somewhat easy to carve. With my love of my Irish heritage and because I often think of my trip to Ireland back in 2010, I decided a shamrock would be a perfect first carve. I found one I liked and went forward by tracing the image and then transferring it to the carving block.
I liked how the trace came out and it gave me an idea on what to do. I used several different carving bits to get the thickness and all. It was a learning process to me as I slowly carved away the pink rubber.
Carving, itself, was easy enough. You get rid of the open space to that your image is raised, becoming the stamp.
The tighter spots were harder. I had to switch out the carving tools for smaller bits, which was interesting to learn each one. I look forward to doing stamps with greater detail down the line.
In the end, this one didn’t take me too long. From start to finish, maybe about an hour or so. I thought for my first go at it, it came out OK. Some of the sides are a little sloppy, but I think that gives it a little character. Being I have a green ink pad, I at least had the color I think the stamp should be in!
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this stamp.
After reading a lot about letterboxing, I know that there are personal travelers that people can gather by meeting you. Because I know I’d like to get more into letterboxing, I did that with this one. I want to go to events and meet up with fellow letterboxers. And being this is my first carve, it’s a little special to me!
If you want to see the page for the personal traveler, click here.
I plan on attempting to carve my personal stamp sometime today or this week. I have a few other designs I want to try out as well. It’s a nice way to spend an hour or two when you feel “artsy.” It’s probably a good thing to be able to take a break from writing cover letters and sending out resumes to do something like this. Then I can go right back at it.
I am going to need to order some more rubber stamp material, however, as I think I’ll be going through what I have pretty quickly!
Now I just need to find some letterboxing events that aren’t far from me as I’d love to go to one. There are several in Massachusetts, so I’d be looking at a three-hour ride. I’m hoping to find some closer to me. And heck, depending where this job hunt takes me, maybe I’ll find myself in a letterbox hotbed!
So those of you reading — have you carved your own stamps? Any tips? And if you’re a letterboxer, leave your thoughts on the game, stamps and whatever else in the comments section!
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook by clicking the button on the right side of the page!