I love Bon Echos new cache TC2L1H TC Park and Grab. By co-incidence for Christmas I have treated myself to a stamp making kit so I hope to be producing letterbox stamps in the near future. Should TC have an official letterbox type cache- possibly cross listed on official letterbox sites? Answers on a post card (stamped appropriately).......
We too have a TC/Letterbox Cross-over: TC56Q1
If TC were to have a letterbox type I'd like to make a couple suggestions:
- In the spirit of letterboxing, it should be an offset or puzzle type. Using clues like one would find in a letterbox site listing. IE: paces, directions, terrain features. Posted coordinates would be for the starting point or trailhead, not the location of the container.
- Lets not have it simply be a traditional cache that has a stamp in it. (As is the case elsewhere.)
There are two stamps used in letterboxing. Each letterbox has it's own unique stamp that the finder uses to mark their personal logbook. These stamps are usually hand-carved and have an image representative to the letterbox location or theme. I put mine on to 3x5 cards and keep them in a small album.
The other stamp is the finder's personal one. (Like the one you saw me using back in February.) This stamp is entered into the letterbox logbook as part of the record of finders (in lieu of a signature).
Collecting the unique stamps from various hides is an enjoyable aspect of letterboxing, as is creating your own stamps.
Here's a link that'll explain letterboxing a little better for you.
JASTA 11's link provides a wealth of interesting information about the origins of letterboxing. I was lucky enough to grow up around 35 miles from the edge of Dartmoor and whilst at school did a bit of letterboxing at the time when it was just starting to become more widely known about. The story we were told at the time (c 1978 give or take a year or so) was that the original letterboxes were just that- letterboxes. As farms on the moor were quite remote from the towns, the few people living on the moor would leave letters to be posted in the letterbox and any passing traveller who was heading into town would pick them up and take them to the post office. That tradition was certainly still happening in the 1970's as I have somewhere in my loft- couldn't find it when I looked just now- a postcard with a letterbox stamp on it (and a real one as well!) from one of our trips to Dartmoor where I left a self addressed card in one of the letterboxes (not either of the first two I am pretty sure) and it was delivered a week or two later.
By the time we spent a couple of days there in 1990 (on our honeymoon) letterboxing had become a lot more commercialised with letterbox stamps in many local pubs etc. and you could purchase a booklet with the latest clues in it. Now of course it's all on the internet.
I've been meaning to comment on this thread, but now I have to. WPB, you carved those stamps? The lettering is perfect! And only 4 cm? Tiny. Is this with the carving kit you just bought? I'm going to assume it is the speedball kit with the pink Speedy Carve (the most popular stamp carving medium on "this side of the pond")? I am super impressed.
As for Z_Statman's question, all I can say is find a few dozen letterboxes and you will see they are different from the typical multicache. Although a multicache in your area might be different from one around here. You can do a letterbox without a GPS (but you can't do a groundspeak letterbox hybrid without a GPS since "significant GPS usage" is a requirement). To me a multi uses coordinates to get from one stage to the next - those coordinates may be hidden such as a bison tubes with the coordinate inside, or maybe you count something and do some math to calculate a set of coordinates; in letterboxing you just use clues and landmarks (and sometimes a compass). Some are very straightforward (follow trail past bench, find 3-trunked tree, box is hidden at the base of the tree); others are more cryptic or you solve a puzzle to get the clues. But even those must ultimately use landmarks to guide you to the box. Hope I explained that well enough.
I have to admit that although I am 100% responsible for the design and manufacture of the stamps they are not produced by carving. No way could I carve to that detail! I used a photopolymer gel. To simplify the process in a couple of lines. You produce a black and clear negative of the stamp you want and then put it over the gel. You then expose the gel to UV light and the gel showing through the clear parts of the negative hardens up. You wash the unset gel off and, Bingo! You have a stamp. Once you have made the negative the process takes about 5-10 minutes. Making the negative a bit longer