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stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Mar 11, 2019 9:04am
Board
We boxed this weekend, and found several boxes/pouches with stamps in felt pouches. The pouches were saturated with water - so much that we could squeeze out the water. And, of course, the logbooks were looking pretty sad too.

Normally, we don't get much rain, but this year is exceptionally wet. Do other parts of the country use felt/cloth pouches for their stamps? I didn't feel right about putting something soggy back into these boxes.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972556 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 9:13am
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I use them, primarily to contain the excess ink, as well as to protect the stamp. However, I also place the stamp and logbook in a ziplock bag and seal it, before I put it in the LockNLock container. Leaks do happen sometimes, despite our efforts as planters to plant well and with good materials, but I don't recall getting any finder messages about soggy pouches. My boxes are primarily in IL, but I have many in Hawaii, CO, and other states too. Climate does not seem to be an issue....
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972556 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 9:15am
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California boxer here - we have found quite a few felt pouches. Pretty common here.

But, imho, the problem is the lack of a WP container not the felt.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972556 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 9:22am
Board
I often use felt pouches when I plant here in New England. But I also use pint-sized freezer bags and decent locking boxes, which helps keep the box contents dry.

I would hope that someone would remove the soaked felt pouch and replace the baggie if they found that one of my boxes was waterlogged.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972556 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 9:25am
Board
Midwest planters often use felt wrappers or pouches. Occasionally I find a naked stamp - no felt, no paper towel wrapper, nothing, but the inner surface of the bag and the logbook are a mess.
As for the wet felt ~ if it's wet enough to wring out, I dry the insides of the bags or provide new ones, and repackage the stamp without the felt. I leave it in the box but the moisture can't get to the rest of the contents because they're inside new freezer bags, and the felt is not. Then I alert the planter of the felt's condition, and hope they're active.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972556 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 9:41am
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This is where finders can be helpful maintenance/rescue people. I carry some paper towels, fresh baggies, "emergency" logbooks, and even a couple felt strips in my backpack. It only takes a couple minutes to dry off the box and contents, wrap the stamp in new felt, replace the baggies, and add a temporary dry logbook. The real problem is the wet logbook. There are sometimes ways to dry and salvage it, but it might involve taking it home or returning it to the planter. In the meantime, add a temporary replacement, and contact the planter.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972562 by Wise Wanderer
Mar 11, 2019 10:53am
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Yes, we were running out of maintenance supplies as we were trying to help out these poor boxes, and have contacted the owners, who unfortunately, are out of the area (like ourselves) and have added comments for future finders.

The main culprit seems to be people who don't zip up properly, and only using one bag. I have found perfectly dry contents (double bagged) floating in water before.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972558 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Mar 11, 2019 10:59am
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Hi DZ&ECP,

Yeah, I was wondering if I ought not to use felt pouches anymore, but it looks like it is a common practice across the country. Maybe it's just carelessness on the part of a few boxers that we happen to have "followed" on our road trip?

~J
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972563 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 11:25am
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only using one bag. I have found perfectly dry contents (double bagged) floating in water before.

I only use one bag when I plant. In most cases, there simply isn't room in the box to double-bag.

Around here, single-bagging is pretty much the norm.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972565 by Rocklun
Mar 11, 2019 11:37am
Board
I use a single bag, too, but it's always freezer bag, so it has a double zipper and the walls of the bags are thicker. I don't know the difference in cost between sandwich bags and freezer bags, but it seems to make a difference in how well the box withstands the seasons. To me, it's worth the extra ¢¢¢.

~ and how do I manage always to have freezer bags on hand? They are not kept in the kitchen.
Look ~ the sandwich is expected to survive for half a day; then it's eaten. The letterbox's logbook should last for a much longer time, right? Use the right tool for the job.
-- A Message from your Quality Control Team
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972556 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 12:07pm
Board
Do other parts of the country use felt/cloth pouches for their stamps?

I wrap my stamps in felt, then put the felt-wrapped stamp in a baggie.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972566 by Maude
Mar 11, 2019 12:12pm
Board
and how do I manage always to have freezer bags on hand? They are not kept in the kitchen.

Exactly!! My husband will grab any ol' baggie, so I make sure my preciousss freezer pint-sized baggies are hidden in my office!
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972564 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 12:24pm
Board
Yeah, I was wondering if I ought not to use felt pouches anymore, but it looks like it is a common practice across the country.

The felt is not the issue. It's the lack of a waterproof container, quality plastic bags, choice of hiding spot. Tightness of fit also plays a part. I find that if the contents (inside the plastic bags) fit tightly inside a waterproof container as opposed to flopping around in a too big container it makes a difference also.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972564 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 12:49pm
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Hi J&J
I didn’t mean to imply that there was a problem with the boxes we’ve found. I think felt is a good option and we use it ourselves.

I was offering a possible explaination to the OP. Because let’s face it, if the felt gets soaked the logbook will also be toast.

Good quality baggies, double, with a decent WP container is the key to healthy boxes - without those, felt won’t matter one way or the other in my humble opinion.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972572 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Mar 11, 2019 3:27pm
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if the felt gets soaked the logbook will also be toast.

Which is the reason for using two bags, one for the logbook alone and another one for the stamp. I've found a soaked stamp and dry logbook in the same container........because the logbook was in it's own bag.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972572 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Mar 11, 2019 3:53pm
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Good quality baggies, double, with a decent WP container is the key to healthy boxes - without those, felt won’t matter one way or the other in my humble opinion.

Definitely true. But, in our one case, the planted stamp was over 10 years old - the original box probably long gone. We found the stamp in one chewed up (animal?) freezer zip lock. Someone's previous maintenance? We tossed the soggy felt pouch, and did a double bag, inside of a camo zip pouch (the only thing we had on hand), so essentially, the contents are now protected by 3 seals.

But, the soggy felt got me thinking - what are the benefits of using felt vs. not? It's nice to have if the box contents have been properly re-sealed by the last finder, but if not, it just retains water, can get moldy, etc. and is just another something a future finder has to deal with. Do people get more joy if they find a stamp wrapped in felt/felt bag, or will they be just as happy if it was wrapped in a small piece of paper towel? If people are just as happy, I'd personally skip the felt to give a little more space in my boxes for those double baggies :)

J
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972576 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 3:57pm
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Do people get more joy if they find a stamp wrapped in felt/felt bag, or will they be just as happy if it was wrapped in a small piece of paper towel?

Well, I'd never say "oh, this stamp is wrapped in a crappy old PAPER TOWEL, so I'm going to rate the box as a 1!!"

I'd say do whatever you feel is best! :^)
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972576 by JampersandJ
Mar 11, 2019 4:11pm
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But, the soggy felt got me thinking - what are the benefits of using felt vs. not?

To me it's just an esthetic thing. I've done plants with felt and without felt. I don't consider it a necessity. It's kind of a crafty thing I guess.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972577 by Rocklun
Mar 11, 2019 4:22pm
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this stamp is wrapped in a crappy old PAPER TOWEL,

I'll admit the paper towel thing is a pet peeve of mine. If it's a permanent plant the paper towel will eventually turn into a shredded, inky, useless mess that needs to be thrown out. Or should be. And the more traffic the box has the quicker the paper towel will turn into a mess.

People will carve an amazing stamp, maybe hand make a nice logbook and then wrap the stamp in paper towel. I don't get that.

Either don't use anything for the stamp or wrap it in some kind of fabric, felt, cut up an old t-shirt, something. Or nothing.

Better nothing than eventually useless shredded, paper towel. Actually if it's a series with one logbook at the end, just put the stamp in a container by itself. If it gets wet I can use the old wash cloth I carry to dry it off or dry it on my pants. No biggy.

And I don't rate boxes so that's not an issue.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972579 by MissMoon
Mar 11, 2019 4:53pm
Board
If it's a permanent plant the paper towel will eventually turn into a shredded, inky, useless mess that needs to be thrown out. Or should be

I don't mind replacing an inky old paper towel, since I figure it's supposed to be replaced as needed (like baggies), but I am hesitant to remove anything more permanent, even if it's in bad shape.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972579 by MissMoon
Mar 11, 2019 5:40pm
Board
the paper towel will eventually turn into a shredded, inky, useless mess that needs to be thrown out.

I find that if the stamp had a lot of leftover ink on it, paper towel tends to stick to it and end up being shredded when you try to take it off. Cloth is more durable. I’m not great with a needle, but you can get a nice “pouch” from a shirt pocket or an old sock.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972576 by JampersandJ
Mar 12, 2019 12:30am
Board
Do people get more joy if they find a stamp wrapped in felt/felt bag, or will they be just as happy if it was wrapped in a small piece of paper towel?

That's actually not the issue. The rubbers we carve are not actually rubber; they are various forms of soft plastic. And if they get crammed into a container cockeyed or whatnot and then sit for weeks jammed up against the side of the container, they can get permanently distorted. The felt is to help protect the carved rubber from being unduly stressed when stored. If there is no felt, I'll typically install a paper towel -- a whole paper towel, folded to fit -- because that's better than nothing.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972579 by MissMoon
Mar 12, 2019 12:33am
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If it's a permanent plant the paper towel will eventually turn into a shredded, inky, useless mess that needs to be thrown out.

When I come across a stamp wrapped in a shredded, inky, useless mess, I replace it with a new paper towel. Actually, I almost always replace paper towels.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972582 by Sheba
Mar 12, 2019 4:41am
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I’m not great with a needle, but you can get a nice “pouch” from a shirt pocket or an old sock.

I'm too unmotivated to take out my sewing machine to make a pouch, but I can whip up a no-sew felt pouch in 5 minutes. I fold a piece of regular wool felt in half and then stab the two sides with a felting needle until the fibers join (I flip it over a couple of time). It's easy and kind of therapeutic!
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972565 by Rocklun
Mar 12, 2019 4:46am
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((I only use one bag when I plant. In most cases, there simply isn't room in the box to double-bag. ))

Why not just use a container that will fit two bags?

I coordinate the box.....I carve the stamp a certain size and use a logbook that will fit into a container using two bags. Or the other way round.....coordinate the size of the container to the stamp and logbook.

It just takes a little planning. Most of the boxes I find in NY, CT, and MA have two bags.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972597 by MissMoon
Mar 12, 2019 5:07am
Board
Why not just use a container that will fit two bags?

I use a lot of small, round boxes in order to have the most flexibility when planting. Double-bagging doesn't work in those boxes.
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972596 by Rocklun
Mar 12, 2019 8:56am
Board
I fold a piece of regular wool felt in half and then stab the two sides with a felting needle until the fibers join. It's easy and kind of therapeutic!

Stabbing, therapeutic!? Note to self: Don’t go boxing with Rocklun.

😀
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972605 by DarkZen and Evil Cow Pie
Mar 12, 2019 9:21am
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Stabbing, therapeutic!? Note to self: Don’t go boxing with Rocklun.

Are you saying that doing a craft that makes me feel a little like Norman Bates in the Psycho shower scene isn't necessarily a healthy thing??? 🗡😜
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972607 by Rocklun
Mar 12, 2019 9:55am
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Are you saying that doing a craft that makes me feel a little like Norman Bates in the Psycho shower scene isn't necessarily a healthy thing???

It wasn't healthy for ME!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psOYjzL_w_0
Re: stamps and felt pouches
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #972556 by JampersandJ
Mar 12, 2019 10:31am
Board
i find that less is more. keep it simple 😁