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DragonsWest

Make your own wooden nickels / wood tokens

21 posts in this topic

A while back I priced wooden nickels and decided they were kinda pricey - not extreme, but enough.

 

Investigating an idea a couple weeks back I found you can get very high quality rubber stamps made, very inexpensively, and make your own tokens using stamps, ink pads and wood blanks, which cost under $0.10 each.

 

Here are some early efforts. To improve quality I'll be building a jig, using about $14 in parts and wood from the store, so I can perfectly center each disc and get uniform impressions. With available ink pads from art stores the possibilities are very interesting indeed, limited to your own creativity.

 

geotoken.jpg

 

More pictures and explanation to follow.

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Very cool. Nice work!

 

I've been working on some wooden nickels myself, although not using stamps to get the image onto the wood.

 

In any case, what are you planning to use for sealing/coating the wood after stamping? I've looked at a few products at the hobby shop, but haven't figured out yet which is the most appropriate/effective.

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If your jig works out I would love to see photos.

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So a few bucks at the builder store got me some C-Clamps, a piece of interrior trim wood, which was perfectly about 5 inches on a side, and some scraps of wood. I needed two frames in the jig, one to place the token, which proved too deep, still, so I stuck token to the back to elevate the one being worked on. The second frame is for the stamp, so it goes in consistently on center.

 

The ink I used can be set with heat. So far I've only air dried them, but will place them on a cookie sheet, over paper towns and toast them lightly for a short spell in the oven. Try to get temp around 180 degrees or so.

 

Cost of goods:

Stamps: $11 each (rubberstamps.net)

Ink pads: $9 each

Blanks: 250 for $20 (ebay)

Jig: $12

 

As I'm producing these for an activity for our mega event, sorry I can't give any away, a the present. I'm probably going to have to do another 1,000 (200 of each figure), but will see.

 

I was put off by the cost of $300 per 1,000 of a single design, so this worked far better for flexibility. Only one thing I'd change, make the design a bit smaller than the size of the disc.

 

All the stuff together.

1880_stuff_800.jpg

 

Complete set of tokens. The circuit board pattern is the common side on all tokens.

 

1881_set_800.jpg

 

Set of six 2 inch by 2 inch rubber stamps.

1882_stamps_800.jpg

 

The jig, which was pretty much set for all tokens as the designs on the stamps were very consistently placed by the manufacturer.

1885_jig_800.jpg

 

1886_jig_800.jpg

 

I am the Scrooge McDuck of wooden nickels! :)

 

1888_tokens_800.jpg

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How these resist to moisture, direct sunrays, etc?

Have you already made any tests?

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Nice! Thanks for sharing the jig photos.

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How these resist to moisture, direct sunrays, etc?

Have you already made any tests?

 

Haven't had long enough to try UV fading, though that should take quite some time to test.

 

I have found the ink I have been using will rub a small amount after air drying. I'm testing in water. Looks to be about 90% resistant, which is about what I've seen other wood tokens do.

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Further Research Dept.

 

So the ink doesn't really run under water, it's the resins in the wood.

 

I smudged one coin under the tap.

 

Another I totally soaked - the disc warped, but looked fine and unsmudged - after drying it looked just fine, but was rougher to the touch.

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Stamps: $11 each

Ink pads: $9 each

Blanks: 250 for $20

Jig: $12

Me getting some in the mail... Priceless!

 

:laughing:

 

OK, anyway, I was also turned off by the high cost, which sometimes includes a setup fee. I like to make a ton of designs and variations. I don't want 500 all the same.

 

I made a small handful of wooden nickels using laser printed images and acetone, and hit them with some of the UV protecting spray coating I use to seal other projects. It probably helps keep the coin nice, but increases the manufacturing cost. I never did any particular testing. If stamp ink smears, I'm sure there's fancier ink or paint that would work better.

 

I kind of rationalized that if someone wants a pristine wooden nickel from a cache, they should go get it immediately. If it gets a little soaked or stained, it's good as part of a trade for a better one sometime. Like people do with old stamps or baseball cards. :anicute:

 

But I place some nice sig items in little ziplock bags.

Edited by kunarion
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Further Research Dept.

 

So the ink doesn't really run under water, it's the resins in the wood.

 

I smudged one coin under the tap.

 

Another I totally soaked - the disc warped, but looked fine and unsmudged - after drying it looked just fine, but was rougher to the touch.

 

Great!

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Further Research Dept.

 

So the ink doesn't really run under water, it's the resins in the wood.

 

I smudged one coin under the tap.

 

Another I totally soaked - the disc warped, but looked fine and unsmudged - after drying it looked just fine, but was rougher to the touch.

 

Great!

I've found wooden nickels in water at the bottom of cache swag, black and kind of slimy :surprise:. They wash off, dry out, and often stay just about black at that point. But if they're otherwise still legible, I bleach them for a while in the sun, and place them in a cache again. If the OP's coins will fare about as well, they're fine.

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I've done "photo" transfers to flat rocks as well as other objects. I like making interesting swag so this is a neat idea though I wonder about how the wood would last as several people have mentioned.

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How these resist to moisture, direct sunrays, etc?

Have you already made any tests?

 

Haven't had long enough to try UV fading, though that should take quite some time to test.

 

I have found the ink I have been using will rub a small amount after air drying. I'm testing in water. Looks to be about 90% resistant, which is about what I've seen other wood tokens do.

 

May I make a suggestion about making the wooden coins moisture resistant.... after making them, get some clear coating spray paint, and clear coat them

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I was able to pick up a stamp for 20 dollars that I designed in Adobe Illustrator. I then got 250 nickels for about 40 dollars on ebay. I was unable to find anything cheaper at the moment. I then used Fusion 360 to design a jig that I was able to 3D print. This took about 3 hours with print time...and the print cost me about .50 cents....because I already had the printer. I'll upload photos soon.

 

I used Staz-on ink, it stamps well on everything that is not paper...I even use it on metal at work. It dries almost instantly and is Water resistant, UV proof, and archival.

 

I made 250 of the same design since I didn't want to buy another stamp. I used Rubberstampchamp.com since they are in the next town over, I didn't have to pay shipping, I just picked it up a day later. I guess they use laser cutting now to get these things made, super fast and extremely accurate to my design.

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post-329017-093567100 1495388524_thumb.jpg

post-329017-062356700 1495388533_thumb.jpg

post-329017-038879900 1495388542_thumb.jpg

 

So, you can see the first photo is my done piece. It is pretty much centered every time. I had to measure the difference from the coin diameter and the stamp diameter to figure out the offset that you can see in the Jig. There is a little lip that the coin sits in, then the stamp is offset...in my case 1.5mm. If I didn't do this, the image would be off by that much thus almost touching the edge of the piece. I am going to make some small changes to the jig for my next run, but in the meantime, Im going to be looking for tupperware to drop these little guys into! Happy Hunting everyone!

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I've been looking into making some of these myself. I was wondering if rubber stamps would work and it looks like they do! I think I would coat mine with something to make them wear longer. I wonder if matte modpodge would work?

 

AmyRRT

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I've been looking into making some of these myself. I was wondering if rubber stamps would work and it looks like they do! I think I would coat mine with something to make them wear longer. I wonder if matte modpodge would work?

 

AmyRRT

 

 

So, I used STAZ-ON ink pads for this, and then put them in a plastic bag and drove through California to Arizona dropping off nickels. I left the bag in my car in the Arizona 103° heat and the inside of the bag started to get damp. (probably from the nickels not being totally dried in the manufacturing process). So, I decided to let it ride since only about 25 of them would be ruined during this experiment if it went south. My study showed me that in a closed car, in the sun, in a plastic bag where it is 103° outside of the car, and Hades knows how much inside the car, there was no ink transfer or bleed for the 3 days I left them there. What does this have to do with anything? Well, I didn't have to spend money on any kind of poly-urathane spray or any other protectant.

 

What we also need to know is that these cost me about 40 cents each, so if they get ugly over time, I am not really worried about it, it's not like I sunk a fortune into it. I would; however, like to try to submerge these for a month and see how they hold up in the worst case scenario for a geocache.

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Posted (edited)

I would; however, like to try to submerge these for a month and see how they hold up in the worst case scenario for a geocache.

In the Atlanta area, it's high humidity, but also some water inside a tightly sealed container. Wooden nickels are at the bottom, in the moisture, and they absorb and hold moisture. It's an ideal place for mold to grow, so the wooden nickels get slimy and black. I sometimes remove, wash and dry them, and place them in the sun for a few weeks, and the black stain fades slightly. Placed into a cache, mold will quickly start growing again. Oh, well.

 

But that depends on the situation, so it may or may not be worth worrying about. I made some wooden nickels once, sprayed a couple coats of matte art sealer on them, placed each in a plastic ziplock bag, and dropped them into caches. As mentioned, items inside a sealed ziplock bag are not safe from water damage, since at the very least, there's water in the air in the bag.

 

I used to place metal pin buttons (Badge-a-Minit) individually in ziplock bags. But one time I returned to a cache a couple years later, and the button was very rusted inside its intact, untouched bag. That was an eye-opener. :anicute:

Edited by kunarion
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Very cool. Nice work!

 

I've been working on some wooden nickels myself, although not using stamps to get the image onto the wood.

 

In any case, what are you planning to use for sealing/coating the wood after stamping? I've looked at a few products at the hobby shop, but haven't figured out yet which is the most appropriate/effective.

 

I've found that Flex Seal spray works great to seal wooden caches. I also use any type of Polyurethane or Acrylic sealer. Both have given me great results.

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On 1/27/2016 at 4:46 PM, DragonsWest said:

I was put off by the cost of $300 per 1,000 of a single design, so this worked far better for flexibility. Only one thing I'd change, make the design a bit smaller than the size of the disc.

 

FWIW, the "Pros" specify making the design ¼" smaller than the coin, so for a 1½" (typical average size) coin, the design should be no larger than 1¼".

 

I've been toying around with a similar idea myself (designer before retirement, and I just can't stop designing stuff).   Inexpensive desktop laser cutters can now be had for <= $300, and some mfrs are now making 3-way units (Laser Cutter/3D Printer/CNC Mill) for small/reasonable money.  See Goggle.

 

I have a personal aversion to urethane, so I'd prolly go with a good quality spray lacquer for finish/protection.  In addition to protection, it brings out the color/grain/beauty of the natural wood--just makes a nicer finished product, IMO. ;)

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On 7/23/2017 at 11:50 PM, RufusClupea said:

 

FWIW, the "Pros" specify making the design ¼" smaller than the coin, so for a 1½" (typical average size) coin, the design should be no larger than 1¼".

 

I've been toying around with a similar idea myself (designer before retirement, and I just can't stop designing stuff).   Inexpensive desktop laser cutters can now be had for <= $300, and some mfrs are now making 3-way units (Laser Cutter/3D Printer/CNC Mill) for small/reasonable money.  See Goggle.

 

I have a personal aversion to urethane, so I'd prolly go with a good quality spray lacquer for finish/protection.  In addition to protection, it brings out the color/grain/beauty of the natural wood--just makes a nicer finished product, IMO. ;)

 

I haven't done anything with these since the mega event, over a year ago.  The stamps are fine, the jig is fine, inkpads are probably drying out, but I could run off some specimen sets for anyone who wants to see how the rubber stamped nickels turn out.  Contact me via email scgooner at att.net and I'll put some in the mail for you.

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