Sunday, December 12, 2010

Owner's Mark Stamp

In a previous post, I shared some thoughts and observations on plane owner's marks and I ended up wondering how to make my own metal owner's mark stamp. Well, it's been over a year, I still don't know how to go about it, but I have finally gotten my hands on an original to aid in my quest.

It was made for one "C. B. STILWELL" by "JACOBS & CO 74 WASHN.ST BOSTON".

Here's a photo of the stamp and the mark it makes:

I am hoping that by closely examining the stamp, I can figure out how it was made. It seems clear to me that files were used - very tiny files, for the exterior of each letter. But I haven't yet sussed out how the interior sections were shaped.

Here's a closer shot of the business end:

I know I could pay someone to make one for me, but that just isn't my style. I might get there one day if I can't figure this out...


  1. I would think they were cast from a mold, similar to how sorts were cast for use in typesetting.

  2. Hey Dan,
    The recesses were punched down first with tools called "Counter Punches". Then the exterior shape is carefully filed.

    Check out this video series he has a really good explaination of the process for type.

  3. Dan,

    George Wilson, who worked at Colonial Williamsburg for a number of years, has posted a couple of threads over at Sawmill Creek (in the neanderthal section) about making stamps. Might be helpful (?).


  4. Roy's woodwright shop is offering a class on making these:

  5. Daniel, Trevor, Abi, and Charles - Wow! Thanks everyone! I think I will study up and give it a try. I'd love to take the class at Roy's, but I just live to far away - someday...

    Roger (email) - Thanks for the great info.

  6. I just received a new one from Chalco, and it seems fine, but these old ones are cool. Coincidentally I was pondering the same subject today at work, and have been looking at examples on eBay. I suspect the key is in the punches used to form the letters. Probably a limited set of shapes to form specific segments, and then refine with files??

  7. I have long wondered how to go about getting a owners mark stamp, so the topic was awesome. Thanks to the commenters for hooking us all up with great leads.

  8. Look up touchmarks to. That's the common phrase used by smiths.

    Happy Holidays!
    Best Regards,
    Albert A Rasch
    In Afghanistan™

  9. Hello Dan, My name is Emily, I live in Italy, I have the same passion for wood and old tools. I watch a lot of passion with your blog, congratulations on your shop-keepers and the arguments you propose. Augoro a Merry Christmas to you and all those who follow your blog. (sorry for English) Emilio

  10. john j - I think that punches are mostly used to form the inside of the letters. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll post the results when I do.

    John - Yes, great stuff shared by all! One of the things I love about this blog is the sharing of information from readers via comments.

    Albert - Thanks for the terminology. Happy Holidays to you!

    emilio - Merry Christmas to you! Thank you for commenting - I am glad you enjoy the blog. Are old tools easy to find in Italy?

  11. Thanks for sharing this. You did a great work!!

  12. Kevin - You're welcome, and thanks!


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