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Frequently Asked Questions:

About Richards & Stehman:

Richards & Stehman Rubber Stamps began operating in 1954 in Springfield, Illinois.  The original business was based on metal manufacturing, with an emphasis on making typewriter keys.  OVer the years, typewriter sales tailed off, and R&S's side business, the manufacture of rubber stamps, became the main priority.  For over 55 years, R&S has been making rubber stamps.  It has become our only manufacturing process, and we have the experience to help you in any way.

In 2005, the Burton family bought Richards & Stehman, and we will continue to provide the best quality marking products to you, our customers.  We pride ourselves on our personal customer service and quality of product.  IF you ever have any questions, you can always call us at 217-522-6801 or email your questions to  We will always be available to any questions or cincerns you may have.

Richards & Stehman's business hours are 9:00am to 4:30pm Central time M-F.  However, if you have any questions outside of those times, please send us an email and we will respond as soon as we can.

Our Privacy Policy:

The privacy of your personal information is very important to us.  We will never sell your information to any thrid party.  You can read our full privacy policy HERE.

Stamping 101: What do I order?

Types Of Stamps:

With the myriad of choices available on our site, it can be overwhelming to figure out which stamp/product will work the best for you.  Ultimately, the best type of stamp depends on its intended use, how much it will be used, and the surface to be imprinted upon.

There are basically three types of stamps: Pre-inked stamps, self-inking stamps, and traditional hand stamps (sometimes called wood stamps, or more generically 'rubber stamps'.)  Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so we will go through these 3 types individually:

Pre-inked stamps:
Pre-inked stamps are the highest quality stamps on the market today.  They deliver the greatest clarity of impression, and also the longest use before reinking.  Although they are priced higher than other types of stamps, due to their longevity, they also provide the best value of cost-per-impression basis.

On our site, we carry two major brands of pre-inked stamps, istamp and Xstamper.  Istamp pre-inked stamps use the latest flash burst/UV technology to produce a die plate that the ink runs through.  This produces an almost-print-quality impression, and can last 30,000 impressions before reinking.  Xstamper pre-inked stamps utilize a specially designed laser-engraved rubber that also lets the ink run out through the die plate.  Due to its laser-machined intricacy, the Xstamper is the best stamp on the market, lasting up to 50,000 impressions before needing to be re-inked.  Xstamper also contains a lifetime-guarantee on their stamps, so if there are ever any problems with the stamp, we will make you a new one, no questions asked.

Self-inking stamps:
Self-inking stamps have been the most popular stamps for many years.  Their lower initial cost affords you a very high-quality impression for a lower initial investment.  Self-inking stamps work by the use of a revolving die plate, which strikes the included ink pad to place ink upon the die plate, and then revolves around to strike the targeted material as you press down.  Due to its continual inking process, a self-inking stamp is suited for high-volume stamping needs.  We offer two distinct brands of self-inking stamps: the Classix and the 2000 Plus, both of which can offer up to 5,000 impressions before re-inking the enclosed ink pad.

Traditional Hand Stamps:
Traditional Hand stamps were the original rubber stamps manufactured, and have thus been known as 'rubber stamps'.  These stamps utilize the same laser-engraved rubber as self-inking stamps, but instead of having an enclosed ink pad, you must use a separate stamp pad to ink the rubber die plate.  These kind of stamps are not recommended for high-volume use, as it requires the user to strike the stamp pad before each impression.  It is very easy to change ink colors with a wood stamp, as long as you have separate stamp pads with different ink colrs.  However, due to the nature ofthe stamps, they offer the lowest quality of impression, mostly due to not having a firm base affixed to guarantee even stamping.  But, for occasional use, the low price of a wood stamp can make sense.

Rubber vs. Polymer:

There are two different products that can be used to make the 'rubber dies' for self-inking/hand stamps.  Polymer dies are made from a liquid polymer which is exposed to UV light to make the die plate.  Polymer dies should only be used with water-based inks.

True rubber dies are manufactured by custom-lasering into a sheet of rubber. These lasered dies have a much clearer impression than those that are made using a polymer.  While costing a bit more, WE ONLY USE RUBBER DIES TO MAKE OUR STAMPS.  In our experience, polymer dies, while worthwhile, also tend to flex, shift or rip, which will cause bad impressions.  Also, the polymer process does not do well with intricate designs, as the polymer tends to 'fall over' on small lines or details on a stamp.  Rubber dies are much sturdier, last longer, and can be utilized for any kind of design you might need.  We will always use rubber for our self-inking dies, as we believe the quality difference is quite substantial, even if it ultimately costs us more to produce.  We do not carry that extra cost on to you, our customer, as we believe in higher quality stamps, not higher margins

Pre-Inked Stamps vs. Self-Inking Stamps:

Pre-inked stamps utilize a light burst/UV 'flash' to embed your image into the die plate.  The oil-based ink pad embedded within the stamp then releases the ink through the openings left by the flash process to make the impression on the page.  The quality of the impression from these stamps tends to be closer to print-quality than an identical self-inking stamp.  Using these stamp only requires pushing down as little as 1/4" to make an impression.  However, as it relies on the ink to flow out through the openings, pre-inked stamps can take some time to refresh, making them not as well-suited for heavy-duty repetitive stamping. Because there is less movement required than within a self-inking stamp, pre-inked stamps can have a much larger impression area.  Pre-inked stamps generally give you 30,000 to 50,000 impressions before needing to be re-inked. (istamp=30,000, Xstamper=50,000)

Self-inking stamps rely on a rubber die that rotates within the stamp.  The die rests against the ink pad inside the stamp until a user pushes down on the stamp, which causes the stamp die to rotate, taking ink from the pad and imprinting it on the page.  It does rely on more moving parts than a pre-inked stamp, and as such, could be prone to breakage more readily than a pre-inked stamp, especially if too much force is used on the downward stroke of the stamp.  Because of the inherent nature of how the stamp operates, it is better suited to repetitive stamping, as the die plate will contact the ink pad each time the stamp is released from the down position.  Because of the extra area required to rotate the self-inking die plate, self-inking stamps do not come in bigger sizes like the pre-inked stamps.  Generally, self-inking stamps can make 5,000 impressions before needing to be re-inked.

Oil-based ink vs. Water-based ink

Oil-based ink, used in pre-inked stamps, are water-resistant, as well as most soaps and detergents.  As such, extra care should be taken when using pre-inked stamps, so as not to damage your clothing.  Water-based inks, used in self-inking stamps, are not permanent and can be removed using soaps and detergents.  Quick-dry inks (Multisurface, Industrial, or Aero inks) have an alcohol base, so extra care should be taken, both with self-inking and pre-inked stamps.

What surfaces can be stamped?

Depending on what ink is used, a variety of surfaces can be stamped.  For paper/printed material, both self-inking and pre-inked stamps work well. 

However, for slick/glossy/glass surfaces, we recommend using quick-dry inks.  Normal inks tend to smear or appear blurry on glossy surfaces, while the quick-dry ink can dry in as little as 15 seconds, thus greatly minimizing the chance of smearing the impression.  Our istamp Multisurface stamps are designed for the quick-dry ink, and a majority of the istamp sizes can be used for Multisurface stamping.  Xstamper also manufactures their Industrial stamps, which are designed for quick-dry applications.  With all quick-dry ink or stamps, we recommend storing them in an air-sealed bag, as air can dry out the ink or stamps, which could render them inoperaple.

Re-inking Stamps:

For steps on how to re-ink your stamps, please click on the following links:

Re-inking an Xstamper
Re-inking an istamp
Re-inking a Classix
Re-inking a 2000 Plus

How do I make the best stamp impression?

How do I make the best stamp impression?

This is a question we get more than any other: why doesn't my impression look very good?  There could be a multitude of reasons behind that (dry ink pad, etc.), but the main culprit we find is that users are either stamping too hard, or too quickly releasing the stamp.  For a good impression, first you want to make sure you are stamping on a flat surface.  Even a flap underneath of an envelope can cause a stamp to be imbalanced and not stamp uniformally across the impression.  Next, make sure you are putting pressure on the stamp from the top, not from around the sides of the stamp.  Use equal pressure (from left-to-right, and from top-to-bottom) when pressing down on your stamp.  When you press down, you do not need to force the stamp through the table, simple easy pressure will work better, along with less chance of breakage.  And lastly, as the stamp contacts the page, make sure you keep pressing down for 1-2 seconds, if you let up on the stamp too quickly, not enough of the ink will penetrate onto the page.  And as with any product, we do acknowledge there might just be 'dud' stamps, that do not stamp well whatever the case.  We generally weed these stamps out before delivery, but if by chance you do feel your stamp is a 'dud' and not working properly, please contact us for a replacement.

My date stamp is uneven, the date doesn't stamp, what do I do?

On date stamps, the date band assembly is held onto the stamp die plate by 2 screws, which allow the date assemblies to be changed out when new date bands are required.  These depth screws are also used to adjust the height (or depth) of the date, relative to the height (or depth) of the stamp die plate.  By simply screwing/unscrewing these screws, you can adjust how far the date sticks out from the base.  Be careful though, the screws should always remain the same depth, or the impression will be uneven.  Also, a very slight twist goes a long way with adjusting depth, simply a half-turn can make a big difference.  If you have any questions relating to this matter, simply call us at 217-522-6801, and we can walk you through adjusting the depth.

Ordering A Stamp:

How do I order my stamp?

You can order your stamp either through our online store, through fax, pay-by-mail, or by phone.  Ordering through our website does ensure the fastest turn-around for your order.  However, if you would like to order by other means, simply Contact Us.

Are My Online Orders secure?

We place a great emphasis on our customers' security.  All transactions with our website are encrypted, and payment information is not system within our system.  In fact, the extent of our interaction with your payment information is simply clicking the process payment button; we do not see your information internally.  For more details, please refer to our Privacy Policy.

How long before I receive my stamp?

After you place an order, please allow 3 to 7 business days before your stamp arrives.  We ship using the U.S. Postal Service.  If you require faster shipping, please call or email us and we can arrange for faster shipping to you.

Do you supply tracking numbers?

We do not supply tracking numbers for orders.  However, if you request faster delivery, we will supply you with a tracking number when your package ships.

Do you ship internationally?

At this moment, we do not ship internationally.  Please check back or contact us for further details.

How do I create an account?

By creating an account with us, you are able to save your shipping and billing adresses for future orders.  You can also see your previous orders.  To create an account, simply click on Register at the top of the page.  There you can fill in your username and password, and your shipping and billing information.

Do you allow Purchase Orders?

Yes, we do, for selected customers.  If the PO is simply for your internal tracking purposes, we will affix the PO number on the outside of the shipment for your consideration.  If you wish to establish a line of credit with our company, our terms are net 30 days.  Please Contact Us for a credit application and for more information on our credit terms.

Do you offer in-store pickup?

We do offer in-store pickup.  If you wish to pick up your order at our store, simply contact us to enable in-store pickup under your account.


How do I send you my design?

There are two ways you can send us your artwork.  First, through our Customization screen for each product, you have the option of uploading your artwork directly into the Designer.  Alternatively, you can also send your artwork to  Please include your invoice # with your email, so we can more easily match up your artwork with your order.

What are your accepted file formats for artwork?

We prefer that your image be black-and-white, and 600dpi for more clarity, although 300dpi is acceptable.  Our accepted file formats are:
 .tif, or .tiff

After Ordering:

My Stamp was broken upon delivery. What now?

The first step is to contact us, either email at or call us at 217-522-6801.  Once we know the situation, we can resolve it in one of two ways: (1) you can simply return the stamp and we can fix or replace it; or (2) if you need your stamp ASAP, we will ship out a replacement, while you ship back the broken stamp.

What Is Your Return Policy?

We allow returns up to 14 days after shipment.  If you notice an error on your stamp, please contact us and we will work to make sure you get exactly what you order.  After the 14 day period, all sales are final.

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