Make a Geocache Log





Introduction: Make a Geocache Log

A friend introduced me to geocaching yesterday. Without much success in finding any caches on my own, I thought I'd hide some instead.

Where better to hide your geocache log, but in a log!

Step 1: What You Need

You'll need some basic tools and consumables:
  • Small log/large branch - look for something an inch in diameter or preferaby bigger. Should be reasonably dry, but not brittle.
  • Saw
  • Drill and drill bit (12 - 20mm is good)
  • Hammer
  • Wood glue (I used cyanoacrylate and UHU Hart, but any will do)
  • PCB pins (not pictured, they're tiny anyhow)
  • Long nosed pliers or similar to hold PCB pins while hammering
  • Sharpies (optional)

Step 2: Cut in Two

Choose a nice log and cut it cleanly in two. For a better result try to keep the cut sharp, square and avoid knocking the bark off (difficult!).

Step 3: Drill Out Centre

You now have two pieces of log, with a clean edge on one end. You need to drill this out. It's your choice how large a hole you make, I used 16mm and 12mm drills leaving a good few mm of wall. You need enough wall to put the locating pins in later so don't go too thin.

If you keep the drill straight you can make a rather deep chamber. Drill as far as you dare without going through the sides!

Step 4: Insert Pins

Place three PCB pins in one log. You want to place them roughly equidistant around the log, but don't worry too much about accuracy as the thicker areas will take them better. You may well need to use long nosed pliers to hold the pins while hitting them with a hammer rather than your fingers.

Once in, I found it useful to glue them. This keeps the pins in one piece of wood and stops them getting lost.

I also found it worthwhile to colour code the pins so you can more easily put the stick back together later. Do this before glueing.

Step 5: Alignment

This is the critical bit. You need to line the two piece of wood up and push the pins into the second piece. You only really get one go, although if you're miles off you might get another. Take a good look at the wood (and ideally test fit prior to fitting the pins) and work out exactly where it should join.

Light force is all that's needed to push the wood together, and the same should take it apart. But the fastening should be pretty rigid once done.

If you find the pins holes a bit loose, a dab of glue might help. You'll have to repeatedly fasten and undo the cache while the glue sets to keep the holes open. 

(If you've more time on your hands, it might be worth repeating steps 4 and 5 with one pin at a time. YMMV.)

Step 6: Stuff

The last bit - insert your paper Geocache log inside a small plastic bag (the wooden cache is not likely waterproof) and go hide it.

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    26 Discussions

    Hi, a tip for cutting the wood with minimal bark damage - try using a fine bladed metal cutting hacksaw or a very fine fret saw. Awesome project btw. :)

    It appears you may have confused "geocache" with "dead drop". The object of Geocaching is in using a GPS to triangulate on a position and share that sport with others, not in making the cache so difficult to identify that no one actually ever successfully visits the cache.

    I like your use of color-coding the pins so that the parts will fit back together more easily, but I don't think the result would make a very successful cache since one could be literally standing on top of the cache and not realize it.

    8 replies

    Well depending on the clue, and where the cache is placed, this could be an effective technique. I've seen some very successful caches hidden in the center of hollowed-out fallen trees, and as they were covered up by tree bark to look natural, the two designs seem comparable. Just be sure when the cache is posted to have a clue or hint, say something like "If you're having trouble finding the cache, look "within" the trees!"

    5 star difficulty is defined as "A serious mental or physical challenge. May require specialized knowledge or skills to find or open the cache." I think this log idea, depending on where the log was placed would rank between 2-3 stars for difficulty.  Placing the log in a pile of logs would be harder than placing the log in a parking lot, for example.  More here.

    actually it says MAY ... which is different than Will... require... i have a few hundred finds so know a alittle bit about them ... not an expert but i have found some that were 5 rated and required no gear..

    over all matb i really like this idea ... and will be trying it out sometime in the future.... keep at it !!!!

    you know it could be a 2 or 3 unless you happen to be twisted like me and put it under a brush pile out in the woods ... then i would believe that to qualify as a 5.... however my comment was to prove a point

    just out of curiosity ... how many finds does everyone have ?

    It's all down to where you hide it. I've hid one of these in a wooded area of trees and it's pretty obvious from a distance. Almost everyone's found it very easily.

    Hoho, this is evil! :>
    I would love to find some of these!

    I have seen some logs that used one long pin (headless finishing nail) so that the two pieces will swivel apart instead of separating. easier for the person making the find to use.
    Note that this cache will not provide a moisture barrier -- the log must either be in a separate container or at least in a small ziplock bag.

    I think there is a skill to placing something like this so it looks natural but it does not turn into a "needle in a haystack". It takes no imagination or creativity to hide a fake rock in a pile of rocks, or a fake log in an search area filled with real logs.

    I agree with Fast21 re: drilling holes for the pins instead of just bashing them in. You can also use a dowel center, or make your own out of one of the pins, to locate the drilling spots for the second set of holes.

    PS. It took me a moment to decide whether by "champer" you meant "chamfer" or "chamber". You might think about editting the text to fix the misspelling.

    Champer would make a good name for a horse I think.

    1 reply

    Welcome to the magical world of geocaching! Awesome project, I hope you find some geocaches soon.(just don't let the muggles catch you)

    1 reply

    Interesting. Geocachers using the term "muggles" to divide "us from them" almost guarantees I won't take up the pastime.

    You could use wooden dowels instead of pins? Like the type you get in ikea type flat pack furniture.

    Another tip - if you drill tiny pilot holes then glue the pins in (rather than tapping in with a hammer) you'll be able to get away with thinner walls.