Archive | March, 2013

Junior Metal Detectorists

16 Mar

The kids tried out the CS3MX the other evening, but as these pics make clear, it was a bit oversized. Gooey suggested getting them a kid’s detector, and Aga elaborated the idea into a detector each.

IMG_9293 IMG_9290Here are the pics from this morning; Britain’s newest detectorists:

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Modifications

15 Mar

Over the last couple of days, I’ve made my first couple of gear mods. The first was a homemade waterproofing of my Garrett Pro-Pointer. To do this, I put non-hardening plumber’s putty on the threads of the battery compartment, and also into the speaker port and around the on/off switch. Then I covered the latter two areas and the lightbulb with a flexible, waterproof sealant similar to goop or RV sealant. I borrowed the idea from Beau Ouimette’s YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_1iYI8M0co. Joined with the waterproof AT PRO and waterproof headphones, I will be ready for completely submersible hunting (important for UK rainstorms).

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The next project I took on was to make my own coin popper. In an earlier post, I talk about the value of the popper as a coin recovery tool, particularly in areas where shovels are a no-go. To make the popper, I bought a weed/root popper from B&Q and filed smooth the tines, as below. I also filed a phillips head screwdriver to a blunt tip, to be able to use it as a coin probe without scratching the targets.

ImageCoin popper detail:ImageThe final project was to prepare an ore-analogue for inclusion in a test garden that Kurt and I will be installing at his place. We will post more on this topic soon; essentially, a test garden allows you to get to know your detector well in tightly controlled conditions with various objects buried at known depths. In their You Can Find Gold With a Metal DetectorCharles Garrett and Roy Lagal recommend grinding down a penny to copper dust and then agglutinating the dust into a ball; placed in the ground, this will simulate an ore deposit for your detector. It took some time, but I used a hand file to reduce a penny to dust (for legal reasons, I will omit to say which currency the penny was drawn from. Suffice it to say it was mostly copper as opposed to non-copper alloy).

The filing process:ImageThe ad-hoc ore sample (the dust has been placed into a pool of glue and allowed to harden). Once buried, this will appear to a detector like a diffuse amount of conductive ore, rather than a solid coin:Image

Low-Impact Coin Recovery Methods

13 Mar

When coinshooting or searching for jewellery in most parks or schools, it is probably best to avoid schlepping a shovel (of any size) around with you. Seeing a digging implement, many observers will suspect the worst; some may even notify authorities. Over time, such encounters may lead to more areas being closed to the hobby.

The good news is that with practice, you can become proficient with coin ‘popping’ methods like the one shown below. This leaves no plug behind to turn brown or betray your visit. These ‘Recommended Recovery Methods’ come from Bob Sickler at Tesoro Metal Detectors (http://www.tesoro.com/info/faq/recovery/).

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METHOD 1: “PROBE AND DRIVER”

Used in less moist lawns where targets are not so deep (one to four inches) and the “Plugging” method is objectionable. The Probe and Driver method requires more practice but is much less damaging to grass than Method 2. The probe used can be a non-metallic probe such as a modified fiberglass fishing rod or a metallic probe such as a blunted ice pick. A non-metallic probe will be the least damaging to the target. After pinpointing target, use the probe to locate target depth (Fig. 1A). Next, insert eight-inch screwdriver on center just above target and rotate slightly to open ground (Fig. 1B). Now insert screwdriver just under target at an angle and lever target to surface (Fig. 1C). Brush all loose dirt back in the hole and close by exerting pressure all around opening (Fig. 1D).

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METHOD 2: “PLUGGING”

Used only where allowed in natural wooded areas and very moist lawn areas. Plugging in hard dry ground can damage grass roots, leaving yellow “dead spots” in time. After pinpointing target, cut three sides of a four-inch cube around target center (Fig. 2A) using a six-inch sturdy hunting knife. Cutting a “hinged” cube rather than a cone shaped plug will properly orient its return, prevent removal by a lawnmower, and lessen the chance of scratching the target. With the knife blade, carefully pry against the cube side opposite the “hinge” (uncut side) and fold back (Fig. 2B). Scan searchcoil over plug and hole to isolate target location. If target is in plug, carefully probe until located. If target is in hole and not visible, probe bottom and sides until located and remove (Fig. 2C). Repeat scan for additional targets. Replace all loose dirt with plug. Seat plug firmly with foot (Fig. 2D).

And here’s some additional advice from wpaxt over at the Friendly Metal Detecting Forum:

You will need to practice. A test garden/patch is helpful. Once you know the sweet spot of the coil you are using & can approximate depth (either thru a meter or tone) it can be done rather easily. Obviously if the coin is deep then a plug is the way to go. A trick to use with really shallow coins (3″ or less) is to scrub the point of your pinpointer over the ground. You should be dead center when the probe sounds off. Last thing, be aware that an ice pick, if applied with too much pressure, will scratch a coin. I prefer a brass probe, but you still have to be careful.

Update on the Forrest Fenn Treasure

12 Mar

A woman was rescued over the weekend after becoming lost in the New Mexico mountains while searching for the Forrest Fenn treasure:

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/03/texas-woman-rescued-after-botched-treasure-hunt/

FLO Notes on the Southend-on-Sea Finds

11 Mar

I corresponded today with Katie Marsden, FLO for Essex, regarding the objects Kurt and Kat unearthed from the beach in Southend on Sunday. Of the apparently leaden sphere, she writes ‘it is possible that it is a musket ball, although there is something curious about it. As you say, the metal is reddish which along with the patch of green material visible on the image, indicates that it possibly includes copper alloy rather than purely lead. This would make it very unusual for a musket ball and makes me suspect it might have had another purpose’.

Of the object K&K call the ‘silver purse’, apparently a chunk of burnished lead, Katie writes:  ‘the material is difficult to judge from the image although it does look too shiny to be historic lead or to have been buried for any length of time’.

Finally, referring to the Gato Rojo, Katie notes that ‘this looks as if it could be a glassy material. Does that fit with the object in the flesh so to speak? If it is metal it could be casting waste from a crucible but is tricky to ID from an image. If you […] would like me to take a look at these objects in more detail, I am based in Colchester although if more convenient, I am able to make appointments to see finders at some of the local Essex museums’.

 

Email from a Fan of EoW

11 Mar

I received this email the other day from a fan in Poland:

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El Gato Rojo

11 Mar

El Gato Rojo

Can anyone identify this burgundy metal? I’m wondering if it’s a lead alloy of some sort.