Friday, October 23, 2020

Massive coin spill in the playground!

Today I decided to go back to the small city children's playground that had yielded a lot of coins earlier this year.  I started by finding a number of quarters and several large pieces of stiff wire that seemed to be left over from chain-link fence assembly.  I was pleased to remove those as they were obvious sharp hazards for children.

Then I worked my way into the corner near the blue spinner and my metal detector went nuts.  I thought it was malfunctioning because it was beeping constantly.  But when I got down with my pin pointer, there were signals everywhere!

I would locate a strong signal and move a few bark chips aside and there would be clusters of dimes.  Talk about a coin spill!  Ultimately I found a total of $5.90 in dimes in an area covering only a few square feet.  Also 10 quarters and 3 pennies for a total of $11.40!  Wow, that's a pretty good haul for about an hour's work.  I also found a perfectly good set of earbuds.

It looks like I am going to have to go back to this park more often.  It's a real moneymaker!  The coins were all fresh shiny new, so I didn't need to clean any of them.  Last time I had been there was early July, so clearly kids drop coins here a lot.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Working the hay field across from my house

I have not been out metal detecting since July.  The summer was brutally hot, and then I just got distracted with other things.  But today was a beautiful fall day to get out in the hay field right across from my house.  I honestly didn't expect to find much, it was just nice to be outdoors.  

I was pleasantly surprised to dig up three large rifle cartridges and a .22 shell, three pennies, a dime, and a very mangled spoon.

As I was headed back I found a big signal which was just hidden in the grass.  It's a piece of farm equipment used in the haying process.  I will call the farmer and see if he wants it back. 

- he said it was a tine that came off his tedder and they fall off all the time, so he doesn't need it.

I'm hoping to get out more often over the next month or so before it gets too cold to detect.



Thursday, July 2, 2020

Day 4 at the playground - $1.25 with a bullet

I keep finding more coins at this small city playground!  The fenced in area is roughly 50 X 100ft. and so far I have dug up over $5 in coins.  Today's haul was $1.25.  A local I spoke with was surprised by how many coins I have recovered as this park is adjacent to the low income city housing.

I am getting better at finding coins near the metal posts and fencing by using the pinpointer mode on my Garrett ACE 300 detector.  This helps me discriminate the "wow" sounds from the posts from the "blips" of the coins.  Then I'm able to use my Pro-pointer to get in close.  Most of the coins are right near the surface and easy to find.

I started working around the lawn outside the playground that borders the parking lot.  I found a lot of trash, can slaw and the rifle cartridge.  Not often I find a live round!  I drop them off at the sheriff's office when I have a few since I drive by there often.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Taiwnaese coin in the playground

I spent another hour at the playground today, it was hot and sunny and no kids around.  Once again a I removed lots of chain-link fence wire - possibly from an earlier playground?  This one was set up only recently. 

I found a large coin that at first I thought was a silver dollar but on closer inspection it had Chinese writing on it:

I looked it up and it is a 2013 Taiwanese 10 New Dollar coin.  Apparently the writing says: "The country flourishes and the people are living in peace".  It's worth less than $1US.  Here's what it looks like clean (thanks to

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Cleaning coins with Magic Tumble Clean

The photo above shows coins I have recovered over the last few months - mostly from playgrounds. I have experimented with various cleaning strategies using my small National Geographic tumbler with aquarium gravel with varied success until now. 
Since the tumbler has a timer that only works for DAYS - I built my own timer box (behind the tumbler) that lets me set 1,2,4 or 8 hours.  I rarely use more than 4 hours.

Using white vinegar with a little salt leaves clad coins clean but dull and I was never satisfied with coppers, they just never came out really clean.  Then I discovered Finch Products Magic Tumble Clean:

This stuff is literally MAGIC!   Pennies and clad come out shiny new - it's really impressive and works with all metals!  I have cleaned jewelry and relics like crotal bells and they come shiny and near mint condition.  Of course some items should not be cleaned since they lose value without the original patina.  By for modern coins this is a great way to clean them up so they will run through the Coinstar machine.

I always clean copper and clad separately and use only about 1 tablespoon of this stuff per run.  I typically run 20-30 coins at a time and could not be more impressed with this product.  Here are some pennies before and after:
Pennies take up to 1 hour to clean, and clad takes 2 to 4 hours depending on how bad they are.

This is a completely unsolicited testimonial.  You can order directly from Finch Products:

Monday, June 22, 2020

Digging for dollars in the playground

I got permission to dig in the playground in a nearby town today.  Apparently it is only about 2 years old.  But I have always had good luck finding free money in playgrounds and today was no exception!

In addition to $3.47 in coin I removed a bunch of hazardous scrap fencing wire and rust screws that could have hurt the kids. Also an earring and 2 zipper pulls. 

It was a hot windless day and I could only handle an hour or so, but will go back later so see what else I can find. 

I have not had much to report on in recent weeks, mostly because I have not gone out much.  But also what I did find was mostly trash.  That's how metal detecting goes sometimes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Restoring a splitting maul I found at a historic site

In metal detecting we often see "surface finds" - items just laying out in the open.  In this case I was exploring a historic site near my home that dated back at least 100 years.  Hidden against the brick wall of the building was this 8 pound splitting maul head with just a scrap of the original shaft remaining.  It was in great condition, this is what it looked like when I found it:
I'm guessing it is around 50 - 70 years old.

I decided to make a new shaft for it so I could use it for splitting my firewood.  I had an Ash board that I cut down the middle and glued up to make it thicker:

Then I cut and shaped the 32" handle on my band saw and belt sander:

I finished the handle and secured it to the head with a wedge I made from a scrap of rosewood.   (I pounded in the wedge with the 3lb cross pein hammer I dug up in my yard last week).  I put on a coat of linseed oil and went out to try it on some pine.  It works perfectly!  At 8 lbs this is a BEAST of a splitter!