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!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Pocket watch dug on the Meeting House lawn

I haven't posted recently because I have been detecting on the town school property and not finding anything exciting.  Lots of gum wrappers, pull tabs etc.  I did get about $4 in coins over that last week or so though.  I call this my "Get Rich Slow Scheme".  It's nice to get out during the pandemic and do social distancing and enjoy the nice sunny spring days.

I am a Quaker and I help to maintain the Meeting House building and grounds and have been doing some garden maintenance for the last few days.  Today I decided to go over the lawn with my detector again.  In the past I had not found much, but the ground conditions are ideal - moist soil is more conductive so I can find deeper signals.

As I explored the lawn area I found several items that were over 8" down.  The best find was this pocket watch, I bet this was missed by the person who lost it!

Here are some closer pictures:

And I found this item that seems to be a brass button with the initials RMR with a C around them.

I also found a quarter and a few pennies.  Not bad for a half hour!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

3-lb cross pein hammer dug up in my garden!

I was bored this afternoon and decided to get out the metal detector and take a swing around my yard.  I worked around the garden beds thinking I might find coins spilled from pockets.  I got a really strong signal and started digging.  About 8" down I heard a "clink" of metal and as I started to open up the hole I saw rusty metal and assumed it was another piece of farm equipment scrap.  Digging around it I was unable to get it out until I realized it had an extension that wasn't being picked up by the metal detector.  So I trenched the hole out about a foot and eventually hauled this rusty old 3-lb cross peen hammer out. 

I know it isn't mine, so it has been there at least 19 years and was probably dropped by the construction crew that built my house in 2000.  It is in pretty good condition and the wood handle is still strong.  I ground off most of the rust and will let the handle dry out for a while before I try wrapping it with tape to make it more friendly to hold.  This will be a nice addition to my hammer collection!