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Field CollectingNew Toy / Tool for Mineral Collecting

2nd Oct 2019 00:49 UTCDerek Lowe

I am new to this mineral collecting thing - I started in early August of this year - but I knew that I needed a good poker / probe if I wanted to find good places to dig to look for crystals.  I asked my brother for help - and sent him a diagram - and an in-law of his made me an EXACT replica of what I drew.  Pretty heavy duty and works great!  Took it to the Smart Mine this past weekend to look for Titanite and I found two of them in the first hole I dug on a spot found with the probe.

2nd Oct 2019 00:50 UTCDerek Lowe

Great handle

2nd Oct 2019 00:50 UTCDerek Lowe

Nice sharp point

2nd Oct 2019 00:53 UTCDerek Lowe

The spoils of the new toy... :)

2nd Oct 2019 02:03 UTCJake Harper Expert

Awesome tool, Derek!
Your tool could work well for finding fossil wood as well.
Collectors use similar tools for probing the ground in the western deserts.
The much harder woods give a higher pitch ring than other rock when struck.
Those a great finds!

2nd Oct 2019 03:01 UTCMatt Courville

Great finds! being creative is key to finding new spots in well picked locations

2nd Oct 2019 03:07 UTCDerek Lowe

Thanks!  That's what I was counting on.  I probed a hole that was already dug right next to a calcite wall that was full of crystals, and found that there was another two feet that the hole could be dug down.  The first foot or so was backfill and debris but the bottom foot contained lots of red apatite and the two titanites pictured above

9th Nov 2019 16:57 UTCDavid Zimmerman (2)

I had made a tool similar to this years ago, but it operated more like a fence post pounder to be used on a 6' pry bar. I quickly learned that handle orientation was crucial for ergonomics. when the handle was perpendicular to the rod, the shock drove right through your hands and wrists. Having the handle go parallel to the shaft allows your hands to slide when the tools stops and thus there is no shock to the hands. Of course this all depends on how violently the tool is being rammed down. Probes are a brilliant tool for finding new pockets. 

15th Nov 2019 02:53 UTCDerek Lowe

I am only using my weight to gently push the poker down - since I don't want to break any specimens I hit - so I don't do any pounding and there are no shocks to my hands at all (plus I wear gloves anyway).  There is certainly more than one way to get the probing work done though...

14th Nov 2019 21:52 UTCamos u. (amos underwood)

what a brother, in the truest sense of the word.

I'm interested in making something for myself, David would you mind sharing the diagram?

Also, I am assuming he made it out of steel? Maybe dumb question but would aluminum be a lightweight alternative?

15th Nov 2019 02:50 UTCDerek Lowe

Here is the pic that I sent my brother, and exactly what he had our cousin make (the one at the left, with the handle directly over the shaft).  I find I push down quite hard on it sometimes, so I would go with steel as opposed to aluminum - mine isn't THAT heavy (and it good protection against animals, if needed :) )

14th Nov 2019 23:51 UTCScott Rider

Sweet tool!  Just be careful, as you may poke some crystals!  But I'm sure you'll figure that out!  Nice titanite find as well!!  

15th Nov 2019 00:27 UTCMatthew Droppleman

Genius idea!

15th Nov 2019 00:28 UTCMatthew Droppleman

You could make a nice amount of money just by selling those! I know I would buy one!

15th Nov 2019 02:51 UTCDerek Lowe

I am actually planning on asking my cousin how much it costs to make the poker, with materials and labor included.  I know that after only a couple of site trips, I easily would have paid $100 or so for it... (titanites, red apatite, etc.)

15th Nov 2019 13:14 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

I've seen similar tools for this purpose, except much shorter; maybe three feet at most. I too would be concerned about damaging specimens, but with practice I'm sure one can get a "feel" for what lies below.

The only change I might make is the crafting of a loop on the end instead of a handle in case you need to wrap something around to yank it out.
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