Picks--what do you use?

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Post  Guest on Sun Apr 12, 2009 7:03 am

Gday

I have generally used the standard Walko type pick but have found that I tend to wear them out pretty quickly so I was wondering at what other types are available.

Have tried welding chisel bits and such to them ( the rotary hammer type) but they go blunt pretty quick too, so I think its time to get something a bit more serious, but also light enough to carry about as well.

JP I saw on your gpx factor vids that your were using some kind of pick that had rolled up sides on the scraper end, didnt get a good look at the pointy bit, looks a pretty serious pick though, wouldnt mind finding out who does them.

cheers

stayyerAU

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Post  MS on Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:19 am

Hi Stayyer
I bought a large Walco pick with a long handle, as most of us do and it is a good design, but found it lacking in a couple of areas that I have modified and improved on and it works well for me.
1.
The first problem was the length of the pointed end which prevents a short swing when getting down a bit when trying to retrieve a deep target.
Yes you can open out the hole more which means more work but by simply cutting off
about an inch and a half makes a big difference with this problem.
The reshaping of the sides to give a contour back to the point but allowing a wider point of say 30% still allows depth of penetration per blow in hard soil and gives a stronger point for levering out large rocks without flexing which can lead to point breakage.
2.
The next problem is too much soil falling off spade section and falling back into the hole, this really annoyed me and was easily fixed by welding two wings on each side creating more of a spade. I used material of the same thickness and about ½’’ wide and arc welded them on at 40 deg and ran them down each side to within an inch of the handle.
This works great and I can now easily lift out 3 times the soil with each scoop or scrape.
Obviously some degree of skill is required for this modification using arc welding and cutting with a slit saw and angle grinder and care must be taken to quench hot steel to prevent temper loss but it can be done with little loss of hardness.

I do understand that from a manufacturing point of view the original product is simple to mass produce and is value for money but not in my opinion a very efficient tool for digging.
I would have been happy to pay double upfront to have the option to purchase something more to what I have now strait off the shelf, but couldn’t find anything here or os.
When you think of all the money you spend on equipment the pick is one of the most important tools of this trade and a more efficient pick means more efficient target retrieval , more time saved less strain to the body.
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Post  gray.nomad on Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:29 pm

This may be of interest to you, Stayyer.
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180345586971QQssPageNameZMERC_VIC_RCRX_Pr3_PcY_BID_IT&refitem=180338874548&itemcount=3&refwidgetloc=closed_view_item&usedrule1=CrossSell_LogicX&refwidgettype=cross_promot_widget&_trksid=p284.m183&_trkparms=algo%3DCRX%26its%3DS%252BI%26itu%3DUCI%252BSI%26otn%3D3
Made by a prospector for prospectors. BTW, it's not me.
Maybe he will even make them to your requirements?
I bought a "Cyclone" pick, 3 foot long handle, 3 inches blade one side, 0.5 inch at the business end.
Allows me to dig deep holes. Also carry a smaller pick, about 1/3 the size on my belt.

See you up them thar hills
Frank
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Post  Greg on Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:14 pm

Hi All.
A friend of mine (a fellow detectorist ) made me a pick out of a landrover spring & it is very light & strong. I will take a photo & post it. it looks very simple.
Cheers Greg.

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Post  Guest on Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:02 am

Over the years I have used all sorts of picks, some were store bought and others were home made and I guess they are a bit like fishing rods - no such thing as a good all-rounder. Depending on the area I am detecting, I generally alternate between a medium size Walco for soft ground and a large home made monster for hard ground.

One of the problems with most picks is getting into tight spots like around tree roots and between boulders so a few years back I made up a slide bar which consists of a 600mm length of 25mm steel water pipe with a 100mm length of 25mm solid steel rod welded to one end. I use this to drive an 800mm length of tempered and sharpened 16mm steel rod - the same principle as the old bead breaker for tyres. It is also very handy for digging deep targets - saves having to dig a large diameter hole. It's not the sort of tool to carry around so I leave it in the vehicle until needed.

caveman

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Post  Guest on Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:27 am

Gday

Ideally I am after a medium sized pick that has a hardened tip and a scooped scraper end, it annoys me that I have to constantly sharpen the pointy end, some of the well compacted ground makes it hard going and you can be assured that if you find something thats in calcrete or rock you will be some distance from your vehicle.

So you need to be carrying something that has the ability to break rock and take a bit of punishment in the first instance, and after you have done you initial investigation if need be then you can go back to the vehicle for the rotary hammer or crowbar etc.

cheers

stayyerAU

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Post  MS on Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:02 am

Sharpening picks after hard use is something you can’t really
avoid as they are already hardened to the point of function for intended use.{ that’s
quality brands not the Chinese type with poor grade cast steel }


Yes you can harden them more to prevent wear but it comes at
a cost and that’s the


harder the steel is the more brittle it becomes.


That’s fine for a knife or cutting edge but not for an
impact tool.


You could try to harden it more by heating the tip to a
cherry red and quenching it in oil and depending on the amount of carbon in the
steel this should work ok but but I would not guarantee the point not to snap off with a heavy blow on a hard
surface.


The other option is to heat to cherry red and apply a case hardening
paste to harden the outer layer of the steel.


I have a old small Eastwing
gemmology pick I have used on an off for 20+ years and it is well worn down and
gets sharpened regularly and they are about as good as you can get as far as
quality goes and they wear down also.{rock sampling tool }


I do believe the picks available for prospectors could be
made better and also include


Winged sides for the scoop but I guess the demand isn’t high
enough for someone to bother to start production and the lower the turnover the
higher the unit cost.


Mark
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Post  Guest on Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:08 am

Give Miners Den a buzz...I noticed in the one in Parramatta there is a winged pick. Not sure what brand it is but it was a bit more exy than a Walco

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Post  Inhere on Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:28 pm

Hey stayyerAU, Have you tried a "porky's pick"?
I find them great for hard compacted ground.
They are an unusual design, the pointy end is slim but strong, for plenty of mean pressure and the other end is slightly dished and a bit oval shaped, I find it scoops the dirt out well. I have the medium one and my wife has a small one. plenty tough, the large size, you would not like to carry around but the medium ones fine.

I use a walco type if the ground is loamy but for hard compacted ground the porky's the go. I bought mine from Barrie Johnson but Tony Mills at Goldsearch Australia in Donally has them.
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Post  goldhog22 on Fri May 22, 2009 11:09 am

Hi All,
Yep had the same trouble last year, Got me some faceharding rods from my welding mate and did the job at home,, Just ran a nice weld accross the wide end and up the sides a bit ..Hold its edge real good .. The next bit makes me smile..On the tip I fitted a tuncston bit from a drill ..looked good and was fine untill I trided to dig through some Kalcreet? had a good sig. and kept digging ..yep it was the bit off the pick..now I have a GOOD colechisel welded there and seems to work fine..And if its to deep and the Kalcreet is to hard, have a elect. JH.. just in case...Bit hard to carry on your belt..Smile ...Bob

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