This n’ that or Pigs Might Fly

Dodgy Post Titles

Although I am often tempted to reply to a post seen on a metal detecting forum with a clever-dick or ribald comment, I rein myself in. Here a few examples of the genre I’ve seen recently:


Numder 5 attracted witty comments. For example: Dating a bag seal is very easy. Look lovingly at it and ask if you can go for a drink sometime.” That made me smile, but I was pleased to see a number of sensible comments afterwards.

Pigs Might Fly

That eminent, successful and well respected detectorist Peter Ross [well, you should have] tells me that sometime towards the end of the year one of our leading detractors will say something complimentary and positive about the hobby.

Just as I was preparing the bunting, Peter deflated me [and a balloon I was blowing up] with the reminder that Warsaw Willy’s single sentence would be hard to find as it will be deeply buried amongst 2000 words of other crap, piffle and bullshit.

Demise of Detecting?

The NCMD has made an announcement re the possibility of the emergence of a rival organisation, the Institute of Detectorists. Read about it HERE. A FaceAche detectorist predicted this would eventually put an end to the hobby as we know it. Perhaps.

This cynical duffer reckons the demise of the hobby may have already started and is coming from within. I predict that metal detecting will take a back seat to that part of the hobby that is luring many into the difficult and challenging role of film director. I don’t know about you, but I’ve given up watching those tedious roller-coaster videos where nothing much happens as the wind whistles across the microphone like a demented banshee as another find is hoiked ( thanks to PB for the evocative word ) from the earth.

Another development, on rallies especially, will be a proliferation of endless videos taken with one of those infernal drone machines. Mark my words. And don’t get me on about those so-called clod shots. I don’t want to see them, thank you! Just post a decent picture.

Now You Don’t See Me, Now You Do!

From August, just in time for the new season, the Government has brought in new legislation to ban the wearing of camouflage clothing whilst metal detecting. The second reading of the Bill last week said that all hobbyists should wear high-vis jackets or waistcoats so they could be easily seen when in the field.

This comes about after a lone camo-clad detectorist suffered a heart attack on a secluded site and died. His body wasn’t located for another three days.

The initiative has been welcomed by The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Don’t worry. I didn’t know either! Olly did say that we must look after the finders’ of the nation’s heritage. Or was that Ed Vaisey?

High-vis clothing seems a small price to pay. Officers at the National Council for Metal Detecting [NCMD] were not enamoured with the idea, but have agreed to form a committee to look into the possibility of awarding a subsidy for any of their members who invest in bright yellow jackets.

Seen This?

Not entirely mine. Sent to me by a friend and slightly adapted.

Since youngsters of today have their texting codes ( LOL, OMG, TTLY etcetera ). The Oldies, not to be outdone by these kids, have developed their own codes.

ABPT – another bloody pull tab.

ATD – at the doctors

ASB – any spare batteries?

BFF – best friend’s funeral

FPS – front page Searcher?

BTW – bring the wheelchair

FWIW – forgot where I was

TFT – texting from toilet

GHA – got heartburn again


Dangers of Retirement

I suppose that having too much time on your hands is one of the dangers of retirement. It reminded me of a story that surfaced recently and received a lot of publicity in the States, but seems to have escaped the detecting based news feeds in the UK. It all began innocently enough when retired musician Henry Mora decided to take up the hobby of ‘treasure hunting’ – that’s metal detecting to you and me. 

Henry’s detector purchase was an unsuitable deep-seeking White’s TM 808 industrial type machine specifically designed to detect large buried targets such as septic tanks, tools, equipment, metal pipes and perhaps hoards. That was definitely a mistake. With hindsight, he should have sought advice before parting with his money.

Yes, you guessed. The first thing Henry did was to try it out in the garden and, after picking up a signal near his front patio, he started digging. He said that he only intended to go down about four feet, but the TM 808 detector kept beeping and ‘hinting’ that he was getting closer. 

After fourteen days a concerned neighbour who saw the mound of earth growing on Henry’s front lawn contacted the authorities. When the fire brigade responded to the emergency call they found two men inside the un-reinforced 60 feet deep hole using a bucket, rope and pulley system to remove the dirt. The hole was now so deep, Henry had hired two men from the local day centre to help him out.

The authorities stopped the excavation, fenced off the property and ordered Henry to hire an engineer to safely pack the earth back into the ground. Henry acknowledged that his search for buried treasure was getting out ‘totally out of hand,’ but said that he had no regrets in starting the dig because he firmly believed that there was ‘still gold down there.’ 

Electrolysis – a good Idea?

I’ve never tried electrolysis to clean unimportant coins and buttons, and always shunned detectorists ‘recommended’ ways on cleaning. Vinegar, Coke, Olive Oil, Bicarbonate of soda, WD40, Shiny Sinks et al, are all anathema to me.

But, as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and I was impressed with the results posted on a forum by John Furnevel (Bilkoboll). You can see the fine results in the example shown in the button. Here is John’s simple set-up:

He came across this method when looking for a way to clean a button he was convinced had some type of design under all the green and brown crud.

After a search online he realised that he had all the parts needed to give it a go. He needed an old phone charger (ideally not more than 12v DC output). Two crocodile clips, a glass jug and a stainless steel spoon plus some normal table salt … and a lot of confidence and enthusiasm.The charger he used was actually from an iPhone speaker dock!

John started by cutting off the wires on the charger then separating and stripping them, before attaching to the crocodile clips. He then filled the jug with enough tap water to cover the item to be cleaned, added a spoonful of salt to the water and stirred well.

The positive clip was attached to the spoon and the negative clip to the button. He then placed the spoon and button in the water, being very careful that they didn’t touch! If you don’t know which is positive and which is negative when you plug the charger in, the negative will start to fizz. If the spoon begins to fizz simply unplug and switch them around. DO NOT FULLY SUBMERGE THE CLIPS! You are now ready to go.

John says since he did his first button, he’s done more reading and understands the process better. He advises you not to use a stainless steel spoon as it contains chromium and can be very unpleasant when dissolved! You are also advised to use graphite, if possible.

Using salt will cause sodium and chloride gas. Sodium gas is harmless but the chloride is nasty so if your using salt then do it in a well ventilated area. Alternatively you can use a couple of table spoons of baking soda. John advises doing a bit of self- research.

Never leave the process unattended. Check every few minutes and especially that the charger is not overheating. Rub the item down with baking soda after its been removed, preferably with a toothbrush. DO NOT plug it in then go and make a cuppa!

The result

Before Electrolysis – and After. © JF

John says that he wouldn’t use electrolysis on coins, but on buttons and buckles, he wouldn’t hesitate on giving it a go.

Fill Yer Holes

I can hardly believe the story above, especially the size of Henry’s hole, but everything’s bigger in the States isn’t it! However, Henry’s escapade is a reminder to us all of one of the qualities all detectorists have and that is loads and loads of optimism. This is the fuel that keeps many detectorists going even when the odds are stacked heavily against us.

I used to get a lot from metal detecting. The hobby not only revitalised my childhood interest in history but taught me countless new things. One of the delights – and there are many – is that doing it right requires so much concentration that it makes troubles just fade away.  

Henry’s enormous 60-foot-hole. Mora admits his search got “totally out of hand.” Still, he won’t say he regrets starting the dig, because he thinks there’s still gold in the yard.

I apologise in advance if I have offended anyone. To all those with a humorudectomy operation who have failed to see the purpose of this post, it was simply to have a laugh at ourselves.

13 thoughts on “This n’ that or Pigs Might Fly

  1. The story about the bloke digging the large hole in his yard reminds me of that joke we see posted far to often. A bloke in a hole who was chasing a signal from his steel capped boots.
    I used to use salt in the cleaning kit i made, it certainly stinks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Especially in Texas, everything is larger John.Even the holes. LOL.

    and I do like the FWIW – forgot where I was.

    Love the humour.. and needed a chuckle today


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree I do not watch the videos, I just want to see the pictures of the end result as that is all that matters. On the electrolysis, I have used it often. If you save the sludge that is left, if you overdo the cleaning you can reverse the leads (electroplating) and some of it will go back on. A good way of adding age to an item.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds to me like the IoD is the same as the NCMD, but with support of the archeological society?

    Is this just a means to secure more funds for their own benefit all under the guise of making it sound all inclusive?

    With the £50,000 grant that Historic England has just coughed up, to me anyway, sounds like they mean to change the hobby as you know it forever?

    I’m also guessing that the £8 membership fee for the NCMD that is currently being charged, is going to be a practice steal compared to what I’m sure it’s going to cost with the IoD?

    Suddenly lawless Canada is looking much better! LOL…..

    On a more positive side…….TFT had me laughing out loud…..not that I’ve ever done that before? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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