Spring and Plasti-Dip

Yesterday it was 55 degrees and sunny. Today its supposed to be 70 with bright skies, so I’m headed out a little later with a new hunting buddy, Josh, going back to the second 1870 house that Tom and I scanned last weekend…hopefully, with better results.

Josh, an Army vet, went to high school with my oldest son and now has entered our hobby kindom with a Garrett AT Pro. He’s relatively new to metal detecting but has made some pretty outstanding finds and is eager to learn.

I’ll try to pass along a little knowledge today, which is what we should all do with new detectorists.

Monday is supposed to be an outstanding day, with temps in the mid-70s, and I’ll be out somewhere…right after I mow for the first time this year. Somewhere in that span I’ll have to squeeze in some time to triple-dip the business end of my Pro Pointer AT, an annual task that pays off by extending the life of the instrument. I prefer a product called ‘Plasti-Dip’, a rubbery, tough liquid that dries to the consistency of a bicycle tire and doesn’t affect the pin pointer’s sensitivity. I started doing this two years ago, after watching a YouTube vid of a guy who’d worn a hole in his pin pointer’s casing…not good. That’s what happens when you use the wand as a digging/scraping tool, and it’s not meant for that; I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford to buy a new pin pointer every year.

Dipping your pin pointer is relatively easy and can be done every 4 hours if you want multiple coatings. I usually suspend my instrument from a shelf above my work bench using a short length of cord, then dip it in the liquid’s can up to just below the LED light. I slowly withdraw the can ( move the Plasti-Dip can, not the pin pointer ) downward, holding the pointer steady and making sure the overage drips back into the container. Using an empty butter tub, I slide the Plasti-Dip aside and position the reusable butter tub directly under the freshly-dipped pin pointer, ensuring that the suspended tool is steadied and not swinging side to side. Any excess coating material will drip into the tub and can simply be thrown away when the coating process is finished.

Give the material 4-5 hours to dry and repeat the process; you’ll be good to go for the rest of detecting season…

…which I think is finally here.

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Hiluxyota and an Anticipated Hunt

It was a day I’d looked forward to; a chance to meet a fellow detectorist/YouTuber and do some metal detecting at a late 1800s prison now used as a museum, along with THREE houses built in 1870. I anticipated finding a lot of good stuff with Tom, who goes by Hiluxyota on YT, and couldn’t wait to meet him and get started. It was supposed to be overcast along with the upper-30 degree temps but that was OK by me. This was going to be fun!

It was, right up until I backed out of the garage into a light drizzling rain.

Well it couldn’t last, I thought as I drove to a retail lot to meet Tom. It did. The guy I’d watched metal detect on his video channel was just as nice in person as he comes across in his recordings. I gave him a little gift, a challenge coin issued by the police department I worked for, with an engraving of the old prison on the reverse side. Fitting, I thought, for where we were going to hunt.

Tom followed me to the old Ohio State Reformatory, a looming, castle-like structure that dates to the late 1800s. I was actually in the place once while it was still in use, tagging along with another officer to interview an inmate about some sort of crime. ‘Dank’, ‘dark’ and ‘odorous’ describe my memory of the joint, the cell blocks rising six stories. Most of the back end of the complex is gone now, having been demolished years ago, but the entrance and a good portion of one of the original cell blocks still stands. The OSR Preservation Society owns it now and conducts tours nearly year-round; they also host ghost hunts and have a hugely successful ‘haunted prison’ event in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Most of the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ was filmed there, too. I gained permission to metal detect the grounds mainly due to the director having been a past employee of the police department back in the day.

We pulled into the lot, only to discover the gates were locked; they weren’t scheduled to open until 10 AM. The three houses, also owned by the OSRPS, were just across the road, so that’s where we started. When we finished with those, back across the state route we went, hitting an area between the prison’s pond and the south perimeter fence. Once we finished up there Tom and I travelled across US 30 a few miles to the abandoned farm I’ve worked the last ¬†few months.

Aside from clad change, out of the five locations, we got squat. Zilch. Zero. PLUS it was very muddy everywhere but at the prison,so muc so that, when I got home over six hours later, I shed my outer wear in the garage. Then I soaked my aching back in a tub of hot water followed by a nap in the recliner.

Disappointed? Hugely, along with a slight dose of embarrassment. I know, no one can control what comes out of the ground, but still you’d think those houses would have produced something….

…and that’s why I went back to the first one today. I knew there had to be something there, and I wasn’t disappointed. Two IHPs, 1889 and 1904, came out of the front yard next to two old pine trees.

…and I’ll be going back to the other two just as soon as the weather and my schedule permit

The Ohio State Reformatory, early 1900s and present day