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Walking stick, rock pick/hammer, dragon slayer, everything a geologist might want.

I bought just the 27 oz. "European rock pick" head, and installed it yesterday on a Honey Locust stick yesterday. Now I am trying to remove the outer bark while preserving as much as possible of the red-brown inner bark.

Then I will add 2" length of copper to protect the tip, and a steel spike for traversing rocky outcrops. Total length will be about 52 inches. At one-foot intervals, I think I will wind 1/4" bands of heavy gauge copper wire for measuring outcrops.

This will be an "American style" geologist's rock pick, good for hiking, climbing, measuring outcrops, collecting samples, and fending off any wild beasts. For hammering, a grip about 20" from the head actually works. The heavy handle below the grip works as a counterbalance. The grip position will influence the energy conveyed.

In a week I may be finished. The wood is still saturated with the Pentacryl dip, and won't take a Tung oil finish for some time.

Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey Locust) range map:
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I expect this to look awesome. The contrast between all the metal and the inner bark should be dramatic. I'll be taking a bit of vacation in a few days, but will check on the results as soon as possible.
 

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Looking good! How does the curve in the handle affect using either hammer or pick end of the head? I know a bunch of the new hammers out have started to have a bit of a curve to them to ensure the hammer face is actually parallel to the surface as you nail.

Yeah, looks like you could take on a moderate sized dragon with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Looking good! How does the curve in the handle affect using either hammer or pick end of the head? I know a bunch of the new hammers out have started to have a bit of a curve to them to ensure the hammer face is actually parallel to the surface as you nail.

Yeah, looks like you could take on a moderate sized dragon with it.
Won't use to nail, but the curve will protect knuckles when breaking rock with the hammer. It's pretty awkward when using the pick, but that is usually for detailed work, such as freeing a small fossil, and a regular size geologist's pick would work much better. The pick might be helpful in climbing a steep slope though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Today's progress:
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OK CAS! Ya went and made the Alpenstock before I could! Hopefully you haven't patent it -- I'm going to coppy your design. :)
Rad, I copy! ;-)

Your Alpenstock idea generated a great project for me. The stick wasn't ideal, but it was what I had. I've ordered another rock hammer head, and a week ago I found a hickory sledge handle that should work great for the hammer usage, although it's too short for a walking stick. I plan to remove the finish, sand down a bit, and maybe, just maybe try some wood burning on it, not sure yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
BTW, I got so excited when I saw how the Veritas rubber tip snapped into the copper fitting that I violated a basic principle: DON'T GET IN A HURRY!

Since in order to snap into the copper fitting (unlike the Veritas design which shows so much black rubber that I may as well use a tennis ball and shout "I'm disabled", the lowermost fitting was only about halfway over the wood in order to leave a recess just right for the rubber. (Hope that isn't too confusing a description.)

In the rush and excitement, I totally spaced out the fact that when the Veritas rubber tip is unscrewed to reveal the steel spike, that spike will also be recessed by the same amount, almost as long as the spike. So that feature will be just about useless as it will protrude only about 1/4", and the result would be damage to the copper fitting.

Still, overall, I like the result. Before work this morning, I drilled the end and epoxied the Veritas tip in. This evening I can begin rasping down the notches for the copper wire wraps at one-foot intervals for decoration as well as measuring rock outcrops.

I'm thinking, if on a field trip an argument ensues (as geologists are prone to do) regarding a rock type, fossil nomenclature, or formation name, I will have a distinct advantage. ;-)
 

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Looks like one tough dude! Very nice. When you wrapped the copper, how did you deal with the ends? Did you stick the ends in holes or something else? Looks nice.
 

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Looks good CAS! It makes me anxious to get one made! If I could only find a nice rock pick like you did!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looks like one tough dude! Very nice. When you wrapped the copper, how did you deal with the ends? Did you stick the ends in holes or something else? Looks nice.
Thanks!

Yes, I drilled two holes and bent the wire on one end to insert first. Then after winding, it's not easy to grab with wire pliers, stretch tight, hold and quickly cut, bend the other end, and then work or tap it in. The holes were of course on opposite edges of the groove and offset by perhaps 1/16".

Before wrapping, I applied a light coat of epoxy to the groove, and so wore very thin neoprene gloves. After wrapping, I applied a light coat of epoxy to the exterior of the wire.
 

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Looks good CAS! It makes me anxious to get one made! If I could only find a nice rock pick like you did!
This wasn't cheap. Pick head without the 30" handle was around $50 no including shipping. http://minerox.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=1072&ParentCat=5
I called them and they were willing to ship just the head.
Yes, I know, I've looked at that web site -- I've been kind of hoping to find one used like I did those draw knives. And find it locally, so I don't have to pay all that shipping for a hunk of iron!
 

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Keep an eye peeled in your antique malls, flea markets and garage sales.

A possible alternative to a geologist pick is a masonry hammer. I have a cousin who's a geologist, and my late father-in-law was a geological engineer and prospector for many years, and both of them like to have masonry hammers as well as picks. Different uses, so I hear, and much more common to find used. (and thus cheap)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Keep an eye peeled in your antique malls, flea markets and garage sales.

A possible alternative to a geologist pick is a masonry hammer. I have a cousin who's a geologist, and my late father-in-law was a geological engineer and prospector for many years, and both of them like to have masonry hammers as well as picks. Different uses, so I hear, and much more common to find used. (and thus cheap)
I hired a 70 year old stone mason some 20 years ago. He worked alone because the young ones couldn't keep up. He built a stone mailbox and did a cinder block wall where a waterfall would be built. I helped him in order to learn from him. Then I bought a mason's hammer like his and added stone veneer to the cinder block wall for a huge waterfall at the end of our pool.

Whenever I went on a geologic field trip to look at really hard rock, limestone or igneous rock, I'd take that mason's hammer. The edges are not rounded like a sledge, and it will really break rock - that's what it's designed to do. The opposite side is more or less like a big fat chisel.

WEAR EYE PROTECTION! I've had chips draw blood on my face a number of times.
 

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hired a 70 year old stone mason some 20 years ago. He worked alone because the young ones couldn't keep up. He built a stone mailbox and did a cinder block wall where a waterfall would be built. I helped him in order to learn from him. Then I bought a mason's hammer like his and added stone veneer to the cinder block wall for a huge waterfall at the end of our pool.

Whenever I went on a geologic field trip to look at really hard rock, limestone or igneous rock, I'd take that mason's hammer. The edges are not rounded like a sledge, and it will really break rock - that's what it's designed to do. The opposite side is more or less like a big fat chisel.

WEAR EYE PROTECTION! I've had chips draw blood on my face a number of times.
Yeah, my late father-in-law prospected for asbestos and uranium, but mostly for iron ore. He discovered one of the largest deposits up in Iron River, MI and the largest one at Pilot Knob in Missouri back in 1965. We ended up with some of his field equipment including his old pick and his old masonry hammer, along with his Lake Superior model Gurley dip needle and solid copper gold panning pan. Old George was quite a character. He's the one on the left in this picture. https://flic.kr/p/aieY9Z As a geologist you may appreciate the significance of him receiving the Robert Peele Award in 1965.
 

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I have two Mason's hammers -- I've done a little block laying, and the chisel end works real well for cutting block -- but I really want one of those picks for my Alpenstock -- or a real antique ice pick/axe.
 

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About the summer of 1971, just out of the Marine Corps two years. The O.U. geology department gave me a summer job at their field camp near Canon City, CO. I spent weekends looking in remote areas for old mines.

About ten miles out of Aspen, I found an old mine entry that had caved in. Of course at that age, I was invincible (and lived a bit to much on the wild side). I dug out a gap at the top of the rubble pile, just below the mine roof, and squeezed through. I had a miner's hardhat and a carbide lamp. I couldn't go far because the entry sloped downward into water. But this lay adjacent to the cave-in, just inside the mine. I have always wondered whether it's owner lay underneath the pile of rock.

Maybe you could find something like this in an antique store in mining country. I laid my new one adjacent to the old one for comparison. Total length of the old miner's hammer is 18 1/4". I assume that it dates back to the mid-1800's.

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