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Bottle probing rod..how to make and use.

Flasks

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2020
79
18
In 1962 I made my first bottle probing rod and having nothing but problems I continued to develop this rod for the next 5 or so years. I finally designed the perfect rod for finding bottles and privies and it has rewarded me with many fantastic bottles, not only single but with it sounding the ground for pre-dug pits. If you decide to make one according to my drawing it is important to following the drawing as close as possible:
1. The steel rod should be 7/16" in diameter and be of SPRING steel. This rod can be found in old car trunk where two of two of these rods hold the trunk lid open.
2. The total length needed will be the distance from your upper waist, to ground level.
3. The handle and stiffening rods comes from a scrapped bicycle frame with the stiffening rod being the smallest diameter that the rod will pass through into the handle made from the 1" diameter tubing. File off all sharp edges.
4. assemble as in the drawing and gas braze or weld where shown all around the washer and tubing. Make sure the
top of the rod is against the upper part of the handle.
Once this rod is completed and the tip PROPERLY ground as the picture shows, start practicing where you know a bottle or pieces of glass exist. Don't quit! keep practicing and before long you will be able to tell the difference between a rock, a tin can, odd material and glass. Always PUSH the probe, wiggle lightly when you think you're on glass or else you'll mark the glass from the tip of the rod. I have found early light bulbs over a foot deep without breaking them..this you'll be able to do after awhile, JUST DON'T QUIT, practice enough and that rod will be like your eyes seeing under the ground. I taught my wife to use a rod I made for her and her very first bottle was a pontiled cobalt blue umbrella ink. If you hit a privy or dug hole made years ago for trash that rod will offer very little resistance. If you have questions please email me privately and I may be able to help your further.
 

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hemihampton

Well-Known Member
Oct 6, 2006
5,518
83
I just bought a new fancy shiny one. But I think my old bent rusty one works better then the new one. LEON.
 

Flasks

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2020
79
18
I just bought a new fancy shiny one. But I think my old bent rusty one works better then the new one. LEON.
Spring steel rods made from trunk springs (2 crossed rods with angles ends) will not bend and will transmit a better sound than the rod you must have made yours from. I've put my full weight of 175 lbs on mine when probing for privies for over 30 years and it's still straight as an arrow. The 7/16th diameter is best for all around probing.
 

hemihampton

Well-Known Member
Oct 6, 2006
5,518
83
I didn't make mine. I bought it from my Digging Partner when he bought a new one & I bought his old one. His old one he bought from a Bottle digging Probe maker/dealer & it's spring steel. I've used both non spring steel & many different Spring Steel probes. Some are more springy then others. my old one will spring back into shape but might leave a slight or small curve in it. What I like about it over my new one is I can feel the ground better through the handle & it has a recessed area behind the tip that holds a sample of the ground which I'm happy when I see white Ash on it. The new one no recessed area behind tip means no sample of the dirt which to me is not good. LEON.
 

Flasks

Well-Known Member
Feb 20, 2020
79
18
I didn't make mine. I bought it from my Digging Partner when he bought a new one & I bought his old one. His old one he bought from a Bottle digging Probe maker/dealer & it's spring steel. I've used both non spring steel & many different Spring Steel probes. Some are more springy then others. my old one will spring back into shape but might leave a slight or small curve in it. What I like about it over my new one is I can feel the ground better through the handle & it has a recessed area behind the tip that holds a sample of the ground which I'm happy when I see white Ash on it. The new one no recessed area behind tip means no sample of the dirt which to me is not good. LEON.
Glad to learn that others have developed the skill to use the rod...it will talk to you if you practice. Up here in western PA sampling the ground is not required. At times I've just about stood on those handles due to loose shale when hunting specifically for the privy...I've never bent a rod yet. Another good use is that the rod is just your "walking stick" when confronted by a park warden in a restricted area. I hunt early ghost town in which this area has many so no screw tops, clear glass or Owen's bases..once in awhile a vegetable can with soldered ends shows up...no wonder some people died of lead poisoning. For me, my wife and others I've taught to use the rod, the 5/16" turns out to be ideal. The rod is also a great "extraction" tool.
 

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