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The dangers of digging


Well-Known Member
Jan 11, 2020
New Jersey
Yup nothing like a #6 - #8 finishing nail or #6 or #10 common nail to ventilate your foot and shoe !
I do tile work and was putting down wire lathe with my buddy. He was using roofing staples that were 1 inch wide and about 1 1/2 long. The guy we were working for came in to talk with us as we worked. Jerry is a bull and was using the stapler like a machinegun. He put a staple thru the guys sneaker, it went his pinkey toe. Basically stapling his foot to the floor. It was real bad. Jerry pulled the staple out with a screwdriver and pliers. I said to my self, that's it, we aren't getting payed. The guy was real mad then calmed down and said it was his Own fault for bothering us while we were doing work like this. All and all we got paid and gene limped around for the 3 days we were there. He never did go to the hospital. He is a real tough guy. Just walked it off. Crazy now that i think about it! ROBBYBOBBY64.


Active Member
Apr 30, 2008
One of my favorite dumps was in a ravine between two cemeteries dating back to the 1860's. Dug many many great sodas from a couple of Coke Hutches to some nice rare Coke & Pepsi Straight Sides, easy digging they dumped down the side of a hill no deeper to dig than 3-4 feet, I dug a milk glass face cream jar with the rusted lid still on it with two $1 gold pieces in it, my all-time favorite dump, I sat down on a board that had a nail in it 4-5" long, OUCH!!! I got a bad bad Staph infection in my hip that looked like I was carrying a football in my back pocket. A weird strain of bacteria that all most killed me as the antibiotics would not kill it, the hospital lab had never seen this strain of Staph before and they sent the sample to the CDC, the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic to get it identified to find out what antibiotic would fight it, the CDC came up with the answer first and only a relatively new antibiotic called Zoysyn would fight it. Vanc, Clyna, and Sulfa drugs wouldn't. I think it had to do with the cemetery, old 1800s graves were 10 yards off this hill. Zoysyn is made from some type of tree and I had to have a PICC line for 12 weeks of this stuff, 6 in the hospital, and 6 weeks at home on top of the multiple surgeries to keep cleaning out the huge abscess. I lost nearly 100lbs in 3 weeks, went from 260lbs to 175lbs. This was 7 years ago and it permanently disabled me and I physically can't dig anymore and I do miss it but I thought a cave-in might get me one day, not a damn infection!

One of the rarest bottles I found there was an Embossed triangle-shaped clear poison bottle with ribbed edges from the Lewis Bear Drug Company, Pensacola, Fla. I sold it at the first bottle show I ever set up at in Greensboro, NC for $1600, the guy I sold it to flipped it to a poison bottle guy for $2000 set up at the same show! I'm a soda bottle guy and found one of these in all my searching and asking around and was told it was very rare and he last saw one for $1500-$1600 so I thought I'd put 1600 on it and let someone talk me down, nope guy saw it and counted me out 16 $100 bills and walked to the other end of the building to this guy with the best poison collection I'd ever seen, he had some very very expensive bottles that I would not even touch because of the price tag and I made a comment about selling a bottle he had on his table that was not for sale and he informed me that he paid 2k for it that day from a guy he knew there who bought it off a dealer there!!! I was sick when I found out how rare this bottle was at the time, only one I have ever seen dug, not even a piece of another example in the 10 years I dug at this dump. I'd seen Lewis & Bear Drug Co. bottles from Montgomery, Ala before but not a poison and they all were fairly common medicine bottles, I still have several of them wrapped up in tubs of my dug bottles in my shed.


Well-Known Member
Apr 29, 2020
A lot of glass housed made window glass as well as bottles. If you get in to one of those glass house dumps like I did in Medford NJ (Star Glass Works) WATCH OUT!
Also, on old farm dumps I find barbed wire everywhere! Not only is it sharp and rusty, but it covers the ground like a net making it nearly impossible to dig with out cutting it or pulling it up, it's so annoying!


Well-Known Member
Jun 9, 2013
Dumps are full of lots of nasties. Sharp pieces of metal and glass can really mess you up. I was digging around and stepped on a board with a rusty nail in it. It hurt like crazy but I have a tetanus shot.View attachment 207082
Done that myself; now , for me, it's only steel toe / steel shank work boots for working in hazardous soil.


Well-Known Member
Jul 14, 2019
I even wear my safety boots when doing minor projects around my house. One time I didn't (go figure), I dropped the end of an extension cord and it landed square on my toe and hurt like hell. The end of an extension cord! We're talking a few oz. at the most but man it must have got me in the worst spot.

Glass in the foot is even worse. Especially if it's a small sliver (say if your wife dropped a wine glass and it shattered). I could feel it every time I put weight on it but couldn't see it. A few days of misery later I soaked my foot in epsom salt and was finally able to grab the end of it with tweezers. Still could barely see it after removal - way smaller than a wood sliver.


Active Member
Dec 11, 2017
Agree. I did this sweeping the ground with my foot. Glass was sticking out of the ground and went right through my boot. Eight stitches....


Harry Pristis

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2003
Northcentral Florida
Some sobering, if not frightening, stories here. In decades of diving and digging and handling hundreds and hundreds of pounds of raw-edged window glass, I don't have a puncture or slice wound. Oh, I've had a few fingertip cuts from fanning in river bottom sediments, but nothing to recount here. I always wore leather gloves for these activities, and late in my career I bought some meat-cutters' Kevlar gloves. I still use 'em working in the yard.

I did, one day in Eastern Missouri, step on a potato fork -- you know, the kind of cultivator with 4-inch tines at right angle to the long handle. The fork was lying tines-up in long, wet grass in an abandoned farmstead. A single tine penetrated the heal of my rubber boot, and followed a path between my heavy stocking and the inside of the heel cup. *gulp* That was a learning experience. I retired the rubber boots, and resolved to better watch where I was stepping.

Robby Raccoon

Trash Digger
Jun 14, 2014
Locō movērī
Surprised I never saw this post before.
I made the mistake once of moving a cinderblock by picking it up from the bottom. Slashed my fingers open. Lol.
My main fear was what's in the water-- fishing line, hooks, sharp metal? I always wore surf mocks when using my feet to feel for bottles in dark water where visibility is nil.
But I did hear of a story of a digger who died in a pit when he broke a bottle that caused a toxic gas to form. Poor guy never knew what hit him. As for disease, unless the jar is sealed I wouldn't worry. Surely the exposed virons have denatured and the germs have died!?


Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2018
Peoria, IL
I had a story related to me recently from an old-timer about a digger absorbing chemicals from a bottle into his skin and dying.

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