How To Cut a Plug When Metal Detecting


Metal detecting is best known as a hobby for modern-day treasure hunters. Since the beginning of time, items have gone missing only to be found later by someone who stumbled upon them. As the years move forward after an object has been lost or forgotten about, many changes in the landscape can impact or cover the item, so it is no longer visible to the human eye.

Metal is a resistant material, so it can stay underground for many years without taking on too much damage. The deeper an item is buried, the harder it is to locate. One of the best ways to find metal underground is using a metal detector.

Coins are a great example of what can be found underground with the help of a metal detector. Beaches, riverbanks, parks, yards, and school grounds are common places to find loose change and random unexpected discoveries.

It is expected that all metal detectorists understand the guidelines and general rules of the hobby, though. Whether permission is mandatory before detecting or if the land is open to all without special access permits, there are right and wrong ways to go about finding, digging, and removing found treasures.

Preparation For The Work

Metal detecting is performed through several big and small steps. If you follow the steps correctly, there are good chances you will increase the efficiency while achieving the best possible results on each hunt. First, you have to discover the targets with your metal detector. Using discrimination features to avoid trash or similar items of no value is good. When you are sure of the item’s location, it is time to dig.

Depending on the depth of the item, a small shovel will make a significant difference and protect your hands from unnecessary injury. Protective gloves are also recommended for metal detecting to avoid cuts and scrapes from rocks, rusted debris, weeds, and thorns. It is also recommended to use protective knee pads for the same reason. These items are not expensive and will make a difference for each terrain you work on.

How To Do The Job

Some hobbyists do not understand that the size of the hole you dig is an essential part of metal detecting. The larger the hole, the longer it takes to refill and cover, which uses more time and energy than necessary in most situations.

Unless the size of the object being dug up is large and requires a larger area for removal, there is no need to over exaggerate your digging. Starting with a small hole, a pinpointer can quickly tell you when you get closer to the item and provide an approximate size based on the beeping frequency.

It is also good to know how to dig properly. A beginner might think every deep enough hole is good; however, that’s not entirely true. There are some things you have to pay attention to while digging. Metal detecting is typically performed in open nature, so it is imperative to protect the environment. The ground is the primary habitat for some animals and many plant species.

It would be best if you were careful not to jeopardize the lives of those living beings. Protecting the living species is one reason it is crucial to dig small holes whenever possible. A second reason small holes are better than larger ones is the reduced impact on the ground around the hole after refilling and covering.

Cutting a plug is the term used when detectorists begin their digging process. A plug is a small entry point to a hole that maintains the ground structure and allows easier digging in the area. When everything from the hole has been identified and removed, the plug can be placed back in its original spot, and the ground will appear as it did before any digging occurred.

Some terrains are not suitable for digging. The grass can be very high, or the ground can be temporarily covered with water. When possible, it is recommended to eliminate any obstacles before cutting a plug. Waiting for the grass to be cut or getting permission to cut the grass and waiting for water to dry up or be removed with water removing tools will ensure a clean and dry area for metal detecting and digging.

A plug can be cut with a small shovel or even a flat head screwdriver. Using a pinpointer as a guiding device, you will know where to dig and find your target. Sometimes lost items are not far beneath the surface and will come up with the plug. When this happens, it is easy to put the plug back in its place and not refill any holes.

For objects that are deeper than just below the surface, a plug can be cut by marking the center of the hole, where the item is suspected to be, and cutting in a circular pattern a few centimeters or inches away from the center. The cut does not need to be super deep, just enough to lift the piece of terrain away from the hole without damaging the plug.

In some locations, the plug does not need to be removed entirely. Instead, before completing the circular cut, it can be flipped to expose the soil underneath while remaining intact with its surrounding ground.

After cutting the plug, you can now dig deeper into the hole. Again, this is the best time to use your pinpointer to better signal where the item will be found. It is a good idea to dig a few inches deeper than the reading on the metal detector or pinpointer to provide easier access for removal and keep extra digging to a minimum.

If the initial reading says 4 inches deep, dig 6 inches deep. When you have found the buried object, make sure to put all the loose soil back in the hole and securely place the plug back in position. This step is crucial to maintaining green grass, plant life, and general safety for everyone in the area. It is also recommended to collect any trash you may find in the hole to help and protect the environment.

Finishing The Procedure

The circumstances are not always ideal after cutting a plug. Sometimes, water and mud may be underground that hinder the search or make it too difficult to continue. These outcomes should be treated differently from a cut plug and a successful dig. It is imperative to protect and maintain the environment where every dig occurs.

If there is mud, soil, sand, or a mixture of ground coverage within a hole, do not forget to return it all to the digging area before placing the plug. Once the plug is back in its original spot, use the back of your shovel to press on the ground and create a hard surface like it was before any digging took place.

Any trash or personal items brought to the dig site must also be removed as a favor to nature. Littering is considered an offense and can result in fines and fees from authorities.

Code of Conduct

The rules and regulations are pretty clear about this particular hobby. Metal detecting is a permitted activity, and anyone can freely buy a detector and additional equipment for the purpose of locating lost and forgotten items. It is even available to kids through age and size-related tools that better suit their needs and wants. Respecting the metal detecting code of conduct can spare you many unnecessary troubles.

Anyone wanting to metal detect must know and understand that there are some areas where metal detecting is not allowed without explicit permission from the proper authorities. Historical sites, government-owned land, and national parks are examples of off-limit areas.

On the other hand, most beaches, parks, rivers, lakes, shores, meadows, and some forested areas are publicly open to detectorists. There may still be some restrictions in publicly accessible areas, but posted signage should be easily located if there are any specific rules for a particular location.

Suppose you are ever unsure of what is and is not allowed in any geographical area. In that case, local metal detecting clubs, land management offices, and public record offices can help determine if a site needs special permission or is already established as publicly accessible.

It is also good to keep in mind nature is the home to a multitude of various animal and plant species. Some species may be endangered, so it is critical to be cautious of any area’s natural habitats and surroundings. Loud noise can, for example, disturb birds’ nests, so you should always pay attention to your behavior.

Avoiding unfamiliar plants can protect you from infections, rashes, inflammation, or allergic reactions while preserving the plants’ natural self-defense mechanisms. For the most part, staying on marked trails will also help keep the natural plants and vegetation of the area safe from being trampled or unintentionally harmed.

Do not do anything problematic from the moral point of view, and you will be fine.

Jason Smith

I am a Marine who now works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, and coffee, soaking in hot springs or in my hot tub.

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