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  #1  
Old 02-13-2019, 03:15 PM
k2gleaner k2gleaner is offline
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Default How to: cut a plug in someone's lawn

Maybe there is a "how-to" section here but I'd like to know how the experts dig a neat plug if detecting on a finished lawn that needs to be left neat and tidy.

I'm new at this but I tend to cut a neat circle with the shovel pointed quite vertically. I lift and flip out the circle of turf with a fair bit of soil attached, often someone cone-shaped. That seems to leave plenty of soil for the roots to be mostly undisturbed - at least left in a way that ensures healthy growth after being put in place.

However, it's the subesquent digging around, deeper, that tends to leave a situation where the plug doesn't lay flat anymore b/c of the loosened soil that's been put back in the hole.

Just curious about tips and tricks.

FWIW, the only shovel I currently have is a standard garden shovel. Long handle, large blade that comes to a point. Not a spade. Not a specialized shovel.

Last edited by k2gleaner; 02-13-2019 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:02 PM
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Get rid of using a shovel. Get a hand held digger or a Hori knife. Learn how to pinpoint really well and you will not have to dig a hole bigger than a golf hole for most targets. Leave a flap on the plug so that it will go back into the hole perfectly. Put the extra dirt on a towel spread out next to the hole. For deeper targets you may have to dig a bigger plug. If the ground is really dry like in mid-summer I won't hunt in peoples yards because the plug may go brown if not watered.
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  #3  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:26 PM
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Got a right handed Lesche I'd sell, but your too dam far lol
Cutting plugs I'm proud to say was one of my strong points. Clean semi circle, flip up, pinpoint item, remove, flip back over, step on it to level it out.

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  #4  
Old 02-13-2019, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by k2gleaner View post
Maybe there is a "how-to" section here but I'd like to know how the experts dig a neat plug if detecting on a finished lawn that needs to be left neat and tidy.
It takes a little practice, and some common sense about good timing (avoid hot and dry conditions), but you can fairly quickly master the art of cut a plug in well-manicured grass so that you can retrieve a coin and leave little to no trace. There are several acceptable plug techniques, and plenty of Youtube videos that can show you how to execute various techniques:



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  #5  
Old 02-14-2019, 10:02 AM
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Yeah, theres all sorts of tricks when it comes to cleanly excavating targets...No need to dig a plug the size of a manhole cover most of the time...It helps to have a rig that gives some accurate feedback concerning the targets depth and profile signature...If its a 4-6" target, a guy can easily stab and wow it out with a screwdriver...makes no more tell tale signature than a robins pecker on a worm.

If its deeper, lets say a dime signal at 10"...on a well manicured area, yard or sports field, a guy can quick slit the grass with a simple folding lockback knife and then commence to hollow out an inverted shaped cone underneath.. a C section extraction of sorts.....theres no plug at all, just a slit in the grass large enough for you to get your hand down into to make the birthing process less visually detrimental...

Then, like you said, even with a slice of course you gotta repack..do your best and give the area a few good stomps...Nobody will know or see a thing that you were there...not like a mole or a squirrel...thats the goal, pull the target fast and leave absolutely NO Trace!

Digging a Manhole Cover sized plug or even a horseshoe flap is not necessary at all...Have an idea of the targets profile and location and depth...stab or slice accordingly...

The key is in the understanding the signal!..is it a D at 2" or a Q at 4"? The mastery of this target ID skill is primary!...Any old dummy can pop a 12" diameter plug with a spade and pull a 2" penny!...On manicured lawns, parks, sportsfields...a guy has to be skilled and delicate surgical and leave absolutely NO TRACE!...

In the Hinterlands, a guy dont have to worry about this...just go ahead and have at it with a tiling spade, pickaxe, or a Case 480 backhoe...

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  #6  
Old 02-14-2019, 11:13 AM
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I used a Lesche, and dig a U shape plug, mostly straight down, and fold that up so there's always a flap as the hinge if you will. Then, I'll dig deeper yet if need be and put that dirt back, and fold down the flap after getting the target out.

Lesche really does work well for this - I've used lower cost garden hand tools and even a Japanese garden knife and neither work as well by a long shot.

Always helps if the dirt is moist, nothing worse than dry hard soil or tight matty grass.

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  #7  
Old 02-14-2019, 11:57 AM
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1. Use a towel or piece of tarp to pile on the plug and loose dirt. You don't want it in the nearby grass. If I'm at a house site where my car will be nearby I bring along a plastic garbage can lid in case I confront a really deep target.

2. Nobody will give you a medal for always trying to dig plugs barely big enough to extract a coin. In fact, it can be problematic:

-Small plugs are more likely to fall apart unless the root system is very tight.

-If you don't pinpoint accurately you might need to widen the hole and end up with a mess.

-The Garrett pinpointer will detect off of the sides and tip, so in a narrow hole the target could be in the bottom or in the walls and the pinpointer will signal either way.

-You could unmask a nearby target and need to widen the hole anyway. (If that happens, pack the existing small hole back together and make a new one using the side of the previous hold as the starting point of a new hole.)

-Coins and similarly shaped objects resting in the ground at about a 45 degree angle will pinpoint off center in the direction the coin is facing up. The deeper it is the worse it will be off center. Ever have a coin in the wall of a hole and you just know you pinpointed accurately? It was probably resting at an angle.

So, the sketchier the reading or deeper the reading, the larger the plug. The better you are at predicting depth the better you'll be at digging the appropriate sized plug.

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  #8  
Old 02-14-2019, 12:01 PM
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Mudpuppy.And don't forget the Pinpointer!
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  #9  
Old 02-14-2019, 03:23 PM
k2gleaner k2gleaner is offline
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Default Fantastic stuff

Fantastic answers. Thank you.

I just got the detector on Sunday and from my email notifications, I see that my ProPointer just arrived at my house. (Hopefully placed in the screen porch where my wife won't see it... )

A pinpointer would've helped last night greatly. I dug about 5 pennies with just the AT Pro. I took my time to scan back and forth, moving forward and backward, and then at a 90-degree angle, too. I then cut a full square cut (four sides, one spade-width long, and removed a deep plug with roots fully intact. Problem was, each coin was just below, or in the thickest roots. I never needed to dig it like that. I actually ended up scraping layers of soil off and into the hole with my A.M.Leonard knife (kinda Lesche-like). In the end, I was basically placing turf back in place. However, each time, I left it quite neat, so that was good.

However, pinpointing and popping would've been a MUCH quicker alternative. Many of you would've had the coin out and moved on by the time I figured out where I wanted to dig a 12" cut. Not worried about it though b/c I'm knew and learning.

Originally Posted by Mud-puppy View post
...or a Case 480 backhoe...
Hmmm. I see the in-laws at the family farm just rented a backhoe for a few weeks... that could help at the school... I'm on the board anyway.

Last edited by k2gleaner; 02-14-2019 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:09 PM
k2gleaner k2gleaner is offline
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I'm pretty sure this is an A.M. Leonard knife that I'm using. Somewhat serrated edge. Worked really well in the wet soil last night.
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  #11  
Old 02-14-2019, 06:10 PM
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Mud Puppy's suggestion, the slit method, is the least invasive way to retrieve a target. Done properly, no one will be able to find where you dug. Another tip. Get one of those silicone roll-up baking sheets instead of a towel to put the dirt on. Nothing sticks to it and it pours easily back in the hole.The method is described here:
http://goldpanprospectors.com/files/...Y_METHOD11.pdf

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  #12  
Old 02-15-2019, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dgerst View post
Mud Puppy's suggestion, the slit method, is the least invasive way to retrieve a target. Done properly, no one will be able to find where you dug. Another tip. Get one of those silicone roll-up baking sheets instead of a towel to put the dirt on. Nothing sticks to it and it pours easily back in the hole.The method is described here:
http://goldpanprospectors.com/files/...Y_METHOD11.pdf
Iíve been using a 1 gallon ziplock bag. It fits in an empty pocket. You donít lose anything on the ground and it pours the dirt right out.
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  #13  
Old 02-15-2019, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by ToySoldier View post
1.

2. Nobody will give you a medal for always trying to dig plugs barely big enough to extract a coin.
No they wont... No medals awarded for leaving No Trace...thats the point though...No medals awarded for not being seen or leaving any evidence you were there, tickets/banishments/tongue lashings and trouble awarded for being seen though....

Humans are funny, especially old wimmen! They see a guy in a nice park/yard/sportsfield with a detector and kneepads and a shovel excavating? Or even the minor evidence thereof and They get all hinky sometimes, like its their civic duty to report or stop this assault... as if a guy is doing irreparable harm to the Planet? Then they take action to shut you down..'No Detecting Allowed'...So thats what we are attempting to avoid by leaving NO Trace...basically avoiding the ire and eye of Old Wimmen!

In the scheme of things, who the hell cares how big or nasty a hole a guy digs? The only reason a guy has to even consider this subject is on account of Old Wimmen!....avoid their witness as much as possible...They will sit across the street from a park looking out through the blinds, see you out hunting, and call the law! "Hey! Theres some stranger digging massive holes in MY park!"

The damndest thing is to see heavy mole activity tearing up a park, pushups and tunnels like BillyBeDamned, and some old lady walking her shitzu in 'Her Park' wants to bust your balz for digging a plug? And her Brother is on the City Council? That right there is the ONLY reason a guy gets good at proper landscaping skills!...

Its got nothing to do with holes or your skills...Its an avoid and evade tactic for when the Law shows up responding to Her complaint, and you can say ot the officer, "Look! No signs of damage!" So you get the dust off with a warning, and the Old Lady is watching and happy for to have ruined your day...

We must recognize our true enemy, Old Wimmen! They simply cant tolerate seeing a Man out dinking around unattended digging holes and enjoying himself!

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  #14  
Old 02-15-2019, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Mud-puppy View post
No they wont... No medals awarded for leaving No Trace...thats the point though...No medals awarded for not being seen or leaving any evidence you were there, tickets/banishments/tongue lashings and trouble awarded for being seen though....

Humans are funny, especially old wimmen! They see a guy in a nice park/yard/sportsfield with a detector and kneepads and a shovel excavating? Or even the minor evidence thereof and They get all hinky sometimes, like its their civic duty to report or stop this assault... as if a guy is doing irreparable harm to the Planet? Then they take action to shut you down..'No Detecting Allowed'...So thats what we are attempting to avoid by leaving NO Trace...basically avoiding the ire and eye of Old Wimmen!

In the scheme of things, who the hell cares how big or nasty a hole a guy digs? The only reason a guy has to even consider this subject is on account of Old Wimmen!....avoid their witness as much as possible...They will sit across the street from a park looking out through the blinds, see you out hunting, and call the law! "Hey! Theres some stranger digging massive holes in MY park!"

The damndest thing is to see heavy mole activity tearing up a park, pushups and tunnels like BillyBeDamned, and some old lady walking her shitzu in 'Her Park' wants to bust your balz for digging a plug? And her Brother is on the City Council? That right there is the ONLY reason a guy gets good at proper landscaping skills!...

Its got nothing to do with holes or your skills...Its an avoid and evade tactic for when the Law shows up responding to Her complaint, and you can say ot the officer, "Look! No signs of damage!" So you get the dust off with a warning, and the Old Lady is watching and happy for to have ruined your day...

We must recognize our true enemy, Old Wimmen! They simply cant tolerate seeing a Man out dinking around unattended digging holes and enjoying himself!
Finally someone who gets it !!

You are a Good man brother MP !!

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Old 02-15-2019, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Mud-puppy View post
No they wont... No medals awarded for leaving No Trace...thats the point though...No medals awarded for not being seen or leaving any evidence you were there, tickets/banishments/tongue lashings and trouble awarded for being seen though....
Cutting a smaller plug isn't always the best way to leave no trace. So, I think you missed my point. I'll try again. Always trying to cut a small plug will sometimes result in making a bigger mess of the recovery than knowing when to cut a bigger plug. Leave no trace is the goal either way.

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Old 02-15-2019, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ToySoldier View post
Cutting a smaller plug isn't always the best way to leave no trace. So, I think you missed my point. I'll try again. Always trying to cut a small plug will sometimes result in making a bigger mess of the recovery than knowing when to cut a bigger plug. Leave no trace is the goal either way.
I get you Brother...Target excavations are situationally dependant upon a lot of other factors besides the grass and the dirt..so a fellow should be skilled in multiple disciplines of speedy and invisible target extraction methods is all I am saying...

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Old 02-15-2019, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Mud-puppy View post
I get you Brother...Target excavations are situationally dependant upon a lot of other factors besides the grass and the dirt..so a fellow should be skilled in multiple disciplines of speedy and invisible target extraction methods is all I am saying...
Absolutely. I've learned a lot from your (more serious) posts and appreciate your perspective. W should be tidy and we have a shared responsibility for managing the public's opinion of metal detecting. I just wanted to clarify that I was not trying to say its OK to make a mess because nobody is giving us a medal for being tidy.

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Old 02-16-2019, 12:20 AM
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Put some of your techniques into action tonight. No shovel, just the knife and my newly-arrived pinpointter. Sweet!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Old 02-16-2019, 10:22 AM
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Any plug that anyone can identify I consider a failure. No matter how you dug it. Pick a technique and perfect it. When someone tries to hassle you its worth its weight in gold to turn around and point at a park and say (I've been here 2 hours and there is no trace). When I feel that someone is watching (old lady) I pinpoint really well and turn my back to that person and dig quickly with my body blocking their view. I use the C plug with a drop cloth in nice areas. For drop cloths I use the reusable cloth Wmart bags. I cut each square side out.

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Old 02-16-2019, 08:55 PM
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I might add if one is actually cutting a plug I think the Predator tools Raptor cuts the neatest plug. I can remove a plug much easier and neater with a Raptor than I can with any of the Leche type tools.

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