Author Topic: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight  (Read 819 times)

Offline The Old Ruminator

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100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« on: September 13, 2017, 01:48:34 pm »
This month I have passed two significant milestones for me. First my 70th birthday and second my 100th digging trip at the current site ( which I am not supposed to write about but you know where I mean ). Both events have caused some rumination and I am rather amazed that I have even reached the age of 70 intact and still compus mentus ( ish ). Regarding the latter ( my 100th days digging ) makes me ask myself what sort of caver I am. Explorer, digger, photographer ? So to answer that , Ignoring the fact that I might be a speleological polymath, I ask myself what aspect of the hobby would I miss the most. Well it's the digging. I just love it and would sorely miss my weekly trip. I look forward to it as well. It is said that the journey is the most rewarding and that the destination an anti climax. That is very true with cave digging. Sure The Frozen Deep was a fantastic find for us but I recall what I said at the time. " That's a pity we have lost our dig ". We still have "Magic Smoke" down there but the trip back and forth was getting a bit tiring.
Off we went to find an  "easy " Summer surface dig. The site we chose was obvious. It had a site hut already there. No Mendip surface dig is complete without a site hut. Sadly we cant add a nice little patio or tart it up too much because it is in an SSSI. You might have gathered by now that Mendip surface digging is somewhat akin to having an allotment. Lots of older people congregate there make tea and spuddle about. Very good for the soul. ( if you have one ). So, yes, a digger first and foremost. You can at least carry that on into old age. It's my visit to the gym and a good exercise in problem solving. You could say its an adjunct to my social life. ( poor that it is ). Three of us have dug together for 55 years. Never a cross word --- er no not true we are always arguing. We dont actually expect to find anything. There is no significant cave for over a mile away. Well in any case that would ruin a good dig and the last thing I would want is a great big hairy pitch. Some poor diggers further over on Mendip had that. Such a nice site hut too.
Yesterday was my 100th trip in just over two years. I actually enjoyed it being wedged in a rift passing boulders up a vertical shaft held together with scaffolding and mesh. You have to have a small degree of trust in your fellow workers. Actually I havn't as they have dropped things on me before breaking my arm. ( ouch ! ). No I don't trust the blighters at all but hey ho needs must. Well only a heavy karabiner got dropped on me yesterday. Right on my poor arm. You might think that digging with two retired doctors would improve my confidence but it doesn't. Add the vet and the pharmacist and we seem to have it all covered . ( The vet asked me to stick out my tongue when my hand got hurt -- I did say " shall I say miow ?") You have to see the funny side of pain sometimes.

So here I am marveling at the scaffolding recently inserted. Perhaps the rift below could be called " No Place to Run " and the shaft above " The Egg Timer ". I think you get the point.



So here is " The Egg Timer ". About 10 metres of dodgy boulders held neatly together by scaffolding. ( "Heresy, heresy" the Mendip purists shout ). Well just lets hope the time is not running out again.



Here is " The Demolition Man " at the sharp end blowing dust from his drill hole. Very useful that generator up top until it stops and a volunteer has to go out and sort it. Not me. I have not a clue about mechanical things.


Offline MJenkinson

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 01:55:11 pm »
Great read, congrats on both the milestones!  Sincerely hope I am still that active at 70.  Most likely I will be at home, watching countdown with the volume cranked right up.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 01:59:23 pm »
" The Demolition Man " demonstrates his cross hand technique.



Stick in the thingy.



Give him a poke.







Give him a big poke withe slidy thing. Er. I think I had better move.



Then more rubble to pass up the shaft

What a super way to spend the day.


Try it sometime.

Offline Goydenman

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2017, 03:19:43 pm »
BIG Well done on the two milestones. I hope to be digging at 70 and many say I will have to if I am to reach my dream of linking the caves in our area!!! Love the surveying (well the underground bit, Nick then does amazing things on the computer that baffle me) and helping with the photography (I'm crap at taking the actual photos leave it to someone better)but digging is what I would miss most too.

Offline Rob

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2017, 03:34:31 pm »
Congrats on your determination, keep it up!

Off topic
That is a horrible way to cap. Looks like there is no matting, steel disc, weighty pin, gloves, eye protection, ear protection!!! I only know people to cap like this for a short period before sustaining significant injuries... Rather you than me.
The end is where we start....

Offline Swallowneck

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2017, 04:05:24 pm »
Congratulations Mr C, I hope I am still digging once a week at 70. Inspirational stuff.

Goydenman says he's crap at taking photos, I say he's even crapper at being in them as he will not stay still for more the half a second.

Rob I think I can see a mat of sorts also ear and I think eye protection in that last shot. I think we have to assume they know what they're doing after all they've been doing it long enough. Could maybe improve the kit a bit for added protection though.

Offline JohnMCooper

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2017, 04:56:31 pm »
Also that looks like a slide hammer in the last photo. The boulder that's being capped seems to be under the carpet.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2017, 07:17:44 pm »
Congrats on your determination, keep it up!

Off topic
That is a horrible way to cap. Looks like there is no matting, steel disc, weighty pin, gloves, eye protection, ear protection!!! I only know people to cap like this for a short period before sustaining significant injuries... Rather you than me.

Oh dear look carefully Rob. He has ear defenders in and glasses on. He has a mat over the boulder. He has a slide hammer. He has gloves on. What more do you want ? The other photo shows him placing the cap in the hole with a special ceramic push rod . He has posed for the photo and would move back to fire the cap. Likewise I would push off too. We do know what we are doing.

Offline Rob

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2017, 07:47:48 pm »
I saw the "placing" photo and responded quickly (and correctly) before looking closely at the last photo. Good to hear that safety precautions are being taken seriously.

Presumably the ceramic push rod is designed so that it cannot fire the cap?
The end is where we start....

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 07:49:49 pm »
Thanks Rob. Yes the push rod has a flat end without the little pins to rim fire the cap.  ;D

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 08:28:40 pm »
Got the recent Reservoir photos with my son printed on aluminum by Photobox. They came out quite well. I can let you into a secret. I cloned out the tape in the bottom image. Well it's my photo so I can do what I like with it. ::) ( The photos were taken on Olympus TG 4 in Live Composite mode.


Offline mrodoc

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2017, 06:50:54 am »
Thanks Rob. Yes the push rod has a flat end without the little pins to rim fire the cap.  ;D

I don't trust the bugger despite what they say. I gently push the cap in with it and arms length then tap it down with the firer when I do the actual capping. So far it has worked every time as it needs quite a sharp bash to fire the cap. I still find it all unnerving though I have to admit it is the most effective way we have used to split boulders quickly.

Offline tony from suffolk

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2017, 09:52:24 am »
Happy Birthday for yesterday Mr Old Ruminator, and may there be many more of them! Your posts are an inspiration, particularly to us old chaps, and something to look forward to every day. Incidentally, having read your photography postings I've just this minute pressed the button on an Olympus TG-4...

Keep up the good work!
"Aim low, achieve your goals, avoid disappointment"

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2017, 10:40:45 am »
Thanks Tony. The TG 4 is a lovely little bit of kit. Cant wait to see your photos.  :kiss2:

Offline Leclused

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2017, 10:53:30 am »
Thanks Rob. Yes the push rod has a flat end without the little pins to rim fire the cap.  ;D

I don't trust the bugger despite what they say. I gently push the cap in with it and arms length then tap it down with the firer when I do the actual capping. So far it has worked every time as it needs quite a sharp bash to fire the cap. I still find it all unnerving though I have to admit it is the most effective way we have used to split boulders quickly.

Why not use a 5-7cm straw (8 or 10mm) with powder and an elctric match to ignite remotely. A bit more work to make at home and a bit more expensive but remotely activated. You do not have to carry the mat/rot/.... with you.

 
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Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2017, 11:05:46 am »
We can fire 50 caps per session helped of course by the generator powered drill. This week the capping operator was breaking up more rocks than we could transport away from the dig. We would be foolish to say that there is no risk but it does seem to be minimal. We have found this to be the most effective way of extending our dig and cannot envisage any way of changing our procedure . Getting sloppy with safety concerns after hours of hard work in possible higher CO2 levels is the real danger.

Offline Leclused

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2017, 11:12:23 am »
We can fire 50 caps per session helped of course by the generator powered drill. This week the capping operator was breaking up more rocks than we could transport away from the dig. We would be foolish to say that there is no risk but it does seem to be minimal. We have found this to be the most effective way of extending our dig and cannot envisage any way of changing our procedure . Getting sloppy with safety concerns after hours of hard work in possible higher CO2 levels is the real danger.

Sure this seems a quick an effective method of capping. Just don't get sloppy with the co2. For the CO2 danger I would use a toxipro gas meter. Just to be sure :-)
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Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2017, 12:09:23 pm »
The CO2 ( if it exists at a higher level than normal and it's not us wheezy old gits ) will be measured next week. Certainly we don't have the levels that we had last year. If there was a concern with capping I would ask if there is any danger in the " smoke " that is released. ( without diverting to the assumed dangers of radon gas which to us would be unavoidable ).

Offline Leclused

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2017, 03:07:29 pm »
The CO2 ( if it exists at a higher level than normal and it's not us wheezy old gits ) will be measured next week. Certainly we don't have the levels that we had last year. If there was a concern with capping I would ask if there is any danger in the " smoke " that is released. ( without diverting to the assumed dangers of radon gas which to us would be unavoidable ).

In the following document (pag 19) you can find a bit about toxic gas and Hilti caps. But the whole document is interesting. (in French)

http://souterweb.free.fr/selfservice/stockage/co.pdf (in French)


 
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Offline mrodoc

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2017, 05:47:56 pm »
I had a look at this.It seems be mainly preoccupied with carbon monoxide rather than carbon dioxide which is what we contend with.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2017, 06:22:12 pm »

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2017, 06:25:28 pm »

Hazards from
Combustion
Products
Toxic and/or irritating gases that may be emitted by explosion include carbon
monoxide and nitrogen oxides.  A trace amount of lead originating from the
priming composition will be released.

Offline The Old Ruminator

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Re: 100 Days. A Digger's Delight
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2017, 06:30:09 pm »
In our case the capping operator probably sees less of the combustion gases as they quickly drift upwards on an ever present outward draught. The next in line will certainly experience some gas emissions but they will be diluting all of the while. An interesting subject I should have thought might have been discussed here before.