The stuff we dredge up,,

10 feet down & buried under the boulders was this. Looks like a axe head but out of the hundreds I’ve seen on google, nothing looks anything like this. Any ideas?


Prehistoric “axe money” :wink:

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Nice find. Now don’t ruin it, by trying to chip the rust off or grind it off.
Get some feed molasses from a farm supply store or horse place. The ratio can be from 4 to 1 or up tp 10-1. The 1 being molasse’s. Heat up the water, Mix in the molasses. Stir well. Check weekly as to how it is working. Grocery molasses will work but not as well as feed molasses. As it has been refined. Found a few old mining tools, picks etc in my detecting days. This process bought then up well.

Cheers Trev aka “The Hatter”


That is interesting Trev. I have found quite a few old pick heads in my days of detecting too. The ones that are by far the most corroded are ones I have found in the Coromandel. I put this down to the very reactive ground they where found in. Being hard rock mining picks & the acidic nature of the mineralisation in the soils. Where as the ones I have found here in the Central Otago alluvial fields are still perfect. Some buried a little but most just sitting on the rock piles covered in lichen. I guess the very dry Otago climate plays a very large part in there good preserved state. Same goes for shovel heads.

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

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I can vouch for the molasses method, I usually do a 9-1 mix, now if you believe the chemistry of the method it is called chelation and does not eat metal, only rust, I have also heard that it will sharpen old files, but I have not tested this.

In practice the rust is converted to sludge which builds up on the metal objects, you can even see the shape of those objects on the surface of the liquid.

Bear in mind this is not a quick method, this is a gentle method, and the sludge needs to be cleaned off every 2 days or so to present a new surface to the liquid, so a green scotchbrite cleaning pad will felicitate this and clean tap water, I have after 2 weeks turned an old horse shoe found in a paddock into a silver metal horseshoe, with pitting of course.

A word of warning, the new surface will be matt and will rust before your very eyes, you have three choices run a wire wheel over the new surface and make it shiny, leave it matt and paint it or rub it with oil, otherwise it will rust again.

I have found wire wheeling it and the rubbing it with 3in1 oil works great.

Don’t be in a rush, don’t expect 50 years of rust to disappear in two days, but in two weeks probably.

Just my experience.



To preserve fresh iron surfaces, heat to around 130° for an hour to drive off any residual water within the pores then rub in microcrystalline wax and allow to cool.

Depending on storage/local humidity keep an eye on it from time to time for ‘weeping’ ferrous chloride which is acidic, will destroy the item and indicates further treatment is needed.

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I love it - pre Columbian axe/knife. It’s amazing what can be found and picked up from local villages in real out of the way isolated places over there.
I have had this for 40 or so years. Picked up by a guy over there from somewhere isolated. A bit off the track from the general discussion but then again my older daughter told me that I am off the tracks

Spear & Jackson ‘Neverbend’ No3 Spade which got washed out of the river bank where it had been deeply buried by a flood.
The blade is still usable after all these years and the best condition spade head l have ever found.


A very early miners shovel which was found on my place which is part of an early Gold field. I have found dozens of
there shovels but this one is by far the best preserved.
Note that the steel part is in three parts. The front tang was riveted to the blade then the back tang was riveted after the front tang.
The handle is cranked which makes it far superior to any modern shovel for shovelling gravel.
Why they dont make them with bent handles like this l dont know.


You would break the bastard levering rocks…I’ve seen you. How long did that brand new fiber glass handled shovel last you? :joy:

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

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Um a few weeks wasnt it? I have to be good this year due to my back! I will use something else! - crowbar???
Last time I was there I found quite a string of Henrys fake nuggets - well they couldnt be real ones as theres none there!

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Not even…few days I reckon. :money_mouth_face:

JW :cowboy_hat_face:

Must be my memory as l am always in a daze!

I am also getting into the gold mood despite it being winter and retired!