A digging tool is one of the most important pieces of treasure hunting equipment you will purchase, second only to the detector you select. After all, locating the target is just half of what you need to do in order to be successful - recovering the target quickly and easily is essential if you want to bring a pouch-full of goodies home at the end of the day. There's a wide variety of diggers in use by treasure hunters worldwide including home-made tools, those made specifically for treasure hunters and those that are available at the local hardware or farm supply store that users find serve their purpose in specific applications. I was a little leery about trying the line of Texas Diggers when I heard they were on the way. After all, I've recovered 1ꯠ's of targets every year for close to 40 years and have acquired my favorites which accompany me on all my searches.
Paul Leslie, owner of the Texas Treasure Hunting Headquarters, is someone that prefers to do things the right way or not at all which is why he has waited close to 10 years to offer his line of digging tools outside the Texas-area. The line of Texas Treasure Diggers are all constructed from aircraft quality, heat tempered steel to provide years of dependable use in the field. Despite the limited distribution, the diggers have been used extensively in all types of ground conditions since the early 90's and their durability has been thoroughly tested over that time.
For coin & competition hunters, two hand-held diggers dubbed Shorty's were developed one measuring 12 overall with a 7 blade and the other measuring 10 overall with a 5 blade. The smaller model is ideal for competition hunts where targets are not deeply buried and speed of recovery is of the essence.
To compliment the two Shorty models, Paul developed two long-handled diggers designed to serve the needs of relic hunters, bottle diggers or those doing any detecting in areas other than grassy areas. Measuring 41 in length and comparatively light in weight, the difference is in the tool's cutting edge. One has a flat edge and is ideal for digging in areas with roots and vines. The other has a pointed edge and is great for use in hard or rocky ground.
I asked Paul about the need to re-sharpen the cutting edge on the tools and he said that in more than 10 years, he has never had to re-sharpen any of the tools that he sold despite the amount of use that they have been put through. The heat-tempered steel holds an edge better than other material found in digging tools. Just another testament to the overall quality of Paul's line of diggers.
The Charlotte-area had just ended an 8-week drought when I received the Texas Treasure Diggers so many of the sites that had been closed to detecting due to the cement-like ground were fair game again.
The first few sites I went to were some of the public schools & parks in the area. While I was far from the first one to detect them, there were always recently-lost coins as well as the occasional older coin to keep things interesting. The recovery method with the Shorty diggers was a little different than what I have used with my Kabar knife; however, after the first few targets, I had it down pat. Recovery was actually noticeably quicker than with other tools I've used and the design of the handle / blade was such that prying stubborn rocks and slicing through troublesome roots was quite easy. The tool was comfortable and after close to 25 hours in the field with it, I could see that unlike some other digging tools on the market, the Texas Treasure Digger was not going to wind up giving me blisters which was a real plus in my book.
Unfortunately the drought returned as quickly as it had left and many of the sites that I had been visiting dried up and had to be put on the back-burner until the Fall when cooler, wetter weather returned.
On a typical Carolina summer Saturday, three members of the South Carolina Metal Detector and Relic Association picked me up and we headed to central South Carolina in search of some Civil War campsites. On the way we stopped off at a site which had been used as a training area during WWII which Rick Baker had previously obtained permission to search. Unfortunately as we pulled up to the area we realized that we were a day late and a dollar short as the field was in the process of being tilled and planted. As we talked to the property owners, they offered to let us search around the house which had been built in the 1840's. Chuck Smith, one of the club members, offered to give the longer Shorty digger a work-out and strapped it to his belt. The four of us took off in different directions and began our search. I recovered several artifacts along with a nice 1939 Mercury dime from the rear of the house using my Shorty. As Rick and I were comparing finds and trying to cool off from the 95F heat, Chuck came walking around the corner with a grin from ear-to-ear. He held out a beautiful 1875 Seated Dime which he had just recovered from the baked Carolina dirt with the Texas Treasure Digger he had been using and had done so without putting the slightest scratch on the coin!
After an hour or so, we packed up the truck and headed off in search of the campsites. There were a few possible sites to checkout and each was deep in wooded areas alongside creeks that ran through the area. As we got our gear on it was hard to imagine how the soldiers in the Civil War were able to function wearing wool uniforms in the heat & humidity that grips the South most of the summer but as Bill Stiles said, They were definitely a different breed!. Over the next few hours I had the opportunity to use both versions of the long-handled digger and found them to do a great job cutting through vines, roots and dry ground to retrieve artifacts that I detected at depths of up to 12 inches. The diggers were light enough to carry for extended distances yet more than sturdy enough to tackle even the most challenging conditions we came across.
On the way back to Rock Hill, we stopped off in a few smaller towns along the way to do some more coin hunting. Chuck and I both found the hand-held diggers made short work of recovering targets in the areas we searched, and while Chuck didn't come up with anymore Seated dimes, we all added several goodies to our pouches.
As we all loaded our gear into our trucks when we arrived home, I had a tough time getting the Shorty digger back from Chuck . . . . . . he said that he really had liked using it at the various sites we had visited throughout the day more so than his normal digging tool! Well, if he doesn't get one before Christmas, Santa might just have to drop one off!
I went into this field test with a fair amount of skepticism since as I said in the beginning of this report, I had several tools that had served me well for years and I was comfortable with them in the field. Well, I guess as they say, even old dogs can learn new tricks!. After several hours of using the Shorty Texas Treasure Digger, I realized that my Kabar combat knife, which has been with me on every hunt since the early 80's as many of you who have accompanied me in the field can attest, will be retiring soon. The long handled diggers did an excellent job recovering targets in some rough areas and will definitely accompany me when I go relic hunting in the future.
The 5 blade Shorty lists for $34.95 and the 7 blade Shorty lists for $36.95. Both models come with a durable Cordura sheath with a belt loop. The two long handled models list for $89.95. All of the Texas Treasure Diggers come with a lifetime guarantee which is just another indication of how confident Paul is of their overall quality.
For more information on the line of Texas Diggers or to place an order, give Texas Treasure Hunting Headquarters a call at (817) 731-4289 or write them at 5151 River Oaks Blvd., River Oaks, TX 76114. Be sure to mention you read about the line of Texas Treasure Diggers in Lost Treasure Magazine!