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What to Bring - For the Advanced

For those who are experienced field collectors, but have not collected that much in pegmatites, the following tools are the basics you will need:

The first thing to bring to Poland Mining Camps is knowledge. The best field guide paperback book is Rocks and Minerals, a Peterson Field Guide, by Frederick H. Pough. There is also another version for beginners - note the title Peterson First Guide. These books are usually under $20 and any decent book store will have this. This little book is a great reference in the field and back at camp. Read our pegmatite mineral lists for the quarries and refresh your knowledge with this handy book. Information is concise and relevant, although the images are not always that useful. But most of the minerals found in Maine pegmatites are listed in these volumes.
A Crack Hammer: A must for serious work. It is a 2-3 pound small sledge hammer, with a short wooden or one-piece metal handle (6-10 inches long). They run about $10-$40. You do not need a mineral prospecting hammer (ex: Estwing brand). They can not be used with a chisel and are not heavy enough to break open a rock. They are only used to chip rocks for geological sampling.
Cold Chisel: The second tool you will need is a flat blade cold chisel. Make sure it is hardened on both ends. Get one at least 3/4 inch wide, but no more then 1 inch. Used with the crack hammer, it will cut away material to expose a specimen, break open a rock carefully or work in solid rock. Used with the crack hammer, it will handle any collecting situation. Add other sizes, but no smaller than 1/4 inch or larger than 1 inch.
Glasses: Eye protection is recommended, but totally up to you.
Loupe: A triplet loupe of 10 power is almost mandatory. Some fabulous micromounts are available and field identification of even larger minerals is easier with a good loupe! Many people hang these around their necks on a soft shoe lace.
Container: The only other necessary equipment is something to carry your tools and mineral specimens in. A pail or backpack work just find. Add some small containers, zip lock bags, newspaper or paper towels to wrap delicate specimens in and your ready to go. And don't forget the band aids, first aid kit and field toiletries.
Extras: Additional tools which can come in handy are an ice pick or an old screwdriver, other chisels (down to 1/4 inch), small pry bars, small garden hand tools work for some people, an old toothbrush, whisk broom or brush. Small sifting screens work well on the dumps, especially when used with water. A shovel of any size is useful, as is a larger 6-8 pound sledge hammer. And don't forget a water bottle for drinking water!
Vehicle: You will be driving to all locations. Some sites are easily approached in a street car, but a few quarries are on difficult roads. The best vehicle for these trips is a four-wheel drive vehicle. Street cars with front-wheel drive will also work, but it is still a matter of ground clearance. Two-wheel drive trucks are okay. If you do not have the use of such vehicles, other avenues are open to you and we will get you there. Often our customers will car pool. As a precautionary tip, make sure you bring emergency supplies and equipment for your vehicles (i.e. water, oil, tools, come-a-long and chain(s), shovel, etc.) and that your gas tank is always full.

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Last Updated: January 26, 2003
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