July 6, 2000
The English weather was at its worst, it rained the entire day. At least there weren't any Midges out, they hate the rain. The rain isn't bad actually, keeps everything green but it would be nice to come out of the mine and feel the warmth of the sun especially when you're soaked from using the diamond chain saw.
The diamond chain saw is a great tool to remove plates of specimens with little to no damage. However, there is no position you can get into that the spray from the water won't cover your entire body since the machine sprays water 6 feet in every direction. I had to remove my glasses to be able to see anything at all. We have complete rain suits and still come out completely soaked. In one position, I had my right hand under the saw to feed it properly and the water ran down my sleeve to my arm pit then down my rib cage into my pants and finally into my rubber boot so I was soaked from head to foot. After work, at the Golden Lion, I stood in front of their fire trying to dry off, boy did that feel good. I can tell you now that for what we go through to get these fine specimens they're to cheap!
Dave had welded a tee for the main 3 inch main air line since we are at the end of our 1 inch line to run the mucker and drill. You can imagine that a three inch rubber air line is not very flexible so we looked around for a way to heat up the ends to be able to shove the tee in place. Dave found a small gas heater and propane bottle, which was still full, cut a metal can in half and boiled water to heat the hose. We did this in the mine so you might say we have a heated mine now. It did feel great with it raining outside. With the main air line back together we pumped out the main tunnel and are now ready to work either face. He is still working on the switch for the two tunnels.
While we were working on the air line, Byron was getting the saw ready for use. After sitting for so long without any use the chain had rusted in place and had to be taken apart, cleaned and oiled. He then started removing some beautiful specimens. As in the pockets last year the rock surrounding the pocket is silicified and is extremely hard. Cutting is slow and once the cut(s) are made there is no guarantee that the plate will break along where you expect it to. But nevertheless, beautiful pieces are coming out.
As Byron started sawing Paul arrived with some great news. The manager at the Heights mine has given us permission to store our explosives in their bunker. Not only will this eliminate the 5 hour round trip to go for explosives but we can store twice as much now.
To facilitate this Byron and Paul left after lunch to pick up Jonina and show the manager their blasting licenses. So Dave and continued the saw work. Dave is truly amazed at how well the saw works and wished that he could have had it in the many mines he has worked in the 26 years he has been a miner. We worked on opening the pocket so it would be easier to saw out the plates. While doing this we found a second seam containing fluorite below the first pocket, it seams to be a very rich area (ha ha).
Whether you're using the water gun or the chain saw, the air is filled with a fine mist of water and the mud/clay will eventually get saturated with the water. The mud/clay is actually fairly dry and acts as a glue to hold the rock in place. When wet it becomes slippery and the added weight tends to bring rocks down. That's the reason the ceiling came down yesterday. Tomorrow we will place a timber set where the blocky Limestone and the altered Limestone are in contact and try to stop the process and keep the pieces in place. Peter Tutt, you will be happy to hear that.
Well, that's all for today. Cheers, Jim