At times when prospecting in an “incline” or “underlay” shaft, particularly where the walls of the lode are irregular, a hide bucket will be found preferable to an iron one. The mode of manufacture is as follows: Procure an ox hide, “green,” if possible; if dry, it should be soaked until quite soft. Cut some thin strips of hide for sewing or lacing. Now shape a bag or pocket of size sufficient to hold about a hundredweight of stone, and by puncturing the edges with a knife, marline-spike, or other pointed tool, sew together; make a handle of twisted or pleated hide, and having filled your bucket with dry sand or earth let it stand till the whole is quite dry, when it will be properly distended and will maintain its shape until worn out.
TO MAKE A “SLUSH LAMP”
Where candles are scarce and kerosine is not, a “slush lamp” is a useful substitute. Take an old but sound quart tin pannikin, half fill it with sand or earth, and prepare a thin stick of pine, round which wrap a strip of soft cotton cloth. The stick should be about half an inch longer than the depth of the pannikin. Melt some waste fat, fill the pannikin therewith, push the stick down into the earth at the bottom, and you have a light, which, if not equal to the electric or incandescent gas burner, is quite serviceable. In Australia the soft velvety core of the “bottle brush,” Banksia marginata, is often used instead of the cotton wick.
RULES OF THUMB
A TEMPORARY FORGE
What prospector has not at times been troubled for the want of a forge? To steel or harden a pick or sharpen a drill is comparatively easy, but there is often a difficulty in getting a forge. Big single action bellows are sometimes bought at great expense, and some ingenious fellows have made an imitation of the blacksmith’s bellows by means of sheepskins and rough boards.
With inadequate material and appliances to hand, the following will be found easier to construct and more lasting when constructed. Only a single piece of iron is required, and, at a pinch, one could even dispense with that by using a slab of talcose material, roughly shaping a hearth therein and making a hole for the blast. First, construct a framing about the height of an ordinary smith’s forge. This can made with saplings and bark, or better still, if available, out of an empty packing case about three feet square. Fill the frame or case with slightly damped earth and ram it tight, leaving the usual hollow hearth. Then form a chamber below the perforated hearth opening to the rear. Now construct a centrifugal fan, such as is used for the ventilation of shallow shafts and workings. Set this up behind the hearth and revolve by means of a wooden multiplying wheel. A piece of ordinary washing line rope, or sash line