Replace Pick Handle

Prospecting Picks

Replace Pick Handle. First off I want to say that I’ve used a very wide variety of picks over the years. Good prospecting picks last a long time but let’s face it, even with the best wood handles will crack, break, and wear out if you really use them. No matter if you detect with an SDC 2300, Gold Bug 2, or GPZ 7000 you will dig a lot. You have a lot of options as to how you decide to replace a pick handle. Most of those options center around hardware and wood. Whatever route you decide if you own a quality pick it was likely sold with quality wood and hardware. Replace it with the same. I’ll share the two methods that I’ve used most for handle replacement. First we’ll cover loose pick heads and ideas to remedy the situation.

Loose Pick Head

Hermit Pick. Nyloc method.
Hermit Pick. Nyloc method.

I’ve never seen a pick that actually was used hard that did not develop a loose handle. A little wiggle in your pick head is normal. I’ve used every method you can imagine to remedy this depending on circumstance and severity.  By circumstance I mean where and when did it happen. If it happens far off road on an extended trip and is severe then you have to use what you have on hand to snug the pick head up again. If you have the time do the job right, always. Replace all the parts that need replacing. Let’s cover the off road situation ideas.You can drive a nail or strong piece of wood into the gap between the handle and pick head. You can wrap the handle and head with duct tape, use a hose clamp, etc. There are virtually dozens of ways to perform a temporary fix on a severely loose head.

Replacement Preparation – Replace Pick Handle

Replace Pick Handle. Remove Rivet.
Replace Pick Handle. Remove Rivet.

Replace Pick Handle. Let’s start off here. Some picks I have cared about more than others. For the ones on my lower concern list there have been times when I’ve just used a bolt and a Nyloc nut. Nyloc nuts are also known as Stop nuts. You can see this with the Hermit Pick on this page. Don’t get me wrong on Hermits. Hermits are great picks, especially because they have such a wide digging head. I just had three and this one was to be used for gardening so the Nyloc method was used. Guess what? 10 years later it is still working. Nylocs are a very effective method to secure your new handle to your pick head especially if you match (or drill) the hole to the bolt size and leave little wiggle room. I used a 5/16 bolt here.


Rivet method. This is in my opinion, the right way. I’ll share my technique with you since I recently replace the handle on my Apex Pick. Apex picks are the best picks on the market in my opinion. The first thing that I do is to remove the old rivet. For this repair I used a grinder to grind the head down. I could have used a cutoff wheel on the grinder but it’s not that big of a difference in this application. I’m good with a scuff mark or two on the pick head. With the head of the rivet ground off I used a punch to remove the shaft of the rivet from the handle. Then I simply pulled the handle out of the head. If you look closely you’ll see a little glue on the old handle near where the original rivet was. There are times when the head breaks off in the head or some of the glue remains in the head. While you can scrape the old glue out, you can also burn the glue out. Furthermore, if you burn the glue out be careful for yourself and the pick head. Don’t get it so hot that the temperature negatively affects the temper of the metal. I got lucky on the glue for this job and it was a non issue.

Getting it back together

Replace Pick Handle. Replace Rivet.
Replace Pick Handle. Replace Rivet.

With the shaft clean I carefully used the grinder to ensure the pick handle fit the head snugly. Yes, I simply used a grinder on the wood. With the fit right inserted the handle all the way into the shaft and drilled through the head of the pick and thorough the new shaft. For the drilling I carefully used the drill bit size that was the existing hole and matched the rivet’s outer diameter. Then I removed the pick head and put a generous amount of Loctite Premium Polyurethane Construction Adhesive as the glue. The glue not only hepls hold the head it also acts a a barrier to prevent moisture from entering the space between the wood and steel of the pick head. Moisture can lead to handle failure due to rot. Avoid that and glue your handle. Finally, with these steps completed I only needed to insert the rivet, place the pick head on an anvil and flatten the rivet. Hope this helps you.

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