Q&A With Todd Hiltz

Todd Hiltz

I finally got Todd Hiltz to do the Q&A thing but it wasn’t easy. He finally gave in when I agreed to share all the nasty things Dave Wise said about him. Took me a full day to shoot them all off via email.

Todd thanks for taking the time to do this (sorry about Dave).

 

THE INTERVIEW

Q. Like your bosom buddy “Beanie” I have to assume you live in Connecticut too.  Is that correct?

A.  That is correct.

 

Q. I know Dave is into panhandling, but what do you do for a living?

A. I sell building products for a wholesale company. Fortunately, unlike panhandling, it does allow me the luxury of a retirement plan.

Beanie and Todd…

 

Q. What exactly was it that got you interested in metal detecting?

A.  The town I grew up in was incorporated in 1639. I eventually learned about a small fort that was built around the corner from my home in the late 1700’s. It was called Fort Trumbull and was built at the mouth of a small bay off of Long Island sound.  As a kid I can remember one of the cannons that stood until everything was eventually built over.

I wanted to learn more about the fort’s history but I couldn’t find much info about it. That’s when I thought…what better way to learn about history then going out and digging it up myself. That’s when I started researching metal detecting.

 

Q. When did you start detecting and what was your very first machine?

A. I think this will be my 8th year. I noticed that as I get older, remembering timelines gets harder and harder. I am sure you have this problem also Dick, I am awful with timeframes and dates…lol! The very first machine I used was a White’s Prism but, the first machine I actually purchased was the White’s M6.

DS: “I am sure you have this problem also Dick”… um, no I don’t. My brain functions just fine John…

 

Q. Okay, what was it that made you purchase that particular brand/model?

A. A Friend from work had to sell off  inventory that was left over from his father’s hobby shop (his dad had passed and he needed to sell the business). He mentioned to me that he wanted to get rid of some metal detectors so I asked if I could try one out. The one I tried was the White’s Prism so after using it for a week, I knew I wanted to purchase a White’s.

 

Q. What was your very first signal/find? Good or bad….do you remember?

A. The dreaded pull tab

 

Q. Okay, what was your very first good or decent find?

A. The very first day I tried the borrowed Prism I dug a 925 Sterling men’s ring.

 

Q. Curious…. when you started did you concentrate on one particular treasure? i.e., did you hunt for coins, relics, jewelry….

A. When I first started, I really didn’t know how to research so I concentrated on parks and school yards looking for silver coins and jewelry.

 

Q. How long did it take you to find your first silver coin and do you remember what it was?

A. It took me a few months to find my first silver coin. It was a 1927 Mercury Dime.

Q. How long did it take you to find your first ring and do you remember what kind of ring was it?

A. About 30 minutes and if you read my previous answer above, you would already know that. It was a men’s sterling silver ring

DS: Don’t get snarky Todd….

 

Q. Did you spend a lot of time researching in the beginning and if so how did you go about it?

A.  Like I mentioned previously, I really wasn’t sure how to start researching. I did know that I wanted to dig older things so at first I drove around looking for old homes and buildings. I would knock on doors or go to the library to research old buildings and parcels of land in my town as well as in neighboring communities.  I would then work on getting permission by writing letters,  sending emails and knocking on doors. I even went so far as making my own liability waivers as I quickly found out that a lot of people used injury liability as an excuse.

DS: They probably saw Dave…

 

Q. You and Dave are obviously close detecting partners. Tell me something he does that bugs you and please, don’t hold back.

A. It’s normal for us to drive an hour or two before we arrive at our hunting sites. He yawns almost the entire road trip there and back and it’s super loud…it’s so annoying.

DS: Loud yawns huh? You didn’t by chance have to roll the windows down did you?

Todd enjoying himself….Dave keeping an eye out for the authorities.

 

Q. Is it true he wears his beanie when he goes to bed?

A. I wouldn’t know the answer to that question. Maybe you should invite him down for a weekend in Texas (the State where everything is big including the beds), you can find out for yourself.

DS: You’re kidding right? That’s totally out of the question. We are new to this neighborhood and trying to make friends…

 

Q. Okay, enough of that, what would you consider to be your best find after so far?

A. Tuff question but I would have to say my 1793 George Washington Success Token.

 

Q. What is your weirdest find to date (other than Dave)?

A. Finding myself answering these silly questions that I doubt anyone will ever read….just kidding Mr. Stout.  Seriously though, I want to say that finding 5 silver proof Canadian dollars in the same hole. It was weird because I dug them a few feet from the lip of a Colonial cellar hole where everything we were digging was more period.

The silver dollars were cameo proofs with plastic slips between them and were dated 1954! After telling the landowner, he told us that his father collected gold and silver proof coins and his home was burglarized at one point. Some of his coins were stolen during the robbery so we concluded that the burglar may have dropped some as he was fleeing the home.

 

DS: “Finding myself answering these silly questions that I doubt anyone will ever read…” this is true Todd but hey, this is Stout Standards. What the hell did you expect?

 

Q. What is your “oldest” find to date?

A. A brass kettle point(arrowhead). When the Dutch settled in New England they traded brass kettle to the native Americans and the Indians would manufacture brass arrow heads from the kettle. This one I found was inspected by an expert of the King Phillip’s War and he dated it from 1600-1640 and most likely made by the Narragansett Tribes.

Todd’s brass kettle point…..

Q. How much traveling do you two do when you go out detecting. Does a typical day mean driving a long distance?

A.  A minimum drive of 1 to 2 hours one way is typical.

DS: You deserve a medal for that. Not for driving that far, just for spending that much time with Beanie and his um, yawns…

You name it….The MXT Pro will find it!

 

Q. How did you and Dave become part of the White’s Field Test team?

A. I honestly can not give you a precise answer to this question. Obviously they contacted us via the internet but I do believe they took notice to my YouTube  channel and also the forums and Facebook groups. Dave and I have only used White’s machines so maybe they noticed that too.

Dave has always been well-respected in the forums and FB groups so I am sure that played a big role as well. My gut feeling also tells me that the owner of this blog page may have said a thing or two about a couple of annoying cellar guys in New England ?

DS: “Dave has always been well-respected …” ROFLMAO!!!

 

Q. Tell me about YOUR first trip to the White’s factory in Sweet Home.  Is it true that Dave begged them to adopt him?

A. Yeah this is true but Dave didn’t beg them. He just played the shy, soft-spoken, emotional manipulation card. The trip out to Sweet Home was awesome. They really treated us well with a lot of respect. Melissa Wise and Steve Howard were great and really made us feel comfortable.

It was also very refreshing that engineering and marketing had day long meetings with us, picking our brains and getting our opinions on everything. Just goes to show you that some companies really want to listen to what their customers have to say. I loved the tour through the buildings, seeing how everything was made and tested, and the White’s museum was something that everyone should get the chance to see. So many cool things to see in that museum.

DS: I asked about having my ashes spread there when I pass on, but I got responses like “we’ll think about it” and “maybe in the parking lot”….

Beanie and Todd in Sweet Home

 

Q. Curious too how can YOU put up with Buttafuso? He’s such a strange dude.

A.  I would say he’s more confused than strange…he keeps calling me his son for some reason. I couldn’t help but to feel empathetic towards him so now I always respond to him with a “yes Dad”.

DS: Dad? Hell he’s old enough to be your grandfather….

Todd & Bobby Butt

 

Q. Think I know the question to this but what model are you currently using and why?

A. I use the Mx Sport for fields, the Tesoro Sand Shark in the ocean and the MXT Pro for everything else. The MXT is my goto machine and is a beast at iron infested cellar holes which is what I hunt 99% of the time. I know the MXT Pro so well and in relic mode with the right settings, the machine runs so smooth and quiet in highly mineralized ground which allows me to constantly find quality targets in these iron riddled colonial sites. The machine is very easy to use and is built like a tank, a necessity when hunting in rugged terrain.

 

Q. Do you pretty much set yours up the same as Dave?

A. When Dave and I first started hunting cellar holes I was swinging the MXT Pro and he was using the White’s XLT. When he eventually converted over to the MXT ALL Pro, I showed him what settings to use which are now the same settings as mine…lol

 

Q. What accessories do you use?

A. White’s TRX pinpointer and White’s digger

 

Q. I know you two like to hunt cellar holes…can you tell me more about how you find them?

A. Nope…I would have to kill you if I did. Sorry Dick but that’s probably the most asked question I get and there is way too much competition these days. That answer may sound selfish but it took myself and Dave a few years to come up with a system of research that works well for us so I hope people can understand that. I will happily answer that question again when I retire from the hobby.

I think Todd really loves his cellar sites….

Q. Also I hear you two talk about how hammered some of these sites are….does that mean the law of diminishing returns is creeping in?

A. Without a doubt. Cellar holes and Colonial sites are a finite resource and will certainly dry up completely in the near future. That inevitable day will probably be one of the saddest days of my life.

Todd talking to the trees…

Q. What’s on your bucket list?

A. Hunting an old shipwreck, Tree coinage, gold coin, Maryland coinage, Colonial Onion style bottle to name a few…

 

Q. Have you detected overseas at all?

A. No. Hopefully one day I will

 

Q. What would your ideal detector look like?

A. Just like my MXT Pro but with wireless headphones.

 

Q. You ‘re very good at cleaning/restoring your finds. Can you share a few tips? i.e. how do you clean your coppers, buttons, coins, etc..?

A. Every copper is different so the process I use all depends on the coins conditions. I could write pages on the different methods that works best for me but, after cleaning 100’s of coppers through trial and error, the first step I always perform is to let each coin dry out completely after removing from the moist earth. I then proceed with dry cleaning the coin by picking off the dry dirt crust with my thumbnail and toothpick.

If there is no pitting of the coin I will dip Q-tips into room temp peroxide to remove residual dirt and continue tooth-picking any stubborn parts of the coin. Final rinse in distilled water, dry out with hair dryer or sun light, seal in a museum wax and light buff with dry toothbrush.  As far as buttons go… we dig so many Colonial buttons ,(1000’s) of them, would take me an eternity to hand clean them all so using a rock tumbler on only common buttons works wonders.

DS: Hmm…so the ole “spit “method is out of date?

Todd’s 8 George Washington Inaugural Buttons and the George Washington Success Token

 

Q. How do you store your finds? Do you use books, display cases., etc.

A. I store all of my quality finds in shadow boxes and any rare buttons go into gem capsules

 

Q. Do you keep a written record or document your finds for future reference?

A. I did attempt that in the beginning but found that I didn’t have the time to keep up with it, and honestly you don’t really forget when and where you dig a rare coin or relic.

 

Q. What do you see for the future of our pastime? Will we have one ten years from now?

A. Great question…I still see it as a popular hobby in parks, beaches and in the water as people will always lose things. Those areas will be replenished every year with lost items. However, it’s sad to say that sites like cellar holes and old fields will eventually dry up or be built over with asphalt. In 10 years, you might find me wading chest deep at low tide out in some ocean.

 

Q. If you could pass along one or two words of advice to other detectorists, what would they be?

A. Best advice I can give is for people to stick to one machine. Learn that machine like the back of your hand. Sleep with it, shower with it, do whatever you want with it but listen to everything it tells you and you will be very successful with it. You don’t need 5 different machines! Maybe one for water if you water hunt and one for land. Other than that, do your research, be patient, stay persistent and think out of the box when hunting a site and I promise you will make some great discoveries.

______________________________

Be sure to check out Todd’s YouTube videos at Thiltzy1

Thanks again Todd.  You are  a good sport!

_________________

For those of you who enjoy these interviews I’ve talked the Detecting Diva (Allyson Cohen) in to doing one….stay tuned.

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24 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

24 responses to “Q&A With Todd Hiltz

  1. heavymetalnut

    lol just when I think you have hit the pinnacle of your Q & A’s blog you go ahead and outdo yourself! You are thee best sit down comedian I have never met! Yawning huh Todd? I’ll getcha you Son of a……Biscuit!

  2. Dominique

    Enjoyable and funny! I find myself getting addicted to these interviews. Which can only mean that there’s something seriously wrong with me.

  3. Todd Hiltz

    Allyson Cohen…nice! Finally an interview with a non-White’s team member. I was beginning to think you had some weird fetish or infatuation with us white’s team members. Lol…with all due respect Dick, I enjoyed answering your silly questions and reading about the others. All the interviews put a well needed smile on my face. Your a breath of fresh air to the hobby.

  4. Interesting and different…I like it Dick. Good interview, but the snarky comments off camera need to go…I kept getting focused then would fall of my chair with the off-camera stuff…took a while to re-focus. Overall I’d give it an 8. Not bad. Interesting hunters…got their act together. I agree, while I watch another couple of square miles of Florida forest quickly flattened, trees stacked and burned, and concrete poured over the remains, that old sites are vanishing quickly. You pitch at tent here in a vacant lot and wake up inside a shopping mall.

    • Sorry James. Comments duly noted. Will try and do it differently next time around….

      • No, not to be sorry Dick, you got a good thing going here, plus I’m pretty much outvoted by previous commentators who liked the off-camera stuff!! Do it just as you do it…I really like that you are branching out and trying things a little different…freshens up your blog and makes it new again! Don’t pay any attention to my comments Dick…I’m kinda crabby and self-absorbed today…my wife says she is going to hit me in the face with a pie later if I don’t straighten up and fly right. I asked her what flavor? She said “Granite.” Be well and keep up the good work, Mr. Stout 🙂

      • No James I appreciate your critique. I find myself saying exactly what you referred to and wondering if I get in the way of the main event.

  5. fastfrank

    Awesome interview. You see Todd people really will read Dick’s interviews. This was the best one so far. I just hope there will always be finds to be made in our beloved Connecticut colonial sites.

  6. BigTony

    Dick, thanks for the interesting interview. As the old timers said, pick one type of hunting and stick with it. He certainly did just that. Having a good hunting partner makes it possible. Cool stuff please keep it going.

  7. BigTony

    Todd, I understand research times two – makes good sense.
    This question is not a big secret – it’s just a like to know question. If a cellar hole is filled in with debris, do you dig it out? Or move onto another?

    • Todd Hiltz

      Some of the cellars are filled in with debris Tony however rarely do we actually detect inside the cellar as it just doesn’t work well. We always concentrate around the lips of the cellar holes and spiral out from there. Sites with a lot of debris can be a positive as it discourages most people. A lot of people don’t have the patience so we like to take advantage of that. Sifting the stuff “inside” a cellar would be much more effective.

  8. Ok, I’m ready to do a QA. To facilitate it, I’ll go ahead and give my answers. Dick can provide the questions later… 1-Yes 2-YES!! 3-What the hell you mean? 4-That wasn’t me in the surveillance video. 5-NO! 6-Absolutely NO! 7-Yes, I did. 8-Alcohol was involved and I wasn’t there anyway. 9-Maybe 10-How should I know?

    Thanks, Dick, I enjoyed the interview! 🙂

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