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Building a fake rock big enough to cover an ammo can


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What kind of materials and methods would you suggest for building a fake rock large enough to cover a .30 cal ammo can? I have a night cache which uses a black light, and the black light that I provide at the starting way point has been stolen three times. The previous times I've locked it up, and they still manage to steal it. The last time, they stole the whole ammo can. I think if I can cammo it so that the thief doesn't suspect that it's the black light, then I can protect it.

Edited by Dwoodford
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What kind of materials and methods would you suggest for building a fake rock large enough to cover a .30 cal ammo can? I have a night cache which uses a black light, and the black light that I provide at the starting way point has been stolen three times. The previous times I've locked it up, and they still manage to steal it. The last time, they stole the whole ammo can. I think if I can cammo it so that the thief doesn't suspect that it's the black light, then I can protect it.
I don't think that I'd invest any more into the cache at that location. Obviously, somebody is onto you and your cache.

 

About $50 will buy you a realistic looking fiberglass rock at a good garden center, but they'll probably steal that, your ammo can, and your black light.

 

If you still insist on trying, though... research "Hypertuffa"

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If the thief is a fellow geocacher, nothing you do will save the ammo can.

 

I'm pretty sure they're not. I have the cache set as a PMOC. It's a pretty popular bike trail network, so I suspect it's bicyclist muggles. The final hasn't had any problems, just the black light. I like the cache location, as it's got a nice set of trails to work with for a night cache.

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If the thief is a fellow geocacher, nothing you do will save the ammo can.

 

I'm pretty sure they're not. I have the cache set as a PMOC. It's a pretty popular bike trail network, so I suspect it's bicyclist muggles. The final hasn't had any problems, just the black light. I like the cache location, as it's got a nice set of trails to work with for a night cache.

Why not put a nice note for the muggle explaining nicely what geocaching is and ask him to please stop?

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I have made a few very convincing fake rock caches, not quite that big but almost. Here's my method:

 

I use Plaster of Paris.

First roll up some newspapers so you have some tubes about 3/4' thick. Wrap these around the lid so when the plaster cures there will be room to operate the lid mechanism (I'm usually pretty generous with these). Place the can upside down on some wax paper and mix up enough plaster to cover the whole thing. Then just pour it over the can until it's rock like in appearance. As it cures you can manipulate the surface to have texture but this isn't really needed, imo.

 

After the plaster cures, turn the cache 'upside down' and cut away the paper exposing the lid. As for coloring, stain works MUCH better than paint. I usually use two colors - a light grey brown for the main body and a darker color for the edges and accents. Occasionally I'll hit it with a light shot of some brand of fleck stone paint.

 

Sorry I don't have any pics, I'll try to get out this weekend and take some of the ones I have out. Hope this helps.

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I have made a few very convincing fake rock caches, not quite that big but almost. Here's my method:

I use Plaster of Paris.

Really!! How have they held up to the weather? Did you treat them with anything to help with that? I ask because I made a small test rock once from Plaster of Paris, and while it looked awesome, it flaked and powered to dust after a few weeks in my back yard. I never did try it again.
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I have made a few very convincing fake rock caches, not quite that big but almost. Here's my method:

I use Plaster of Paris.

Really!! How have they held up to the weather? Did you treat them with anything to help with that? I ask because I made a small test rock once from Plaster of Paris, and while it looked awesome, it flaked and powered to dust after a few weeks in my back yard. I never did try it again.

So far they have held up fine. I have one that has been out in the open since 8/23/2009 and it looks as good as it did the day I placed it. I usually spray them with a layer of urethane but not always. I'll go out this weekend and take some pics.

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When I was a kid, I use to model railroad. I was always impressed with the mountains, hills and landscape build ups that other modelers would use. I used plaster, yet it wasn't weather durable. The point being, look at the magazine "Model Railroader" (your library may have it as well as back issues that have other examples). It will show you how.

 

I have used weather proof coatings such as acrylic spray for the sculptures I create (see the creatures in my avatar) and I have weather tested them. The white and blue fella spent a year outside in snow, rain and sun in Northeast Wisconsin. Only damage was some slight chewing from a squirrel. The coating here is cloth dipped in white glue, painted and then sprayed heavily with acrylic spray.

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I have made a few very convincing fake rock caches, not quite that big but almost. Here's my method:

I use Plaster of Paris.

Really!! How have they held up to the weather? Did you treat them with anything to help with that? I ask because I made a small test rock once from Plaster of Paris, and while it looked awesome, it flaked and powered to dust after a few weeks in my back yard. I never did try it again.

So far they have held up fine. I have one that has been out in the open since 8/23/2009 and it looks as good as it did the day I placed it. I usually spray them with a layer of urethane but not always. I'll go out this weekend and take some pics.

 

I agree with knowschad. It probably wouldn't hold up to the weather of the Pacific NW. I'm leaning toward the hypertufa.

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What kind of materials and methods would you suggest for building a fake rock large enough to cover a .30 cal ammo can? I have a night cache which uses a black light, and the black light that I provide at the starting way point has been stolen three times. The previous times I've locked it up, and they still manage to steal it. The last time, they stole the whole ammo can. I think if I can cammo it so that the thief doesn't suspect that it's the black light, then I can protect it.

 

Its going to get muggled again, and again and again. Even if you make a fake rock cover. Honestly I would either rework the start point, some where a little more off trail, in another location where this particular muggle doesn't know about. If its not possible to rework, then I would archive it. Collect everything and set it up some where else.

 

Some times its better to archive and start over fresh.

 

Waste money on a fake rock, and the muggle who knows your putting it there invests some free time, and they will find it.

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Would it be possible to get a piece of soft stone like sandstone maybe and hollow out part of it large enough to fit your container?
Where I went to college, there had been a foundry at one time. They did have huge chunks of manmade sandstone laying around for the taking. You could shape it easily with a saw, knife, or a file, and yet it held up to the weather like the real stuff. Sure wish I could get some more of that these days!!
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Would it be possible to get a piece of soft stone like sandstone maybe and hollow out part of it large enough to fit your container?

 

I did this but with a tree stump. It has been sitting between a busy NW city street and the sidewalk for several years. It weathers nicely.

 

Maybe I can find another one for him since he is local (sorta)to me. But then maybe he should find mine first. :blink:

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FWIW, the caches I've done that required UV lights also required seekers to provide their own UV lights. The cache owner has several and is happy to loan them out to those who need them, but he doesn't leave them in the field.

concur. CO provided tools generally "walk" if they're just left out.

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What kind of materials and methods would you suggest for building a fake rock large enough to cover a .30 cal ammo can? I have a night cache which uses a black light, and the black light that I provide at the starting way point has been stolen three times. The previous times I've locked it up, and they still manage to steal it. The last time, they stole the whole ammo can. I think if I can cammo it so that the thief doesn't suspect that it's the black light, then I can protect it.

is this a location where fire tacks won't work?

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What kind of materials and methods would you suggest for building a fake rock large enough to cover a .30 cal ammo can? I have a night cache which uses a black light, and the black light that I provide at the starting way point has been stolen three times. The previous times I've locked it up, and they still manage to steal it. The last time, they stole the whole ammo can. I think if I can cammo it so that the thief doesn't suspect that it's the black light, then I can protect it.

is this a location where fire tacks won't work?

 

No, there is a night cache using that method near mine, but those are a dime a dozen around here, and can be found in the daylight, if you are willing. I wanted one that was different, and couldn't be found in the daytime.

 

I've thought about NiraD's suggestion, but the local reviewers were kind of cold to the idea. The other idea I've had was move the black light container to a green belt in front of my house where I can keep a very close watch on it, with the trail starting coordinates in the box.

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I've seen people use the spray-in foam insulation that comes in a can. In one case, I only found it because people had been standing on the fake rock to look up into a tree for the cache, and had damaged the coating.

 

I can think of 2 possible ways to make one like this.

 

1) Make a cardboard shell a bit larger than the ammo can, and spray the foam around that to form a shell to hide the can. When done, the shell can be lifted off the ammo can.

 

2) turn the ammo can upside down, and spray the foam directly on to the side of the can. You'll need to mask the ammo can lid so that you don't seal it shut permanently. Alternatively, you can seal it up for now, but after the foam sets and is fully dry, cut your way into it so that you can use the can as a cache.

 

You can smooth and shape the foam as it swells before it sets in its final shape. Maybe use latex gloves and work with your hands, or have some scrap plastic or cardboard to use as a trowel or tool to smooth and shape the foam. When it looks like what you want, sprinkle with sand, dirt, etc as a camo coating.

 

Or else, let it dry, and then carve it into shape, and use a spray adhesive to stick on some sand or dirt to make it look more like a rock.

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Buildiing fake rocks is tough when you have to make them hollow to hide things underneath. Usually they end up real weak and thin and crack easily. Regardless, if you wanna try it the best way is to probably find a foam cooler large enough to cover the can. Coat the inside and out with sticky mesh drywall tape. use some spray foam and blast it all over the outside so it looks like a big booger.

 

Once dry take a filet knife or utility knife and a file and start hacking at the dry spray foam to give the blob a rock like shape. Go to a big box home store and snag some foundation insulation coating. The best stuff is the pre-mixed acrylic. It will adhere to foam, not eat it. Plus it stays flexible and wont crack like concrete. Coat your newly Macgyvered foam masterpiece inside and out. Several coats on the outer, one thin on inner.

 

Kind of a pain in the rear but it works and wont crack like concrete. Or just go the easy route and snag one of these fake rocks. Problem is they are kinda pricey and attractive and easy to steal. Also, here's more info and a video on making fake rocks here.

 

I almost think it would be easier to find a big log and lay it on its side and then hollow a space out large enough for the ammo can. Good luck!

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I was thinking you could do the spray foam deal...but instead of trying to mold it yourself, dig a hole in some hard soil and fill it with the foam, then press the ammo can into the foam (maybe cover it with plastic first to make it easier to remove). Then when it's fully cured, pull the 'blob' out and you have the outside nicely textured with less work trying to make it look that way. The added bonus is you'd have dirt and rocks and sand and stuff embedded in the foam, which would add to the effect. Then paint it and lacquer it to finish it off.

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I was thinking you could do the spray foam deal...but instead of trying to mold it yourself, dig a hole in some hard soil and fill it with the foam, then press the ammo can into the foam (maybe cover it with plastic first to make it easier to remove). Then when it's fully cured, pull the 'blob' out and you have the outside nicely textured with less work trying to make it look that way. The added bonus is you'd have dirt and rocks and sand and stuff embedded in the foam, which would add to the effect. Then paint it and lacquer it to finish it off.

 

Or better yet, pour some ready mix concrete in the hole and set the ammo can in it while its wet, or form up a box slightly larger than the ammo can so the can can fit comfortably in it. Pull concrete out of the ground when dry and flip it over, viola, instant rock!

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I was thinking you could do the spray foam deal...but instead of trying to mold it yourself, dig a hole in some hard soil and fill it with the foam, then press the ammo can into the foam (maybe cover it with plastic first to make it easier to remove). Then when it's fully cured, pull the 'blob' out and you have the outside nicely textured with less work trying to make it look that way. The added bonus is you'd have dirt and rocks and sand and stuff embedded in the foam, which would add to the effect. Then paint it and lacquer it to finish it off.

 

Or better yet, pour some ready mix concrete in the hole and set the ammo can in it while its wet, or form up a box slightly larger than the ammo can so the can can fit comfortably in it. Pull concrete out of the ground when dry and flip it over, viola, instant rock!

 

Yeah...that would work. I was just thinking about workability of the material. Concrete is cumbersome and pushing the box into it could be tricky. Maybe if you set it on rebar 'chairs' like they do when pouring a slab with steel reinforcing, you could avoid having to push the box in and also avoid the inevitable overflow you'd get from displacing the concrete with the box. Only problem is you could end up getting the box stuck inside the concrete that way. At least with the foam, it would be easy enough to cut the box out of the foam. Forming a box first would be advisable...but you'd have to assume you'd need to leave it in there since it would be a huge pain to try to pull it out after the concrete was set.

Edited by J Grouchy
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I was thinking you could do the spray foam deal...but instead of trying to mold it yourself, dig a hole in some hard soil and fill it with the foam, then press the ammo can into the foam (maybe cover it with plastic first to make it easier to remove). Then when it's fully cured, pull the 'blob' out and you have the outside nicely textured with less work trying to make it look that way. The added bonus is you'd have dirt and rocks and sand and stuff embedded in the foam, which would add to the effect. Then paint it and lacquer it to finish it off.

 

Or better yet, pour some ready mix concrete in the hole and set the ammo can in it while its wet, or form up a box slightly larger than the ammo can so the can can fit comfortably in it. Pull concrete out of the ground when dry and flip it over, viola, instant rock!

Is this fake rock suitable to prevent theft, the plan of the OP? I've tried to make "fake rocks", and never managed to make one look ultra-realistic where nobody can tell the difference (so that it prevents theft). Not saying that nobody could, but that it's definitely not automatic. And then all it takes is one careless cacher not placing it back just right, and you're "cover" is blown. :anicute:

 

I hope the OP hasn't been waiting three years for a reply about rocks. But there are other options. UV penlights are about $1 on ebay with free shipping. Buy a few of those, aggressively hide one in a tiny container, maybe that would prevent theft, or at least make it less of a problem.

Edited by kunarion
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I was thinking you could do the spray foam deal...but instead of trying to mold it yourself, dig a hole in some hard soil and fill it with the foam, then press the ammo can into the foam (maybe cover it with plastic first to make it easier to remove). Then when it's fully cured, pull the 'blob' out and you have the outside nicely textured with less work trying to make it look that way. The added bonus is you'd have dirt and rocks and sand and stuff embedded in the foam, which would add to the effect. Then paint it and lacquer it to finish it off.

 

Or better yet, pour some ready mix concrete in the hole and set the ammo can in it while its wet, or form up a box slightly larger than the ammo can so the can can fit comfortably in it. Pull concrete out of the ground when dry and flip it over, viola, instant rock!

Is this fake rock suitable to prevent theft, the plan of the OP? I've tried to make "fake rocks", and never managed to make one look ultra-realistic where nobody can tell the difference (so that it prevents theft). Not saying that nobody could, but that it's definitely not automatic. And then all it takes is one careless cacher not placing it back just right, and you're "cover" is blown. :anicute:

 

I hope the OP hasn't been waiting three years for a reply about rocks. But there are other options. UV penlights are about $1 on ebay with free shipping. Buy a few of those, aggressively hide one in a tiny container, maybe that would prevent theft, or at least make it less of a problem.

Just found one on Monday that was exactly this, a fake rock covering an ammo can. The rock was spray Styrofoam around the bottom of a Styrofoam cooler. It must have been placed in some sort of mold or cut to give the outside a rock shape. Then spray painted a rocky color. It seemed pretty obvious if you are looking for it, but it was in landscaping so it could have just as easily been a well cover or an outdoor speaker. The location had over 500 finds so it seems to have stood the test of time. That or the fact that it's on church grounds.

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It seemed pretty obvious if you are looking for it, but it was in landscaping so it could have just as easily been a well cover or an outdoor speaker. The location had over 500 finds so it seems to have stood the test of time. That or the fact that it's on church grounds.

I've abandoned several less than bulletproof ideas, due to the possibility that Geocachers might hunt them :anibad:. I'm kinda concerned that I might hunt an excellently camo'd foam cover, because real rocks are OK with a solid tap from a hiking stick. Maybe I have no business poking around on a rock, since it's a rock, so it's my bad if I break that "rock". But the likeliness of breakage limits the camo that I would place. One of my first caches was utterly destroyed within a few days. It wasn't a foam rock.

Edited by kunarion
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My suggestion -

 

Have you ever heard of the expanding foam called Great Stuff? It comes in a can from the hardware store and is made for filling cracks around the house.

 

Wrap your ammo can and spray the foam all over the ammo can. Give it 24 hours to dry then you can pull your ammo can out of its new cover. Then, rough up the foam cover, cut chunks out to make it look like a rock and spraypaint to match the rocks in your area.

 

I did this with a metal can to cover a LnL, but I painted mine to resemble a gigantic booger.

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It seemed pretty obvious if you are looking for it, but it was in landscaping so it could have just as easily been a well cover or an outdoor speaker. The location had over 500 finds so it seems to have stood the test of time. That or the fact that it's on church grounds.

I've abandoned several less than bulletproof ideas, due to the possibility that Geocachers might hunt them :anibad:. I'm kinda concerned that I might hunt an excellently camo'd foam cover, because real rocks are OK with a solid tap from a hiking stick. Maybe I have no business poking around on a rock, since it's a rock, so it's my bad if I break that "rock". But the likeliness of breakage limits the camo that I would place. One of my first caches was utterly destroyed within a few days. It wasn't a foam rock.

 

I wouldn't say it's "your bad" if you poke what looks like a rock and it turns out you just broke a fake rock. If I saw something that looked like a big rock and needed to stand on something to gain some height I'd stand on it as long as it looked stable enough to not tip over. So whatever is used needs to be sturdy enough to withstand being used/abused in accordance with what it looks like.

 

A while back I trashed the camoflage on a cache because it was a fake stone made of very flimsy foam. As I was hunting the cache I heard the sound of something crunching under my hiking boots and noticed a cache among a pile of destroyed foam. All I could do was rehide it with what was available and log NM against it. I'm not going to go replacing someone else's container that clearly isn't fit for purpose.

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If the thief is a fellow geocacher, nothing you do will save the ammo can.

 

I'm pretty sure they're not. I have the cache set as a PMOC. It's a pretty popular bike trail network, so I suspect it's bicyclist muggles. The final hasn't had any problems, just the black light. I like the cache location, as it's got a nice set of trails to work with for a night cache.

 

Making it a PMO can help, but it doesn't guarantee all geocachers are honest. It still might be a geocacher.

 

Lots of good ideas here, but I think the best is to maybe move the start a bit. That or have the seekers bring their own black light.

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If the thief is a fellow geocacher, nothing you do will save the ammo can.

 

I'm pretty sure they're not. I have the cache set as a PMOC. It's a pretty popular bike trail network, so I suspect it's bicyclist muggles. The final hasn't had any problems, just the black light. I like the cache location, as it's got a nice set of trails to work with for a night cache.

 

Making it a PMO can help, but it doesn't guarantee all geocachers are honest. It still might be a geocacher.

 

Lots of good ideas here, but I think the best is to maybe move the start a bit. That or have the seekers bring their own black light.

Agreed. When I have a cache grow legs the first part of the replacement plan is to find a new ground zero. Because of certain circumstances surrounding my few disappearing caches, I've surmised the likelihood that it was young adults who stumbled across it. The first time one disappeared, I replaced it I put it back where it was originally. It disappeared again within a couple weeks. That's when I had my Homer Simpson "Doh!" moment. These ne'er do wells found something Kewl tucked away somewhere, and took it. Of course they're gonna check that spot the next time they go there.

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I have made a few very convincing fake rock caches, not quite that big but almost. Here's my method:

 

I use Plaster of Paris.

First roll up some newspapers so you have some tubes about 3/4' thick. Wrap these around the lid so when the plaster cures there will be room to operate the lid mechanism (I'm usually pretty generous with these). Place the can upside down on some wax paper and mix up enough plaster to cover the whole thing. Then just pour it over the can until it's rock like in appearance. As it cures you can manipulate the surface to have texture but this isn't really needed, imo.

 

After the plaster cures, turn the cache 'upside down' and cut away the paper exposing the lid. As for coloring, stain works MUCH better than paint. I usually use two colors - a light grey brown for the main body and a darker color for the edges and accents. Occasionally I'll hit it with a light shot of some brand of fleck stone paint.

 

Sorry I don't have any pics, I'll try to get out this weekend and take some of the ones I have out. Hope this helps.

WOW. thanks. for the info. Very cool

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WHy not just use a real rock? Get a 1 3/8" diamond hole saw and just start cutting holes. 30 cal ammo cans are 10"x3.5"x7" So just line out that on the bottom and start cutting and chiseling. Nothing looks more real than real.

 

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=197865-28303-12116&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3303220&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

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WHy not just use a real rock? Get a 1 3/8" diamond hole saw and just start cutting holes. 30 cal ammo cans are 10"x3.5"x7" So just line out that on the bottom and start cutting and chiseling. Nothing looks more real than real.

 

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=197865-28303-12116&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3303220&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

I don't think the idea is to make a hole all the way through the rock. You'd need a different kind of drill bit to hollow it out. And a drill press, chisel/cutting expertise & equipment, and carefully selected rocks. And a lot of time & planning. And luck.

 

It may be good to find a couple of naturally hollowed rocks, secure them together, and design that so an ammo can slides underneath. The tough part will be toting a rock sculpture to the cache site. But maybe it will be likely to stay there. :anicute:

Edited by kunarion
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WHy not just use a real rock? Get a 1 3/8" diamond hole saw and just start cutting holes. 30 cal ammo cans are 10"x3.5"x7" So just line out that on the bottom and start cutting and chiseling. Nothing looks more real than real.

 

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=197865-28303-12116&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3303220&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

I don't think the idea is to make a hole all the way through the rock. You'd need a different kind of drill bit to hollow it out. And a drill press, chisel/cutting expertise & equipment, and carefully selected rocks. And a lot of time & planning. And luck.

 

It may be good to find a couple of naturally hollowed rocks, secure them together, and design that so an ammo can slides underneath. The tough part will be toting a rock sculpture to the cache site. But maybe it will be likely to stay there. :anicute:

I haven't done any serious stone work, so I could be way off base here. I have worked with wood, and removing large volumes of such from blocks of wood. A hole saw works well for this, even if you don't go all the way through. I run the hole saw to the required depth, then remove it. Repeat this numerous times. Then I slip a chisel into the gaps betwixt the drill marks and give it a tap. It generally snaps off at the required depth.

 

This might work for stone as well?

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WHy not just use a real rock? Get a 1 3/8" diamond hole saw and just start cutting holes. 30 cal ammo cans are 10"x3.5"x7" So just line out that on the bottom and start cutting and chiseling. Nothing looks more real than real.

 

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=197865-28303-12116&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3303220&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

I don't think the idea is to make a hole all the way through the rock. You'd need a different kind of drill bit to hollow it out. And a drill press, chisel/cutting expertise & equipment, and carefully selected rocks. And a lot of time & planning. And luck.

 

It may be good to find a couple of naturally hollowed rocks, secure them together, and design that so an ammo can slides underneath. The tough part will be toting a rock sculpture to the cache site. But maybe it will be likely to stay there. :anicute:

I haven't done any serious stone work, so I could be way off base here. I have worked with wood, and removing large volumes of such from blocks of wood. A hole saw works well for this, even if you don't go all the way through. I run the hole saw to the required depth, then remove it. Repeat this numerous times. Then I slip a chisel into the gaps betwixt the drill marks and give it a tap. It generally snaps off at the required depth.

 

This might work for stone as well?

All I meant was that the hole saw in the link is not the right thing.

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WHy not just use a real rock? Get a 1 3/8" diamond hole saw and just start cutting holes. 30 cal ammo cans are 10"x3.5"x7" So just line out that on the bottom and start cutting and chiseling. Nothing looks more real than real.

 

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=197865-28303-12116&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3303220&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

I don't think the idea is to make a hole all the way through the rock. You'd need a different kind of drill bit to hollow it out. And a drill press, chisel/cutting expertise & equipment, and carefully selected rocks. And a lot of time & planning. And luck.

 

It may be good to find a couple of naturally hollowed rocks, secure them together, and design that so an ammo can slides underneath. The tough part will be toting a rock sculpture to the cache site. But maybe it will be likely to stay there. :anicute:

I haven't done any serious stone work, so I could be way off base here. I have worked with wood, and removing large volumes of such from blocks of wood. A hole saw works well for this, even if you don't go all the way through. I run the hole saw to the required depth, then remove it. Repeat this numerous times. Then I slip a chisel into the gaps betwixt the drill marks and give it a tap. It generally snaps off at the required depth.

 

This might work for stone as well?

All I meant was that the hole saw in the link is not the right thing.

Could be. I'll have to bow to those who are not, as I am, utterly clueless. B)

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