Geological tools- Estwing burpee pick

For fossil hunting/field trips the geological pick is the most important tool to have with you. It can be used in a variety of different situations from breaking off matrix to digging through spoil.

Over the last month we have while out fossil hunting broken three geology picks….! To say this has annoyed us would be an understatement.

We made the decision after the last one broke to buy a high quality one. We tried and tested a few to find the requirements we needed in the new pick. The pick most of our fiends recommended was the Estwing paleo pick (a pick axe). Luckily this tool was not in short supply when it came to being able to borrow it for a test run. After a few field sessions with this tool we decided it was not the pick for us. We felt it was too short for its weight to be comfortable for all day precision use.

Bearing this in mind we stumbled upon a new geological pick from Estwing, this was called the burpee pick.  It’s not a pick axe but a hand pick, it’s slightly longer than a normal geological hand pick but weighs slightly less.


Estwing burpee pick

Due to this tool being fairly new to the market we were unable to try it out before purchasing it. We decided to take a gamble……

As soon as this pick was out of its packaging and in the hand we knew we had got the right tool for the job! It’s weight and balance is superb, it’s extra length gives it that little bit extra leverage/power. The head of traditional geological picks are normally curved however on the burpee its less pronounced which gives you even more accuracy at the non pointed end (this we especially like). Being made by Estwing the quality is top notch and we know this tool is going to last a long long time!

In the field the burpee pick feels well balanced, has a comfortable usable length and gives you the knowledge that however hard you hit something, it’s not going to break! The pick end (pointed end) is a nice sharp point, with our old picks we would normally blunt/round this end within the first couple of hours of use, the burpee however is still as sharp as when we unpacked it and we have given it some serious abuse… it’s a great tool for cracking open extremely large matrix blocks, giving a sample a soft tap or digging out fossils! The hammer end is excellent for cracking open nodules, or digging through spoil heaps, we find the straighter angle of the head gives us a lot more confidence when cracking a specimen.


Plesiosaur vertebra and hammer end of burpee pick

In it’s first week of use we have found numerous fossils-two Plesiosaur vertebrates, lots of fish scales and a marine reptiles coprolite to name a few!



Jurassic fish scales

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