View Full Version : Homemade Nealton probe

04-25-2008, 11:47 AM
Being the cheap jerk that I am, I am in the process of making for myself a homemade Nealton probe. I have acquired the wire itself. Now comes the question - what could I use for the bulbous tip that's able to stay on?

04-25-2008, 02:34 PM

I would suggest you yse FIMO modelling clay, or a similar item. You can find this at any good craft store. Many folks use it to make jewelry with, as it looks very much like clay when fired.

A packet of ivory or white will cost you about $3.00 or less, and give you enough for a couple dozen or more probes.

All you have to do is work it by hand into the shape you want, then press the wire into it to make a hole. Remove the wire, and carefully place the clay piece onto a metal pan and bake it in the over for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees. The instructions for this are online, and are usually available as a free pamphlet where the stuff is sold.

After the tip cools down, just attach it to the wire with a small drop of super glue. If it's not shiny enough, you can five it a quick dollop of clear gloss acrylic paint, either from a small bottle from the craft department, or in a spray can of clear gloss. I use the latter.

Let the paint dry and Voila! :lol:


04-25-2008, 02:44 PM

While I don't have first-hand experience, I've contemplated a similar project.

After browsing sites and pondering the subject, I concluded that a length of welding rod cut to an appropriate length would have a heavy enough gauge to be appropriate when compared to the probes that I have in my Ed Archer kits. For the tip, I've concluded that using white acrylic paint nearly straight from the tube (although as an acrylic polymer it could be thinned) and twirled sightly on the rod and shaped with a fingertip to eliminate any telltale peak. Once applied, I'd twirl the rod awhile until the paint sets so that the widest part of the "droplet" remains at the tip.

A description that I've read for original Nealton's probes indicates that the tips were porcelain, but I haven't been able to figure out how to create a porcelain tip. The tips on Archer's probes appear to have a bit of "give" to the surface; so, I'm sure that his aren't porcelain-tipped either.

Let us know whether the "formula" worked.

04-25-2008, 03:37 PM
Thank you for the suggestions!

04-25-2008, 04:46 PM

Following up on the paint idea...try Gesso available from any art craft store and comes in small cans. It is bascially white and quite thick and should work great for the tip. It takes paint very well and can be sanded. I used it alot back in my decoy carving days.

mark britton
07-03-2008, 09:51 PM

What diameter wire did you use for this probe? Was it brass or of some other composition?

Mark Britton

07-03-2008, 10:52 PM
Some good suggestions here. My ideas- There is now an air hardening porcelain material out on the market. It comes in a tub. I seen some at Hobby Lobby last weekend. I should have bought some but already spent to much! The nice thing is that this stuff is air hardening, and does not need baking like FIMO Sculpey etc. I would also suggest a white glass or porcelain or glass bead glued to the end of the wire. One last option is scouring the sutlers and the antique shops for a ladies hat pin with a white tip. You may want to cut off the pointed end for safety. Hats are somewhat back in style for women, as is antique jewelry. Hat pin wires can be obtained from jewelry supply stores. Look in the beading department areas.

The Mad MIck!!

Just another crazy Irishman!

07-04-2008, 08:29 AM
The only women who should be wearing hats in the period are young women, not older women.

I will not damage nor destroy an antique hat pin tin order to reglue the tip into a piece of long wire. It looks wrong, and it could break off and get lost. I think I'll stick with the previous suggestions.

07-06-2008, 07:37 PM
I was wondering if anyone could post a picture of a probe they have made.

Jim Pribula

07-13-2008, 11:18 PM
I will try this again...not sure if my last post made it.

Can anyone who has made their own probe, post a few pics of their work.

Jim Pribula