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Author Topic: Caves  (Read 1927 times)

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Offline Will.K

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Caves
« on: January 24, 2021, 01:55:06 PM »
I've been very interested in caves my entire life. I have enjoyed the original exploration and survey/mapping of caves in TN, KY, WV, VA, OH, and IN, and have written a book and several articles on caves in various regions. 

When I'm looking for caves in a new area and I see some loggers I stop to talk, and have found a few interesting things with their help. 

Any questions or comments about caves in the Eastern US are welcomed. I am always interested in mapping caves you may have on your place. This is a hobby, done for free. Also I can help you find documentation of your caves that may already exist. 

Offline Magicman

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Re: Caves
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 05:36:03 PM »
Our "Spelunker" is @Cedarman   8)
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Offline Don P

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Re: Caves
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2021, 05:52:45 PM »
Will, do you know the caves around Speedwell, VA?
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2021, 06:30:02 PM »
Will, do you know the caves around Speedwell, VA?
I have heard of several around Speedwell and have the location data for those and a couple of dozen more in Wythe county. I think there are a little over 100 caves recorded in Wythe, but none are exceptionally long (all under 2000 feet). I have never visited them in person, focusing mostly on projects in Tazewell and Russell counties.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Caves
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2021, 06:30:42 PM »
   I have done many, many insane things in my life and have the scars to prove it but I have this rule about keeping blue sky overhead. Of all the things I have no desire to do it is crawling around in wet tight spaces is right up there near the top of my list. I had buddies who were avid cave divers and would take their tanks off and push them through tight spaces and such. I had 2 occasions in my diving career to have to make emergency ascents, one controlled, one uncontrolled, and that always reinforced my decision to keep an open path overhead.

  There are a number of big caves in the adjacent counties that are popular with tourists and local spelunkers and if are in the area I encourage you visit them and feel free to give me a detailed report when you get back above ground and we can both have a nice day. Stay safe.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2021, 06:38:43 PM »
  I have done many, many insane things in my life and have the scars to prove it but I have this rule about keeping blue sky overhead. Of all the things I have no desire to do it is crawling around in wet tight spaces is right up there near the top of my list. I had buddies who were avid cave divers and would take their tanks off and push them through tight spaces and such. I had 2 occasions in my diving career to have to make emergency ascents, one controlled, one uncontrolled, and that always reinforced my decision to keep an open path overhead.

  There are a number of big caves in the adjacent counties that are popular with tourists and local spelunkers and if are in the area I encourage you visit them and feel free to give me a detailed report when you get back above ground and we can both have a nice day. Stay safe.
Cave diving is dangerous, sump diving is exceptionally dangerous. Caving on the other hand is a very safe activity, as long as a few basic principles are followed.
I've been caving in some miserable little things near Hinton, and have some ongoing mapping projects in some very nice west Mercer County caves. I'll probably be down there next week.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Caves
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2021, 07:42:27 PM »
   My son visited a cave or two as part of his geology courses at Concord and seemed to enjoy it. I know there are the big caves like Organ and such over near Lewisburg but I am unfamiliar with the ones around here but if you are in the area feel free to give us a holler. If I can help from a topside position I will be glad to help.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Caves
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2021, 05:18:29 AM »
Most caves around here are just rock overhangs. One cave though is man made, a rail road tunnel, it was abandoned and I don't think track was ever laid.
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Caves
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2021, 07:30:39 AM »
This past month we rented a big track hoe and with the landowner's permission dug a big hole in the side of a hill, installed a 4' culvert and found a couple hundred feet of cave.  The reason for the effort was that a small hole sucked the living daylights out of a smoke bomb.  A couple of breakdown blocks are preventing further passage for the moment. They will be vigorously attacked come spring.  Problem is a low passage with water at about 40 degrees. The air is being sucked in at a tremendous volume keeping everything ice cold.  About a 100 yards away is a big spring that has been dye traced to known passage about 5 miles away.  That cave has 45 miles of surveyed passage.  We hope to put it over the 50 mile mark this year.
If ever in southern Indiana, visit Indiana Caverns which is part of the 45 miles.  A huge amount of pleistocene fossils can be seen along with bear wallows. Beautiful tourist cave.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2021, 08:40:42 AM »
This past month we rented a big track hoe and with the landowner's permission dug a big hole in the side of a hill, installed a 4' culvert and found a couple hundred feet of cave.  The reason for the effort was that a small hole sucked the living daylights out of a smoke bomb.  A couple of breakdown blocks are preventing further passage for the moment. They will be vigorously attacked come spring.  Problem is a low passage with water at about 40 degrees. The air is being sucked in at a tremendous volume keeping everything ice cold.  About a 100 yards away is a big spring that has been dye traced to known passage about 5 miles away.  That cave has 45 miles of surveyed passage.  We hope to put it over the 50 mile mark this year.
If ever in southern Indiana, visit Indiana Caverns which is part of the 45 miles.  A huge amount of pleistocene fossils can be seen along with bear wallows. Beautiful tourist cave.
Hi there!
If you're involved in a lot of IN stuff I'm probably familiar with your name, as I keep up with the news of as many projects as I can. I've mapped a few little caves in SW IN, but nothing significant. Haven't been to a tourist cave in probably 20 years... I have trouble seeing past the railings and boardwalks and lights and tour guide hogwash, and am more interested in exploration/documentation.
But about this vigorous attack! My own efforts in this regard are only mildly dramatic, involving the use of homemade persuading straws. Is your job going to be attacked by hand or otherwise? Sounds like a nice lead!

Offline Cedarman

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Re: Caves
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2021, 03:32:53 PM »
Lots of straws and power drills.  I don't cave anymore, but help out building ladders, scaling poles, and surface work.  Richard "Fig" Newton
Usually go to the NSS conventions.  Been caving in Binkley's since 1967.  
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2021, 04:24:06 PM »
Lots of straws and power drills.  I don't cave anymore, but help out building ladders, scaling poles, and surface work.  Richard "Fig" Newton
Usually go to the NSS conventions.  Been caving in Binkley's since 1967.  
I've definitely read your name. Edited the newsletter review for the NSS News for a short while, but am no longer a member.
Would you build scaling poles to sell? I've been wanting one for years but don't have any metal fabrication tools or skills. My brother and I have hauled extension ladders some pretty impressive distances in VA caves. Lots of 3D caves there and high leads are going to eventually lead to a lot of new passage.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Caves
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2021, 06:18:19 PM »
 :P
Out here there are a few cool caves.  Went to the big on on the edge of Shasta Lake just north of Redding a few years ago.  The closest thing I have to me is some old railroad track up in the Sierras.  It starts out with a rock tunnel about 500' long then a short 100' one.  Then concrete snow sheds that go on for miles.  Google Map Donner Lake and these are up above the south west shore.  Great walking or mountain biking.  They removed the track when the realigned that section to go straight through the mountain peak.  Guess it saves on maintenance.
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Offline brianJ

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Re: Caves
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2021, 06:49:59 PM »
Do you know of caves in Madison county NY or where I grew up in Montgomery county NY?     Bedrock would be conducive to caverans.

Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2021, 08:40:32 PM »
Well there are some long ones in Schoarie and Albany counties, but I've never been up that way and don't know how everything is laid out. Schoarie county, if I recall correctly, was the ground zero for a bat epidemic called white nose syndrome back in... maybe 2008 or so, dates escape me. This fungal disease has been an ecological disaster which has wiped out the majority of little brown bats. The wide spread of the fungus has often, and wrongly, been blamed on cavers, and many government agencies continue to enforce policy based on this scientifically unsupported assumption. 

Offline Southside

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Re: Caves
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2021, 10:09:17 PM »
Visited the lava bed tunnels in northern CA with my wife a few years back, so little league in terms of caving, but it was a fun day.  One of the ones we explored had a small pond on the back side of a tight passage that resembled and might have been a boulder.  Had the hand held video camera going as my wife squeezed through the pass and into the room with the pond, we go around the pond, and back out of that room into the area we had first come from, then my wife - who has a Masters Degree - rounds the boulder again and squeezes by into the room with the pond - at which time she excitedly declares that "there is another pond in here!!" Not being one to pass up an opportunity I encourage her to go further in and see what else is there, so she goes around the boulder one more time and finds yet - "another one" - but somehow I was already in the room!!!  About that time I could no longer keep a straight face and had to fess up what she was doing. To this day I still have this on video.  ;D   
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Caves
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2021, 10:29:31 PM »
Ive only been in a few big caves but find them fascinating.  What is extremely interesting is places like Grand Caves in Grottoes, Virginia and Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico continue to find additional connecting caves.  And I mean miles of additional caves!  Im far too claustrophobic to explore caves that require squeezing through narrow spots.  

It is amazing in to me that something like 800 feet below the surface there can be a room of 8 acres and 200 plus tall like in Carlsbad Caverns.  



 
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Offline Don P

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Re: Caves
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2021, 10:50:49 PM »
All that pic is missing is Swamp Thing popping up for a midnite snack.

It's been years ago but at the time when we were out there, there was some speculation that all the caves around the Black Hills were connected.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2021, 01:02:38 AM »
Ive only been in a few big caves but find them fascinating.  What is extremely interesting is places like Grand Caves in Grottoes, Virginia and Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico continue to find additional connecting caves.  And I mean miles of additional caves!  Im far too claustrophobic to explore caves that require squeezing through narrow spots.  

It is amazing in to me that something like 800 feet below the surface there can be a room of 8 acres and 200 plus tall like in Carlsbad Caverns.  
Carlsbad is a true monster cave, about 40 miles long I believe and over 1000' deep*. Another nearby New Mexico cave has it (and most other caves) dwarfed in terms of length and beauty though: Lechuguilla Cave has been mapped to 150 miles. Mammoth is still the longest and will probably stay so. 400 miles and counting. Grand Caverns by comparison is a wee baby, being less than 5 miles long.
*Cave "depth" can be a confusing term. It means the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points of the cave. This is why the "deepest" caves in the US are Hawaiian lava tubes, which have very little overburden. They run downhill in a more or less straight line (as lava does) and at the downhill end aka deepest point may only be five or twenty feet below the ground.

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Caves
« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2021, 08:04:13 AM »
I've been in a few of the caves in the Black Hills of SD.

I would probably go in a cave nowadays, but not in the "tight" spots!

I noticed, back around the time I hit "50" that claustrophobia had a little grip on me!
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Caves
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2021, 04:40:24 AM »
Im not into caves at all but there are a lot around me in middle tennessee.  I just noticed a small entrance to one at bee rock lookout in monterey.  Its a vertical cliff point made by water drainage eroding the sandstone on two sides, into a deep valley.  The point of the lookout is breaking off and sliding forward.  a seam has formed, maybe 2 feet wide and 6 feet deep?    In this seam, runoff water has tunnelled a drainage hole straight down in.  Its the size of a crawlspace door that i want no part of!   




I suspect theres probably quite a few more unknown ones down along the western bank of the cumberland plateau ridge, around ravenscroft and bonair, maybe clifty. Theres coal seams for sure. I guess the sandstone is 100 to 200ft thick along the high rim that all drains into calfkiller river.  Theres trails at coalbank rd that run along the bluffs but i dont know them well.  

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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Caves
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2021, 04:50:47 AM »
Within a mile or two if that in the same basin as bee rock is verble hollow falls.  A waterfall that is basically a broken face of cave drainage i guess.  Get with thisguy sometime if you dont already know him. 


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Isaiah 63:10

Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2021, 05:35:34 AM »
I know Chuck, and you're right that there are a lot of caves in the west rim of the Cumberland. Surely more unreported ones to be found, even though TN is up to about 10,000 documented caves. Sometimes the entrances are in sandstone, but more typically limestone. Nearly all significant cave passages occur in limestone/dolomite/marble or other carbonates. Sandstone is very resistant to acidic dissolution by groundwater. In TN, the most common cave rocks start near the water table and extend upward for a couple of hundred feet to a layer of sandstone, then another significant layer of limestone above that. Many caves in the upper limestone die when they hit the sandstone, but if they break through huge caves often result. Check out photos of Rumbling Falls cave in Van Buren county as an example.

This describes the biggest, most spectacular geologic setting in TN, the same sandwich of rock extending into AL, GA. But there are other pockets of localized karst that form under completely different conditions.

Offline uplander

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Re: Caves
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2021, 02:57:37 PM »
   Like Cedarman i have been a caver my whole adult life and also live in southern indiana. I have been fortunate enough to have gone caving many places in the world and all over the u.s.
One of the most rewarding discoveries of my lifetime was being the first one down 6000 feet of virgin kentucky borehole. An incredible experience.

I have 7 trips below 1000 meters in mexico.

My wife and i were married in a kentucky cave 31 years ago.

I guess i have pursued it at about the highest level you can.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2021, 09:52:47 PM »
  Like Cedarman i have been a caver my whole adult life and also live in southern indiana. I have been fortunate enough to have gone caving many places in the world and all over the u.s.
One of the most rewarding discoveries of my lifetime was being the first one down 6000 feet of virgin kentucky borehole. An incredible experience.

I have 7 trips below 1000 meters in mexico.

My wife and i were married in a kentucky cave 31 years ago.

I guess i have pursued it at about the highest level you can.
I probably know of you too then. I have only met a handful of cavers, but have read everything I can reach and am familiar with lots people and their work.
Was that 6000' on a crf project?

Offline uplander

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Re: Caves
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2021, 09:00:25 AM »
No, i quit CRF caving 30 years ago. I didnt care for how regimented it was and the culture of it all.

The long borehole discovery occured just outside of the park very near
Park City.

I dont cave much anymore but all my close friends are cavers.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2021, 11:17:54 AM »
I was on a trip just outside the park last weekend. I too am not very interested in regimented caving, but have hung around on the edges of such projects and managed to sneak in some nice trips without getting too involved. I'm mostly solo or with my brother.

You make the third person I know of being married in a cave, and I recall a great photo of the groom rappelling down to the altar through the Grapevine Pit entrance of the commercial cave... forgetting the name, in Lewisburg WV.

Offline uplander

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Re: Caves
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2021, 04:41:33 PM »
I know Chuck, and you're right that there are a lot of caves in the west rim of the Cumberland. Surely more unreported ones to be found, even though TN is up to about 10,000 documented caves. Sometimes the entrances are in sandstone, but more typically limestone. Nearly all significant cave passages occur in limestone/dolomite/marble or other carbonates. Sandstone is very resistant to acidic dissolution by groundwater. In TN, the most common cave rocks start near the water table and extend upward for a couple of hundred feet to a layer of sandstone, then another significant layer of limestone above that. Many caves in the upper limestone die when they hit the sandstone, but if they break through huge caves often result. Check out photos of Rumbling Falls cave in Van Buren county as an example.

This describes the biggest, most spectacular geologic setting in TN, the same sandwich of rock extending into AL, GA. But there are other pockets of localized karst that form under completely different conditions.
Ahh, Rumbling falls. Not often big cave is found by going up dip!
Marion told me when he found it he couldnt beleive it!
I have some great stories about him.
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Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2021, 09:02:06 PM »
Marion told me when he found it he couldnt beleive it!
I have some great stories about him.
I imagine so. We exchange letters, but I've only met him in person once, when we scrounged around in some nerd holes a mile or so from Rumbling Falls. Stories of survey in there with 300' shots... crazy stuff. I enjoyed his stories of prusiking out of Golondrinas on knots.

Offline uplander

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Re: Caves
« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2021, 09:29:31 PM »
Picture a room at least ten times the size of the bottom of rumbling falls. Maybe even twenty. I think Marion was 50 at the time. I was 36 and had a young friend with me 21. Quite capable on rope but his first time at depth. About 600 meters or so, chiapas mexico.

We had split from the 2 other members of the trip and none of us three had ever been in the cave before. We came back into this gigantic room. 300 foot cielings. Large breakdown everywhere, we had boogied through it on the way in. We looked at it and none of us could remember where we came in at.

Marion sat down on a rock, looked at us and said " I'm going to let you young guys figure this out".
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Caves
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2021, 10:30:54 AM »
Im about 40 miles from rumbling falls and closer to bee rock.  There is a small cave hole at the top from drainage water that i suspect is unexplored and potentially 200ft or more deep just based on the elevation.  The tip of bee rock point is sliding off the plateau and the cave is in the crease where all that drainage water has been boring through the sandstone.

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Isaiah 63:10

Offline Will.K

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Re: Caves
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2021, 01:30:09 PM »
Im about 40 miles from rumbling falls and closer to bee rock.  There is a small cave hole at the top from drainage water that i suspect is unexplored and potentially 200ft or more deep just based on the elevation.  The tip of bee rock point is sliding off the plateau and the cave is in the crease where all that drainage water has been boring through the sandstone.

Chuck Sutherland: 2018.01
If you send me the coordinates of the hole, (privately, not in this thread) I can tell you  if it appears in the Tennessee Cave Survey files. If it does not, I would be glad to come down and explore and document it. You might (might, sometimes things do slip through) be underestimating the thoroughness of TN cavers. It ain't easy to find a new hole in your neck of the woods, some combination of heavy hiking, digging, and serendipity is usually required. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Caves
« Reply #32 on: May 09, 2021, 04:06:45 PM »
youre probably right.  and i hadnt realized i already mentioned this cave in january.  just saw that now. coordinates sent. lemme know what you find out please 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline uplander

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Re: Caves
« Reply #33 on: May 09, 2021, 04:44:21 PM »
Im about 40 miles from rumbling falls and closer to bee rock.  There is a small cave hole at the top from drainage water that i suspect is unexplored and potentially 200ft or more deep just based on the elevation.  The tip of bee rock point is sliding off the plateau and the cave is in the crease where all that drainage water has been boring through the sandstone.

Chuck Sutherland: 2018.01
Well i had a reply but it dissapeared when i tried to post it.
Will rewrite when i have the time.
Woodmizer lt40G28.  A kubota L4600 with loader and forks.
Various Stihl saws and not enough time to use them!
 Finished my house finally. Completely sawn out on by band mill. It took me 7 years but was worth it. Hardest thing I have ever done.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Caves
« Reply #34 on: May 09, 2021, 08:59:06 PM »
make sure youre logged in forever and if you write something long, copy before you click off the tab/page.  I lose my spaces or the entire post if i take too long.
Isaiah 63:10


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