T.J. Smith and Paul Anthony led similar lives before their paths crossed in 2017.
Both served in the armed forces and found common ground in metal detecting as a hobby.
They met after Smith read a story about Anthony in The Daily Sentinel. Three years later, the two have created the Tube Tubb, a floating device that is, essentially, a strainer to filter out debris from a detector’s haul.
Smith hatched the idea in 2012 and just needed a partner to flesh it out.
“He told me about it after we met and I thought it was a great idea. Ever since we started, he’s become my other brother,” Anthony said. “We’re not engineers. You just have two old veterans here with an idea.”
In 2017, The Daily Sentinel published a story about Anthony finding a 1938 class ring while metal detecting. Smith reached out to Anthony after reading the story and now, the two have bonded over a love for finding hidden treasures.
Though most of us are familiar with the image of someone detecting metal on a beach, water is just as rich for great finds.
“That’s where the good stuff is,” Smith said.
Most screens and strainers are made of household items. Anthony had one made from an inner tube and a net. But most of those makeshift strainers don’t float. And if they do, they’re unstable.
That’s where the Tube Tubb comes in.
The device is inflatable, meaning you can add as much air as needed to adapt to the water. The Tube Tubb, developed by an engineer in Littleton, is about 32 inches long and 16 inches wide, Smith said.
Because of the size and stability of the Tube Tubb, it has the potential to be a versatile device.
“One hunter told us that his old lab struggles getting back into his boat after jumping into the lake, so he thinks that it can be a stepstool for the old dog,” Anthony said. “We’ve also had fishermen tell us that it would be perfect for cleaning fish, too. The more people use it, they find the darndest uses for it.”
About 150 Tube Tubbs are being produced and will be available to purchase for $130 beginning Oct. 16.
The Tube Tubb is durable, and Anthony says you’ll have it for life.
Anthony and Smith, who refer to themselves on the Tube Tubb website as “The Boys,” have also sent a prototype to Kelly Co., one of the bigger metal detector retailers in the country, and are optimistic that they’ll like the product.
They also hope that Diggin Britt, a metal detecting YouTube personality with more than 195,000 subscribers, will also give their product a chance.
But their satisfaction doesn’t hinge on Kelly Co.’s decision. The boys aren’t desperately searching for traces of fulfillment under inches of sand or deep in a lake. The process of following through on a vision with their best friend is enough for them.
“If it’s a success, OK. If it’s not, OK as well,” Anthony said. “We just want to get it out there. We’re not going to our graves with ‘I was gonna do something’ on it.”