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Ultimate Tailings Rake

Lucky Joe

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Do you ever get tired of trying to rake down the header pile of drywasher tailings with a regular steel rake? I do, and like usual, I tried to come up with a solution. See what you think:

The regular rake is fine for the fines, but lacks something for the coarse header pile. A cultivating rake however, works great on those bigger rocks. I don't want to carry two tools. What to do?

1. Go buy a Vigoro Ultra Cultivator from Home Depot for under $20.00 (Yeah, I know. It kills me to buy anything new also.) But, this cultivator really does a number on the big rocks and will break through any crust on the fines pile as well.

2. Weld the head of a regular rake to the back of the cultivator. Just use the head of a rake with a broken handle or one you found curbside on trash day. (Makes up for buying the cultivator brand new.)

3. Attach a handle for better pulling leverage and for really slamming the cultivator end into the coarse pile.

4. Go rake some tailings and get the gold that careless prospectors lost out the end of their drywasher.

PS: On level ground this rake will stand with the handle straight up which is better than laying it down with the pointy things sticking straight up.

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Joe forgot to mention its usefulness in the gladiator arena -- I mean, just looking at it could scare the termites out of a wooden post. Kidding aside, the ergonomic advantage of the horizontal handle is clear, as is the benefit of having two tools in one. For me, though, I would employ a lighter rake and a scraper with much shorter tines. Reason: Gold will tend to follow the tines down to the bottom of a furrow, i.e., longer tines can bury the nuggets deeper; shorter tines help to spread the material in a thinner layer for better detecting of the smaller pieces. I have shortened the tines on my 4 prong cultivating tool by grinding them down a half inch or so -- still long enough to grab hold of cobbles and rake them aside, but short enough to spread the material thinly before I use my rake to flatten and sift even more. Flipping the rake upside down and using the backside for the final few swipes puts my coil very close to the targets. Seems like a lot of work, but for me, a lot less work than feeding a dry washer, i.e., in some desert locales there is just insufficient sub-detectable gold to merit a more thorough clean out -- quickly moving through a patch and picking out the detectable sized micro nuggets allows for more surface area to be cleaned out quickly. Thanks for sharing Joe.

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Your Welcome, Martin. And anytime you want to square off in that arena, just say the word. I'll wield my rake and you can use yours....bet you'll wish then you hadn't ground your tines down to nubs. :hahaha: :hahaha: :hahaha:

But seriously, I think the point(no pun intended)is well taken: standard tines may groove too deeply for detection of very small gold. I plan to rake down lots of tailings over the next few months, so I'll let keep you posted.

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