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Am I doing something wrong?


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So my girlfriend and I have been going out, every weekend for the past few weeks, and so far.... Two flakes, about a millimeter in length and width. We've been digging in what looks like the right places, we've taken sample, after sample, after sample, in an area where we know there is gold, and the people near us have been finding decent amounts. I know it's not easy, and will always require lots of patients and work. And just so you know, we are not discouraged at all. We are having a fantastic time either way. So my questions for you guys are:

1. I've been setting the angle on the sluice box at about 5 degrees. Does that sound about right?

2. The flow rate I've been choosing, is just strong enough to pull most of the bigger rocks through, but not strong enough to clear all the light stuff, that like to settle behind the riffles. Too strong, or too weak?

3. Perhaps my panning method is inefficient? With every pan, I'm getting lots of black sand, and not too aggressive with the disposal of the light stuff. I'm still pretty new at this, so it could be my method, and I just don't know it. If I'm getting black sand in the bottom consistently, could I still be doing it wrong?

Thanks for your time, and advice!

Regards

-Denny

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Are you digging down to the Bed Rock?

Are you hitting the Low Spots?

cool-wht_e0.gif

You bet. We're digging a minimum of 6-8" below the top layer. Moving larger rocks (that we can), and digging around/under them too.

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Number one mistake of newbies---myself at head of class---not working bedrock. Hitting bottom is not the same.

Second mistake is panning yourself to death.

Third is reading the stream or river.

All these things are answered by smarter people on this forum than me.

Bottom line---if you find enjoyment doing it---your doing nothing wrong.

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I usually just set it up by eyeballing everything based on past experience. But if I absolutely want to confirm the proper angle for my stream sluice I always carry with me a vial of copper bits [little pieces of snipped bare copper wire of differing gauges, some of which are hammered flat like stream nuggets or flakes]. I drop ten pieces of copper bits into the flair and then observe where they get caught. If all are trapped in the first or second riffle I know I am dialed in because bare copper has a specific gravity of 9 and placer gold has a specific gravity that generally ranges between 15 and 17. Thus, if the sluice catches the copper it darned sure will catch the gold. I also fasten leveling levels to each side of my sluices [the kind you would buy at an RV supply place for checking the level of your RV -- the glass tube of the level has a bend in it and the air bubble will settle at a specific number, depending on the degree of dip]. I also fasten a flat level to the front cross bar of the sluice to monitor horizontal level. So after I run the copper bits and am satisfied with the performance I note where the air bubbles have settled. Then, next time I can just eyeball it and be fairly confident of a proper set. Initially getting the sluice well set requires some attention. You don't want it tippy or tilting. Make sure it is firmly weighted. I try not to rest the flair on a big flat rock. Rather, I set the flair firmly on two well footed cobbles of sufficient size and shape. The reason for this is to allow water to flow UNDER the leading edge of my flair as well as over it, creating laminar flow. If you fail to do this you risk creating a back eddy or a swirl that will steal some of your material either by sucking it back out over the rear edge of your flair or by creating such turbulence down the entire length of your sluice that the flour gold will boil out.

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When I started I had no idea what it was supposed to look like. Let me tell you. One day spent at home testing will give you confidence in your operation when you are out in the field. The copper trick is good but I used small pieces cut off of fishing weights with some flattened and some just as is. Spend the day trying different angles and flows until you are confident with your sluice operation. Then drop some dirt in and make sure your test items stay where they belong, after that drop your test items in a bucket and make sure you retrieve them. Then when you go out to the field drop them in there before you start shoveling and see if you have it set up like you think you did. Do the same thing with your panning. Spend a day at home with some small pieces of lead or even buy a bag of dirt with some gold in it at your local shop or ebay. I remember my first bag of dirt I bought. When I panned it I had the lightbulb go of. OHHHHH.... that's how it works. Then I had confidence in my panning and all was well. This confidence in my equipment and my ability to run my equipment made my prospecting ventures a whole lot more enjoyable. You can apply some sort of functional test to almost any concern you have. And YES clean every crack and crevice in the bedrock as well as you can! Then clean it again!

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I agree with buying a bag of cons to practice with. I think Randy's gold adventures

has the best cons you can buy. I have no affiliation with this business, just alot

of great reports on his product. Try the expert bag to sharpen your panning skills.

I suggest panning your cons multiple times and as your panning improves so will your

confidence.

Here is a link to Randy's site.

http://www.goldadventures.biz/ga_gold_cons_for_sale

Good luck,

B

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Simply join a local yokel club and ease them nasty newbie pains--meet great folks,learn what your doing, see equipment in use , use club claims,buddy up with us old farts as spreading the fever is always a option for FREE-John

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I usually just set it up by eyeballing everything based on past experience. But if I absolutely want to confirm the proper angle for my stream sluice I always carry with me a vial of copper bits [little pieces of snipped bare copper wire of differing gauges, some of which are hammered flat like stream nuggets or flakes]. I drop ten pieces of copper bits into the flair and then observe where they get caught. If all are trapped in the first or second riffle I know I am dialed in because bare copper has a specific gravity of 9 and placer gold has a specific gravity that generally ranges between 15 and 17. Thus, if the sluice catches the copper it darned sure will catch the gold. I also fasten leveling levels to each side of my sluices [the kind you would buy at an RV supply place for checking the level of your RV -- the glass tube of the level has a bend in it and the air bubble will settle at a specific number, depending on the degree of dip]. I also fasten a flat level to the front cross bar of the sluice to monitor horizontal level. So after I run the copper bits and am satisfied with the performance I note where the air bubbles have settled. Then, next time I can just eyeball it and be fairly confident of a proper set. Initially getting the sluice well set requires some attention. You don't want it tippy or tilting. Make sure it is firmly weighted. I try not to rest the flair on a big flat rock. Rather, I set the flair firmly on two well footed cobbles of sufficient size and shape. The reason for this is to allow water to flow UNDER the leading edge of my flair as well as over it, creating laminar flow. If you fail to do this you risk creating a back eddy or a swirl that will steal some of your material either by sucking it back out over the rear edge of your flair or by creating such turbulence down the entire length of your sluice that the flour gold will boil out.

Wow, thank you so much man. I'm printing this out, and keeping it with me ;) Attaching the convex level is a great idea. I had no idea about the laminar flow either. Noted!

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When I started I had no idea what it was supposed to look like. Let me tell you. One day spent at home testing will give you confidence in your operation when you are out in the field. The copper trick is good but I used small pieces cut off of fishing weights with some flattened and some just as is. Spend the day trying different angles and flows until you are confident with your sluice operation. Then drop some dirt in and make sure your test items stay where they belong, after that drop your test items in a bucket and make sure you retrieve them. Then when you go out to the field drop them in there before you start shoveling and see if you have it set up like you think you did. Do the same thing with your panning. Spend a day at home with some small pieces of lead or even buy a bag of dirt with some gold in it at your local shop or ebay. I remember my first bag of dirt I bought. When I panned it I had the lightbulb go of. OHHHHH.... that's how it works. Then I had confidence in my panning and all was well. This confidence in my equipment and my ability to run my equipment made my prospecting ventures a whole lot more enjoyable. You can apply some sort of functional test to almost any concern you have. And YES clean every crack and crevice in the bedrock as well as you can! Then clean it again!

Thanks for your help jagdoctor1! Why I haven't done this yet, is dumbfounding.... Ha ha. I have tons of pellets in a box somewhere, that seriously need to be put in to use.

I agree with buying a bag of cons to practice with. I think Randy's gold adventures

has the best cons you can buy. I have no affiliation with this business, just alot

of great reports on his product. Try the expert bag to sharpen your panning skills.

I suggest panning your cons multiple times and as your panning improves so will your

confidence.

Here is a link to Randy's site.

http://www.goldadventures.biz/ga_gold_cons_for_sale

Good luck,

B

Thanks bud! Great site, and it would definitely be cool to practice with some real stuff. It would be great for my fiance to experience some real gold in her pan too. She's getting tired of the mica fooling her, with those flashy yellow colors. She's truly enjoying it though. We just got back from a whole weekend of unsuccessful gold panning, and she loved every second of it :D

Simply join a local yokel club and ease them nasty newbie pains--meet great folks,learn what your doing, see equipment in use , use club claims,buddy up with us old farts as spreading the fever is always a option for FREE-John

This is definitely on the to-do list, this summer. Nothing better than learning from the best!

Thanks for all your replies fellas! It is very much appreciated. My fiance says thanks too ;) We will post success pictures as soon as we get them. Ha ha!

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Denny,

The water level has dropped at the spot I go to, so we can get in there now. If you are

available this coming Sat. we could meet for breakfast and then get some color in that

sluice of yours. I PM'd you my number, so give me a call and we'll cover the details.

Mike

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Denny,

The water level has dropped at the spot I go to, so we can get in there now. If you are

available this coming Sat. we could meet for breakfast and then get some color in that

sluice of yours. I PM'd you my number, so give me a call and we'll cover the details.

Mike

I'm in! Thanks again for welcoming me to your neck of the woods. I'll give you a call today after work. My fiance is tentative, but is more than likely going to join.

What happened to your avatar Mike? It was pretty cool...

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Dogbone: Think of it this way -- there are two kinds of turbulence: disciplined and undisciplined. Each permits particle separation to occur, but only disciplined turbulence will maximize the stratification and retention of your gold where you want it to occur. Swirl [a lateral force out of synch with the direction of flow] is one of your worst enemies in a sluice, as even some of the larger pieces can be lost by sweeping them out of their protected low pressure zones. The same principles apply to panning, just on a smaller scale and with a few extra forces and shapes at play. For details see my panning essay available free on the home page of the Prospectors Club of Southern California web site.

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