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Dredge Cleanup Frequency


Countryboy

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How often should you clean out your suction dredge?

I've been panning and dredging off and on with a buddy since 2003. We normally have one guy dredging, while the other guy keeps the tailings pile knocked down with a shovel and the 2nd guy also pans down his concentrates from his turn dredging. It breaks up the routine nicely, and is a good way to spend time with a friend, but it seems like we spend a lot of time doing cleanout. My buddy Tom got me into panning, and he had been taught that people often don't clean out their sluice often enough - it gets loaded up with heavy sand, and then your gold washes right on out the tailings. Switching places and doing frequent clean outs was fine when it was two guys sharing one dredge, but now I have a highbanker with a dredge attachment, and Tom got a bigger dredge too. Now that we have the equipment ability for both guys to move some dirt, I wonder if we can get away with not cleaning up so often. Or should we look at it that even if we lose some gold out the tailings, by dredging longer periods of time we should be sucking in more than we are losing?

I'm in central Ohio, and out gold is very fine flour gold. I have only found one picker so far, and it was so small that I could barely pick it out of the pan. Most of the other guys I pan with who have panned for years may only have one or two pickers. Our gold is dust.

Does the fineness of the gold affect how often you should clean out the dredge sluice?

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Your specific type and style of equipment will answer them questions as some MUCH more forgiving-over/under especially. Also all changes to carpet,header,jet also predicates. The more info you post gets exact info as generalities--as your post--provides squat to give a answer to--post mo'info-John

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My buddy Tom has a quality homebuilt 1.5 inch suction dredge/highbanker combo. This was built as a backpack dredge. The highbanker hopper is only about 8X10, so we have just used it for dredging. It has a factory suction nozzle. (looks factory produced anyway) It has the deep V groove rubber mat under miner's moss. This small dredge is very good at catching the really fine flour gold. It has a rod clamped over the nozzle which limits how big of rocks you can feed through it, but it eliminates clogs. We don't use it very often simply because we have larger dredges we can use.

The bulk of our dredging is with a 2.5 inch Proline dredge. It still has the factory carpet and everything is pretty much stock on it.

A couple years ago I bought a Jobe highbanker with the 2 inch dredge attachment. I put 1/2 inch hardware cloth screen over the factory classifier because I was getting too many half dollar sized rocks that wouldn't wash out of the sluice. I had been using the factory gray carpet, but this year I got the deep V groove mat under blue miner's moss for the sluice box.

Tom recently bought a used 3 inch dredge from another panning buddy who was needing money - I 'think' it is a Proline. We haven't been out with this dredge yet. Tom just told me he had got it.

We have found a stream about 10-15 feet wide that is fairly shallow. We sample different spots until we can find 20-30 specks in a pan, and then start dredging there. We find the really fine flour gold closer to the banks, and the larger flakes more in the main channel of the stream. Our dredge holes are usually less than 3 feet deep. Tom has the diving mask and compressor on the 3 inch dredge he just got, so we may try some deeper holes now.

Out gold is glacial deposits that have been finely ground up. Occasionally you hear of guys that hit it really hard and found about a half ounce during a summer. We do not have large concentrations of gold, but we do have some color. A few years ago, I went to Deadwood and panned for 45 minutes there, and found more gold with a trowel and pan in 45 minutes than I did the summer before here using the 2.5 inch dredge a few hours almost every weekend.

This is just a hobby. I do not have any delusions of getting rich around here, but it is good practice for working other richer locations. While I know I won't get rich here, it would be nice to spend more time working gravel when we go out, and less time doing cleanups. I just don't want to shoot myself in the foot and work harder for longer periods of time if the gold is going out the tailings. However, if we can run longer and still retain the gold, I don't want to be wasting time doing frequent cleanouts.

Does this info help any?

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Proline dredges have good retention BUT aren't the best for fines at all. Do you have a rubber difuser flap like a headerbox dredge to slow,spreadout and deairate the flow of cobbles??? Punchplate ?? Miners moss loads up really quick,every time you get a plugup or put the nozzle face down or onto the side of a boulder your flow dies and from that point on your a peeing in the wind. Prove it to yourself for once and for all-just run a hour and cup the nozzle with your hand for a minute and suck up some bb's/buckshot whatever and watch it roll on out . Miners moss is a cruel joke on miners working fines but your suction nozzle is a good friend as the long hose stratifies the mix and the gold drops right out asap when hitting the box,hence the flap question to drop out asap as them fines float!!!John

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Yes, as the water and gravel come out of the flare, they hit the rubber flap. Under the rubber flap is a stainless plate with holes in it - I am guessing this is what you are calling the punchplate. Under that is the fine grooved rubber matting. When we go to clean out the dredge, we can often see flakes and specks in the fine grooved rubber mat.

The Proline dredge still has the factory carpet. Is the carpet bad about not working like you say the miner's moss is if you lose flow?

I just got miner's moss and the deep V groove matting for my Jobe highbanker/dredge combo. Should I stick with the carpet since gold in my area is 99% fines?

In reading past threads, you mentioned using some Shaw Veranda carpet. How good is this for catching fines? Since it is unbacked, should I use the deep V groove mat under the carpet? Or do you just run the carpet in the sluice with nothing else? I know of a carpet store I can check out.

The only time I have seen fines float is if they are dry. If I have my pan tilted when working some sand, and not enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, if I have specks on the dry part of the pan, sometimes when the water comes back over them they float. (especially if it is sunny and the pan and specks dry quick) I have been known to use a drop of liquid dish soap in my pan when working a good pan of fines to break the surface tension of the water so the fines don't float.

Thank you for your help.

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The shaw carpet is covered in what looks like bumps--but hollow for the microfines to wick down and through to keep for cleanups. When the carpet is pulled and dredge cleaned slowly pour water to flush and you'll see a wonderul golden halo streak of gold so fine it's mindboggling. The pattern increases retention and surface area x 3 so nuttn' better and holds all gold righteously as staggered pattered allows flow and constant cleaning. Matt under carpet makes no difference really so if there leave it. Only use unbacked carpets to allow for fines retention. Only thing better for ya would be over/under and never seen a o/u proline. Soap floats gold as causes AIR BUBBLES and never ever use whilst panning-clean prior to panning and no problem as fines covered by other dirt not allowing floatation-google floatation cells and see what air can do to your righteous oro puro-John

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The carpet shop had to order a piece of the shaw veranda carpet for me. I went with a light tan color so I can see the black sand easier.

When using my Jobe highbanker/dredge combo as a highbanker, is there any difference between the shaw carpet and miners moss, since with the highbanker you have a constant flow of water, and you don't lose flow for line blockages or anything? Does the shaw carpet still work better?

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For me and 100's a buds much better BUT prove it to yourself and run both ways. Then you'll be a convert too as huge volume surges with a h/b but never ran a jobe ---John PS-carpet is also sold as AGGREGRATE to use on boats also as salt,sun and ungodly wear resistant :thumbsupanim

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