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New "Greenhorn" in Eastern WA


TJSnooping

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Hello all,

I'm new to this site and to gold prospecting. I look forward to chatting with you all and learning as much as I can. Eastern Washington is rich in gold history and I have been doing loads of research on where to go prospecting. Any advise from anyone that knows the area is greatly appreciated. I can't wait for the springtime to come so I can get out there and find some color in the bottom of my pan.

After countless hours online with the LR2000 and BLM website and on the phone with the local BLM, Forest service, and county offices I think I will make a run to Ferry County this spring. (So much gold history up there for me to ignore it)

I was looking for one peace of vital help though. There are so many gold pans and sluices out there is there any suggestions on which one I should go with?

Thanks in advance,

TJ

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Hi TJ,

Welcome to the forums and hobby!

As for pans I use the old green Garrett for clean ups and a Le Trap for sampling.

Cant rally beat the drop riffle sluices from Angus MacKirk, (and others), no carpet to mess with and clean up in seconds.

Most of the gold, even the fines drop into the first trap and can be sucked out with a snuffer bottle.

Please post photos of you adventures regardless of success.

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TJ ... Buy a14" or 16" Plastic with side ripples, green or black in color, wide bottom and a medium sized mortar mixing tub (about 2'x3' by 6" deep) from Home Depot. Be sure to wash the pan before using. A very light scrubbing on all the surfaces with 0000 very fine steel wool will break the oily surface of the pan interior so the oils don't come out while panning and cause the fines to float out of your pan. If you haven't panned before find a panning video on you-tube this winter and practice with some play sand and 6 BB's. Fill the mortar tub with water to do your practice panning in. You will use it later stream side at some point especially if you want to repan your concentrates at the site ... but I am getting ahead of myself.Anyway ... When you get to the point you can consistently recover the 6 BB's in a relatively short period of time drop the shot size down to #6 birdshot. Once you can recover those in under two minutes or so you should be ready to pan for real. First time in the stream for real be slow and steady. Panning is not a race to be won ... Gold is not as uniform as bird shot is round. A steady hand and patience will win the gold. Recover the gold from the pan with a snuffer bottle.

Good luck, Mike F

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TJ,SOME TIMES IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO PLACE A LARGER PAN BELOW YOUR PAN WHEN YOU ARE FIRST LEARNING TO PAN SO YOU CAN DOUBLE PAN TO CHECK TO SEE IF YOU LOST ANY SMALL GOLD ON THE FIRST TRY.

MIKE , BLUE PANS ARE MY FAVORITE COLAR. THEY WORK JUST AS GOOD AS BLACK OR GREEN.

HARRY

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Hi Harry ... Tried the blue ... maybe it is just my eyes but I see better on the black first and then the green. Then again my first pan was just an oversized metal pie pan fired in the camp fire back in the 70's up in Nederland Colorado. No gold that first trip but it was a start.

Mike F

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To extend Mike's BB practice...

Once you're getting the BBs good, take a couple and smash them, then cut them into a few smaller pcs and flatten again. Nothing should be larger than 1/2 the size of the surface of a pencil eraser. The flatter the better (as much of e gold will often have a similar shape from being smashed in nature).

Make sure you know how many pcs you have in your pan, total, and recover that amount.

Now, to advance your skills a bit...

Fill your pan with dirt from a mineralized area, not sand from a playground. You want the silt, heavy minerals like black sand and other such nuisances.

Place you lead shot pieces on TOP of that dirt after filling the pan 1/2 - 3/4 full. This, I believe, will better mimic natural filling of the pan... The best gold was at the lowest point in your hole.

Your panning action will move those heavies to the bottom of the pan and trap them in your focal point (behind the first trap, aka Chinese traps/riffles) in your pan.

Did you get them all?

Good, now go buy yourself a bag of seeded natural panning dirt from the local shop (often benefiting a local club and/or GPAA chapter) or one one of the reputable pay dirt companies like Nome AK Gold Concentrates (no affiliation). Or, and better, yet, get the free pay dirt sample from Felix's Paydirt. NOTE: you don't need a $25 or higher bag to practice. There are very few places that don't tightly regulate their Paydirt bags... They seed them with enough gold to still make a profit when the bag was filled, plus a small buffer.

Now, pan the Paydirt, and take out the gold. Pan the leavings in your tub or catch pan and recover the gold you missed. It happens to all of us, no shame there. Repeat a few more times until your are absolutely certain you got all the gold... Or your arm locks up/goes numb/can no longer hold your favorite beverage... You get my point.

Count the number of pcs you have and put some back in with the rest of the dirt (you didn't work this hard to just throw it all back in the dirt, did you?!?!)

You DID count how many you put back, right? Good, grasshoppah.

Now, pan a few hundred more times and try to get ALL your gold every time, but while speeding up a bit.

The whole game in panning today is to know you got most, not necessarily all, the gold from your diggings. Ya gotta put some of the fines back so's they can grow up to be nuggets, right? (seriously, gold in nature only gets larger through hydro thermal events, not a cool stream or dry placer... Don't believe the hype)

You will get more gold running more material, but running more material takes time and/or bigger equipment. A pan can only run as much as the planner can handle. And a pan is really just a first step sampling device anymore for those looking to find a honey hole... In my humble opinion.

Watch out for those speed panning videos. They one have lead shot and are deceiving... And dizzying! You'll not recover much if you start trying to sample/production pan like that.

Also, learn how to tap your pan to walk the gold away fromthe black sand so you get clean gold in your snuffer

Cleaning it in HOT, SOAPY water with either fine steel wool or a green scotchbrite pad will do the trick. Soap is a mix of an oil binder and surfactant. It attracts to oil and the surfactant is attracted to water and oil to allow the binder and it's captured oil to wash away.

Someone I trust a lot told me to make sure any scratches I add ONLY run parallel to the lip of the pan... They should follow the circumference, not the radius of the pan. It's like adding hundreds of tiny little riffles/traps.

As for sluices, I'm still a bigger fan of a outweigh aluminum one with ribbed matting, miners moss and Hungarian riffles. Get the flume, the wider front part, lined with bed liner material - which makes it quieter and traps gold.

Use a small one in the 8"x 24" range for sampling or getting into those stupidly remote areas and a larger one in the 36" and up range for more production like work.

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Uh, sorry for the book, guys LOL

And,mthisnpost is in the metal detecting area of the forum. Might want to request it gets moved to the prospecting forum (a few doors down vvvvvv that away).

Not all the pick and shovel guys come in these parts for fear of brain rumors from even talking about all these electro-wizardry-whizbang gadgets.

Hey, ya gotta take off the tin foil hat sometimes, man. Don't judge me! LOL

(note: the writer of this post does not wear a tin foil, or other metallic, hat with any regularity. Nor does he discriminate,defamate, a couple inappropriate d words, poke, prod, probe, laugh at or associate, too much, with those who do. He is an equal opportunity offender and all around village idiot not to be taken too seriously, or lightly. He can be found on the outside of milk cartons and inside of post offices. He was a good man, he was a strong man, but most of all he was just a plain old, broken down, poor as a church mouse, dumb as a box of rocks, graduate of Hard Knocks... Male human life form - beep boop beep beep)

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Thanks, guys. I learned those items from someone else... so I'm passing it along :)

I agree that I built on what Mike stated and went on down the road with it. Thanks for getting that ball rolling!

I also realize, upon re-reading this after dinner, that I shouldn't take the iPad into my "office" and post at 5:30AM LOL

One last note to add to my statement about the place of pans in prospecting/small scale mining...

It all boils down to the pan - it's what you use to sample, along with a small sluice in wet areas, and it's what you use to clean up the cons from your other equipment. Be it a sluice, highbanker, dredge, or shovel, you will be using a pan.

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RUN--DON'T WALK TO YOUR LOCAL YOKEL GOLD/GEM/DETECTING CLUBS AS GOLDNUTZ ARE EVERYWHERE. YOU HAVE INSTANT CLAIM ACCESS, DEMOS, OUTINGS, EQUIPMENT TO SEE AND SHARE,GREAT OL'RETIRED FOLKS WHO love TO SPREAD THE FEVER AND SHORTEN THAT NASTY NEWBIE LEARNING CURVE CONSIDERABLY AND PARTY DOWN WITH SOME A THE NICEST SHARING FOLKS YOU'LL EVER MEET ANYWHERE--TONS A AU 2 U 2 -jOHN---OOPS SORRY-- hands hurt too much to retype lower case

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