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Help with a sluice box question


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good afternoon folks, I have recently gotten into prospecting and picked up a small backpacking sluice off of ebay and I was wondering if you guys/gals have any hints tips and tricks, is there a specific angle that the sluice should be set at? right now im just using it at home to process some dirt brought back from arizona. thank you for your time and help.

New sluice user

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Depends on a lot of things, water flow for one, type of matierial, and how long it is andhow wide, a 5 ft x10 inch, I would run in a good flowing creek or stream with about a 3-4 inch drop from the header to the outlet. But like I said, ajustments, accordingly. Grubstake

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For larger volumes, back-hoe or excavator feed.

The best sluice box (small wash plant, w/powered pumps) I have ever seen/used was a 3 piece unit. Made from heavy sheet metal 12 inches wide, 6 inch high sides, about 4ft long each section. When bent on a sheet metal brake, each piece was about an 1/8th inch wider the next section. The reason being, for portability each would fit inside the other. But, all 3 would bolt together end to end to end. With about a 6 inch overlap per section. That way you could use a 4ft, 8ft or 12 ft, as needed.

Box is lined on the bottom with ribbed rubber matting, over that is expanded metal. Head end under the crash box has heavy wide expanded metal for about 2 ft. Then a 3 ft section of ¾ or 1 inch angle iron riffles with the point facing the downstream water flow, with 15% angle cant on the upper blade edge of the angle iron. Followed with smaller expanded metal, overlaying ribbed rubber matting. That gives you a big nugget trap on the head end, riffles, then a stretch to catch the finer gold. Frame is 2x6’s & angle iron, with square tube steel adjustable height legs.

Feed material was grizzled down to get out the big rocks, then spray barred, vibrating screened or trommel turned down to 5/8ths or ¾ inch before dropping into the sluice header crash box. With smaller material, you don’t need the water volume, velocity & steeper sluice box angle to wash out bigger sluice feed material. If your sluice box(s) wash out 2 or 3 inch material. They are also washing out very fine gold. If working with a larger volume of feed material than 1 sectional box can handle. Add a splitter & run 2 or 3 sectional boxes side by side.

Once your riffles & expanded metal fill with heavy material (usually black sand), do a clean-up as often as that happens. Frequent clean-ups, will result in better fine gold recovery. Clean up is simple, pull the angle iron riffles & expanded metal, use a hose to wash off & flip the ribbed rubber mats, then pull those. Use a hose & square point shovel to wash the con’s out the end of the sluice box, into a container. We use a 55G metal drum cut in half, with clevises & a cable hoop handle. So, the backhoe can pick it up & move it to a fine clean up sluice or spiral wheel. Sluice boxes are sort of like whiskey, or women. Functionality is preferred over taste or looks.

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I am a rookie at this also, so take this for what it's worth:

I recommend classifying your material to at least 20, 30, 50 mesh before running it. Pan the stuff larger than 20 mesh. Run each size separately through the sluice for best results. I use this procedure with my bucket sluice and it works well for processing concentrates. Be sure to reduce the water flow for the smaller sized concentrates. Making it recirculating and using some Jet Dry seems to work better for me. Good luck.

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