Monday, November 17, 2014

The Bottom Feeder

Another winter arrives and it's time for another project.
This one started with the idea of  an old dynamite 
magneto plunger. I opened my design software and 
started putting my thoughts together. I started with a 
2" PVC pump body. 
The piston rod is 1" PVC with a 2" plumber's 
adjustable rubber test plug as a piston.The cap at 
the top of the pump body has 4 holes drilled into 
it to allow air to vent on the upstroke.
From the 2" PVC Tee, I placed a 2-1½" reducer 
on each end. Into these reducers, I added the 
1½" True Union Swing Check Valves.
These valves have screw on / off ends for easy 
cleaning so I secured the 1½" suction and
discharge hoses to each end.
At the discharge end, I fabricated a header / spreader
from 2" PVC. I cut and glued two 4" pieces of PVC pipe into 
a 2" PVC Tee. That gave me 12" total width.
I cut an 1½" wide x 10" slot into PVC then glued the end 
caps in place.This header spreader is supported over 
the sluice with aluminum brackets screwed into each end cap.
Into the other end of the 2" Tee, I placed a 2-1½" reducer.
I did not glue this in, since there is no pressure. I then glued 
a 45 in place. With the reducer not glued, I can swing it into
any position. In the picture, I have it set up in one 
of my clean up sluices.I won't be using this sluice. 
Instead, I'll be using a Bazooka 36" Prospector. I think this sluice 
will be the perfect setup for the 1"+ material that the Bottom 
Feeder will be delivering. A quick test with some ¼" to 1"
tailings I had around the garage proved my design idea.
The header / spreader dumped material across the entire
10" wide slot. The pump volume is right around .4 gallon.
All I need now is the Bazooka 36" Prospector
and the month of July to hurry up and get here so that
I can start pumping pay through the Bottom Feeder.
This is a two person on the pump and the
other on the suction hose. Perfect for my mining partner
wife and I.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Back on the Clearwater

Mother Nature's Sluicebox is now available and I concentrated my efforts on pulling basalt bedrock chunks. I located a likely looking place just a few feet downstream of a previous spot I named 'Fort Knox'. Took almost half an hour to finally get several pieces free. If you look at my classifier/pan in the picture, the material was a soupy mix of black sand, garnet and clay. I headed for the river's edge and started washing the gumbo.
Here's what came from that pan of material...several hundred pieces of tiny gold. Patience is a virtue when it comes to panning this size gold.
After removing all the material from the void and using a paintbrush and turkey baster to polish the bottom, I took home about 1/3 bucket of classified material. This cleanup pan is the total. Lots of tiny pieces but only a few tenths of a gram in weight. If only each piece was as big as the gold from my claim !!!
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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blood Nuggets

In my previous post, I showed some pieces with host rock still attached.
My buddy (Ebuyc on the Canadian Forum) purchased the whole lot and was kind enough to send me some close up pics.
I copied them onto a black background. Right click > Open in New Tab to view the large pics.
Here are some of those "Blood Nuggets".

Here's a real good close up.

If anyone has any idea what the red mineral is, shoot me an email at:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Season Finale

Drunk on a Claim
Dirks Bentley has a country song titled 'Drunk on a Plane'. Every time we heard his tune on the radio, we just substituted 'Claim' for 'Plane' and sang along.

Large Bedrock Exposure
The lower end of the claim has some massive bedrock shoveling of overburden necessary. I tried to open the cracks to the left and under the viewing box with a steel splitting wedge but it's going to take at least 4 wedges to get the one inch wide cracks to open up...maybe next year.

Pickers on Bedrock
After a half dozen times of seeing gold laying on the bedrock, I finally decided to break out the camera.

Gold in a Crack

Direct Injection
My mining partner and wife of 43 years likes nothing better than to suck gold off bedrock with her sucker bottle...why waste time panning !!!

Five Hour Day
Since we can't use any motorized equipment, our efforts are focused on bedrock sniping. Here's a 1.4 gram, 5 hour day's results.

Chance's Gold
My friend Chance from Spokane worked just a few yards downstream and pulled 1 gram in the same 5 hour day.

Show Me The Color
Here's our take from our bedrock sniping.
Next picture will be a closeup of the larger pieces that show host rock.

Gold & Host Rock
It was a good summer and we're both looking forward to next year. In the meanwhile, I'll be back on the Clearwater to gather that tiny flood gold.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

It's Go Time

It's that time again. I got my marching orders for a June 1st deployment. We'll be checking out a few new prospects this year to possibly add to our claim holdings. Something new I want to feature on this blog is finding and photographing gold recovered using metal detectors. My wife is equipped with a new Fisher Gold Bug and I'll be running my old Tesoro Lobo Super Traq. Her machine has a 5" DD coil and my Lobo has both the 5x10" Elliptical and the discontinued 3x7" Elliptical Sniper coil.
We'll be hitting the abundant tailing piles while we're waiting for the creek's water level to drop. When we can work the creek, I'll switch over to the Sniper coil and we're both going to hammer the bedrock with extreme prejudice. I'll try to update this blog on a monthly basis or sooner if the weather forecast calls for an extended period of rain...I could use a break at home now and then........Stay Tuned.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Blind Bedrock Profiling

Here's a tool I'll be using this year on the claim to probe for bedrock. It's a simple steel fence post with the bottom blade cut off and the tip cut at a gentle angle. Once pounded to bedrock, removing the probe is easy as the post has raised bosses every two inches. Just place the tip of a shovel under a boss and then lower the shovel handle to raise the probe several inches. Keep repeating until the probe is out of the ground. The 'pounder' is your simple fence post pounder available at most hardware stores.

I have a rather large bench next to the creek on one of my claims.A few years back, I blindly dug 3' with a shovel and didn't hit bedrock. By the time I reached the 3' mark, my hole was merely 1 foot in diameter and closing down fast. Lots of work for little return. I thought that there had to be a better way so I rummaged around the garage and found my fence post pounder and a 6' fence post. Now I can profile the bedrock without having to do any digging. As illustrated in the above image, I have exposed bedrock about 40' away from the creek. This will be my starting point. As I pound the probe, I'll mark the post when I can't pound any deeper. I'll then move a foot or so and repeat the process, annotating the depth to bedrock at each location. When I notice a change in the depth...suddenly shallow bedrock as in #4 above, my hand drawn chart will give me a nice profile of the bedrock. In this scenario, I'll return to position #3 and grab the shovel.
Any time bedrock drops suddenly, an opportunity for good gold accumulation is created.
It's just my way of trying to work smarter instead of harder. Hope this helps anyone else dealing with hidden bedrock in a bench. 
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

NWGPA-CC Highbankers Rendevous

Northwest Gold Prospectors Association - Clearwater Chapter held their annual public outting on the Clearwater River this weekend. Wall-To-Wall highbankers everywhere.
Even with nearly 100 machines running, there was nary a sign of turbidity...simply amazing!
I did run into a Freddy Dodge look alike while I was there. What do you think? He may have a future as a stunt double for Freddy.