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.

Right click > Open in New Tab to view the full sized pictures.

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. 
(right click>Open New Tab to view larger images.)

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.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More Rocker Box Mods

I was recently in my shop, bored, staring at my rocker box. I remembered using it last summer and visualized the little center hold-down rod trying it's best to slosh water back to the other side of the box. A futile effort at best.
So now I'm back to the present, still staring at my rocker box and I can picture some pinball flippers :^)
Fired up my computer and designed up what I imagined a static pinball flipper would look like.
Sent the cut info to my vinyl plotter and made a pattern. Transferred that to some aluminum and cut and bent the first flipper.
First one was a little too large so I re-designed and cut and bent another. Much better.
They tuck under the 1" angle iron and are held securely when the center rod is tightened down.
Reasoning for the flippers:
With the pump only giving me ½ gallon per stroke, there really isn't enough water to properly get the expanded working like it should, especially when the pay dirt has a disproportionate amount of black sands. Spread a half gallon across the width of the sluice and that's a pretty thin layer of water. Black sands clog the expanded metal.

I have a choice of slower feeding and waiting for the expanded to begin clearing OR  use the flippers to concentrate the water several times on it's way down the sluice. Force the water into a narrow channel temporarily...more water = cleaner expanded.

Also did a mod to my ¼"classifier.
I wanted to get all the material falling through to the head of my primary collection plate, exposing the gravels to as much expanded metal prior to dumping onto the second collection plate.  I glued some carpet to a piece of aluminum and mounted it as seen in the pic. 

Not only will it force material to fall at the head of the primary collection plate (highlighted in white), but I'll also be able so see in an instant how rich my pay gravels are.

Back to the shop to see what other trouble I can get into !

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Destination Bedrock - Mission Accomplished

Three months have passed since I deployed in "Destination Bedrock". My mission statement was to recover the gold held captive by the enemy: Bedrock & Overburden. There were a few setbacks to overcome. A thunderstorm one evening swelled the creek to nearly flood stage and that kept us off the water for at least 4 days. A sudden wind storm one afternoon nearly prevented us from getting back to camp due to three large fir trees that fell, blocking the ATV trail. With no chain saw, I was able to use the ATV's winch to snap the top off one tree, allowing me a difficult but safer passage over the other two.
Within the last week, the water temps fell making it quite uncomfortable for a 5 mil wetsuit, requiring us to don our neoprene chest waders. We still managed to get wet every time we reached to the bottom of our diggings to sweep and clean the bedrock with a stiff bristle brush. Shoulder length gauntlet gloves came off within minutes as they would fill with water when our reach exceeded their length.
Despite these minor setbacks, "Destination Bedrock" proved to be a worthy mission. I did take a few days off every 10 days so my efforts wouldn't feel like a real job. Keeping it fun was very important.

Adult refreshments kept a smile on our faces after a long day of busting bedrock
And now the money shots from Destination Bedrock - Mission Accomplished.
Right Click > Open New Tab to have a close up view of these amazing quartz-gold pieces. Now before you comment about how we are close to the source...we've been to the source and discovered Chinese tailings. Why they neglected to work the creek as meticulously as they did the source just baffles me...but they did.
Right Click > Open New Tab to view 35 grams of beautiful Idaho gold. Besides all the chunky pieces, the 'fines' all have a bit of character.
Right Click > Open New Tab to see this 35 gram pile. Keep in mind that all this gold was recovered using only hand tools. The most modern piece of equipment we own is one of Alan Trees' Rocking Gold Grabbers which is a 21st Century upgrade from the old Rocker Box.
Ok, turn your volume up as you're going to enjoy hearing this 'hail storm of gold'.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A High Grade Deposit

Working a creek that has been drag lined in the past, the opportunity to find 'Virgin Ground' is scarce. However, I have a friend that has a gift of reading the creek. Prior to his departure to elk camp, we walked the creek and he pointed to some shallow and exposed bedrock. After working a hole upstream, my wife and I ventured down to the area of exposed bedrock. Armed with my viewing box, I investigated the surface of the bedrock and found it quite smooth lacking any cracks or crevices. However, on the near shore, where the land based drag line's bucket would be removed from the water for dumping into the floating wash plant, a different type structure caught my eye.Very symmetrical cracks gave the appearance of building blocks, both horizontal and vertical.
A putty knife modified with a hooked end was all that was needed to relieve the cracks of small pebbles in order to get the point of a pry bar into each crack. As each 'block' was removed, my wife would use one of our DeserDog sucker tubes to extract the pay dirt from the newly created socket.
Here's a one pan sample of the gold retrieved with the DeserDog sucker tube.A shovel or scoop would have left these pieces behind but there's no escape from the vacuum power of a DeserDog sucker tube...PERIOD.
While gently sweeping the material from the top of the next 'block' to be removed, I noticed these three pieces of gold. One more sweep with my cropped 4" paint brush would have sent these into the nearby crack.
Here's another interesting looking piece retrieved from the bedrock surface.
And another...
And another.
Here's the rewards for one day of dismantling the bedrock building blocks. Two point four grams of nice chunky gold...some with quartz still attached. Total area worked was less than 3 square feet. We figure there's still a week or more of work available at this site before we move on in search of another High Grade Deposit.  (Right Click > Open in New Tab) to view larger pics.