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.

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 !