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Thread: what is the best sluice box setup for catching fine gold?

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  1. #1
    Husband and Father

    Nov 2012
    above the arctic circle
    7 times

    what is the best sluice box setup for catching fine gold?

    i am new at prospecting and i have a keene a52 hand sluice and plan on buying a pump and converting into a highbanker. where i live there is allot of fine gold and the couple times i used my sluice i still had to pan out quite a bit of material to get to the gold, maybe it's because i only classified my material to around 1/4 in, i have seen a bunch of videos online about different rubber mattings and different combinations of riffle/expandedmetal/minersmoss/black ribbed matting, but i was wondering what is the best setup to catch fine gold?

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  3. #2
    Hunter A

    Nov 2012
    Southern California
    14 times

    Welcome to Tnet! There are certainly other members that can answer this question better but I've been doing mass amounts of research and I thought I'd take a stab at it.

    So you have a Keene A52? That is one of the staples of the sluice market and a great place to start. Here are some modification suggestions: Get some deep V rubber matting and cut it so that it fits on to your flare above the stock rubber matting. If there's gold there then you should see it in the deep V fairly early. Also, you can replace the green carpeting with miners moss. It's supposed to be much better at catching the really fine stuff and the best sluices use it. Classifying to 1/8" might not be a bad idea either but make sure you check your classified rocks for possible nuggets

    Also i've seen videos of devices like the gold wheel, gold cube and the blue bowl, that are supposed to be great at separating out the fine stuff from fine concentrates and black sand.

    Best of luck

  4. #3
    Husband and Father

    Nov 2012
    above the arctic circle
    7 times
    thanks for the info, i am planing on getting some miners moss, i have read that it is better to put deep V rubber matting the full lenth of the sluice under the miners moss to catch the fines so they dont run out the bottom of the sluice, also thinking about adding another sluice under under my keene by putting a grizzly on the end of my 4 foot sluice and have that sluice only expanded metal and deep V rubber matting to only catch the finest of the gold, what do you think?

  5. #4
    Aug 2012
    Eyes - Gold Bug Pro
    146 times
    My Bazooka Gold Trap catches fine gold perfectly and I dont have to classify.
    replicaprops likes this.
    Head in the water, butt in the air.
    Now I know why ducks do it!
    Underwater Sniper n00b

  6. #5
    Jun 2009
    Blue Ridge, South Carolina
    277 times
    Any of the modern day sluices will catch comparable size gold if you properly control 4 things. The feed rate of material, the material size (I think its best to classify to one size larger then the majority of the gold you are finding), the water velocity and the sluice angle. Each aspect is important in its own way, and can influence your recovery independent of the other variables.

    Feed rate is important because you don't want to overload the sluice. If you dump too much material on conventional riffle sluices, the gold can wash right on out. Some sluices like the Bazooka Gold Trap are more forgiving then others but the best feed rate will vary from sluice to sluice and it just takes time to learn.

    Classification is probably the best way to increase your fine gold recovery. If you are working an area where there is mostly -50 mesh gold, you might as well classify to -30 or -20. That will increase your recovery above and beyond classifying the same material to 1/2 inch. I dont care who you are, a 1/2 inch piece of magnetite or hematite will potentially displace a lot of -50 or -100 mesh gold, especially in a drop riffle sluice. Fluid beds are more forgiving about classification, but only up to a point.

    With angle, you don't want completely flat on a drop riffle (on a sluice anyway, dredges are different due to the water velocity) because without enough drop to create the vortex in the drop riffles, the sluice can pack up solid and then the gold will just migrate on out. You need some angle/drop to help clear out the drop riffles. Usually I set mine up so the drops are catching black sand and ejecting the majority of the blond sands and then I know its catching the majority of anything heavier then black sand like gold. But if you go too steep of an angle you will completely blow out everything in the riffle.

    On velocity, if you have too much of it, you will scour the gold out of a drop riffle. Too little and the material wont clear. Unless I am working concentrates I try setup the sluice to find the best velocity where the gangue is being ejected and the black sand is being caught. On my drop riffles I can put my finger in the water flow and tell if its right or not. Usually if I have them setup right the flow of water will feel fairly fast like it is slightly pulling at my fingers tips.

    Anyway, just some tips hope it helps.
    Sample till you find the hot spot, then mine it till its gone! Then start over...



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