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Thread: Newbie is as newbie does. Classifier question(s)

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  1. #1
    us
    ag-au.biz

    Feb 2013
    Minneapolis, MN
    38
    2 times
    Prospecting

    Newbie is as newbie does. Classifier question(s)

    Hey guys,
    I'm relatively new to the hobby of Gold panning. I've been out quite a bit this summer and even found some color. However, as you know panning isn't easy. What I would like to know is what do you use for classifying material? Did you make your own classifier(s) or buy them? Since i'm in MN and the gold is fine my 1/2 inch Garrett that came with my 14' pan is useless. I've been looking at DIY and for sale classifiers and have been wanting to make my own, however, I just want something sturdy and reliable. Whats your experience? Or advice? Thanks guys!

  2. #2
    us
    Author of a book about finding gold in Colorado

    Jan 2012
    Summit County, Colorado
    Grizzly Goldtrap Explorer & Motherlode, Gold Cube with Banker on top, Bazooka Goldtrap sluices, Angus Mackirk Expedition, Gold-n-Sand Xtream Hand pump
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    Prospecting
    One key question if you do DIY is what material you use. Lots of guys use 1/4 inch hardware cloth but this stuff just isn't durable so your pics of your new classifier look great but a few outings later you learn that your hard work is coming apart. Brass or stainless steel mesh is the way to go. This will most likely lead you to buying commercial classifiers. For a custom classifier I built, I used aluminum punch plate from Home Depot. Is the "Union Jack" pattern and it works well. However Aluminum is soft enough to stretch and then break unless reinforced so I had to add a strap across the center of the classifier.

    For MN you probably want an 8-12 mesh (you could use a kitchen strainer for this as they are stainless steel and cheap) to use in the field, and a 50 mesh to separate the materials you bring home. Panning the stuff that goes thru the 50 mesh separately will help you get the really fine gold.

  3. #3
    us
    Dec 2012
    Concrete, WA
    Nokta FoRs Gold, a Gold Cube, 2 Keene Sluices and Lord only knows how many pans....not to mention a load of other gear my wife still doesn't know about!
    3,329
    5631 times
    Prospecting
    Easiest way I found to make a smaller meshed classifier was to buy some
    1/8" hardware cloth (screen) at the local hardware store. Cut out a piece
    that fits inside your 1/2" classifier, then simply use some small bits of wire
    and secure it to the existing plastic screen. You can also get 1/4" screen
    and do the same.

    Found an old black plastic classifier a long time ago, and the 1/2 sq. webbing
    inside was broken in several places. It has since served as a #4, #8 and now
    a #20 mesh (rough size of window screen).

    Takes a bit of time to "sew" the top screen on over the existing one, but it's a
    great way to rejuvenate a piece of gear that would be otherwise useless.
    Mike (aka Dizz)

    "If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude better than the animating contest
    of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick
    the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you
    were our countrymen." ~~ Samuel Adams, 1776

    Dizzy's Super-Simple, Universal Rule of Forum Conduct: Don't be an ass.

  4. #4
    us
    ag-au.biz

    Feb 2013
    Minneapolis, MN
    38
    2 times
    Prospecting
    Awesome! Thanks for your response! I was thinking about the materials, thanks for pointing out the possible mesh problems. I'll shop around, there's a great metal detecting store 4 blocks from my house. It's an older gentlemen that is retired and just loves prospecting/metal detecting. I'm sure he'll have what I need! I'll support local business. And i've actually used kitchen strainers at home for some paydirt I bought from alaska. Worked great until the plastic handle snapped clean off after going through about 2lbs of material

  5. #5
    us
    This isn't a hobby! It's hard work!

    Feb 2013
    Golden Valley Arid-Zona
    Fisher / Gold Bug AND the MK-VII eyeballs
    3,465
    6153 times
    Prospecting/Mining and protecting our rights to do so.
    As was mentioned before you can use some hardware cloth in different sizes. Also get some small cable ties (zip strips) to attach the screen to your 1/2 inch classifier. BE SURE you attach it in AT LEAST eight places around the edge as well as one or two in the center. Hardware cloth bends easy and if it does so while your running stuff through it with your hands, it can rip ya up pretty bad even if you're wearing gloves.

    For kitchen type strainers, I've found some of the best ones are the ones you can find in your typical dollar store. These have a wire handle instead of plastic and won't break from the weight. With a little searching you can also find them in different size meshes.
    http://www.mylandmatters.org/
    The one stop place for mining matters on public lands!

    "Those that make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" John F. Kennedy

    When I joined the Army I took an oath to protect this country from enemies both foreign and domestic. To the best of my knowledge I've never been relieved of that oath and will continue to follow it to the best of my ability.

  6. #6

    Jul 2013
    315
    300 times
    I use a 3 gallon bucket inside of a 5 gallon bucket. The 3 gallon bucket is drilled with a 11/2" hole saw threw the bottom leaving enough material for backing. I then screw hardware screen to the bottom. Cut the screen about 1/4" bigger than the bottom and bend it in. I fill the 5 gallon bucket about 1/2 full of water then put in the 3 gallon bucket, a couple of shovels full of material at most too much won't work too well. Then lift and twist the handle. The water flowing out the bottom of the bucket along with the fluidization of the material works good.
    goldenmojo and cwwj123 like this.

  7. #7
    us
    ag-au.biz

    Feb 2013
    Minneapolis, MN
    38
    2 times
    Prospecting
    Such great advice! Thanks guys! Also, thanks for the heads up on how hands are no match for the wire. This is pretty much the only thing I do that gives me calluses. When I was copper hunting a rock slit my finger open in Michigan. No one tells you the fun garbage you find, too. Broken glass, rusty metal.. Great fun =D

  8. #8
    us
    I can dig it! "WP"

    Mar 2007
    Indiana
    Bounty Hunter's, Whites TM 808, Whites GMT, Suction Dredges, Hand Dredges, Trommels, Gold Vacs, High Bankers, Fluid bed Gold Traps, Gold Pans, Sluices, Dry Washers, Miller Tables, Rp4 Shaker table etc
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I cut the top 6" to 8" section off a 5 gallon bucket and use a propane blow torch to melt a screen onto the bottom of it then trim the screen.
    Just don't over do the blow torch part (the bucket melts pretty easy)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	classifier.jpg 
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ID:	899677

    GG~
    Last edited by Goodyguy; Nov 15, 2013 at 04:03 PM.
    Starg, bobw53, Potts and 5 others like this.

  9. #9

    Oct 2013
    4
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    hello,
    Since be declare previous in the direction of you be able to make use of a number of hardware fabric in poles apart dimension. As well acquire a number of minute wire bind (zip strips) in the direction of fasten the monitor in the direction of your 1/2 shuffle classifier.
    thanks....

  10. #10
    us
    Sep 2014
    Southern SoCal
    CTX3030, 17" coil, excal 1000, 15 WOT remote PP, str8 shaft
    578
    572 times
    Beach and Shallow Water Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodyguy View Post
    I cut the top 6" to 8" section off a 5 gallon bucket and use a propane blow torch to melt a screen onto the bottom of it then trim the screen.
    Just don't over do the blow torch part (the bucket melts pretty easy)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	classifier.jpg 
Views:	1477 
Size:	375.5 KB 
ID:	899677

    GG~
    I spent the day trying to make a 1/4" classifier with a 5 gal bucket w/instructions cutting the bucket in 1/2 then laying the screen on and then overlapping the buckets.. PITA and it wouldn't work for the life of me! I threw everything away pissed. Then I saw your way. Gingerly melting the plastic and then pulling the metal in the plastic.
    AWESOME! Worked like a charm.
    My advice is to use a pair of pliers, heat up the plastic at a medium heat and medium pace. Tug hard on the screen until it "cheese grades" into the plastic and goes down about a 1/4 of an inch, then hold it there til it hardens and move on to the next segment. Takes about 20 minutes to go full circle but SO worth it. Then file the outside down a little more than usual and add a small bead of sealant so you don't cut yourself on the metal snags.. GREAT IDEA GG~

  11. #11
    us
    David

    Sep 2012
    Massachusetts
    246
    175 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I buy stainless steel wire mesh from McMaster-Carr. It comes in about a thousand different types and sizes. I use a scrap 1 by 4 and construct a square. I then staple the wire mesh to the bottom of the wooden square. I usually attach sheet rock screws to the bottom of the square to lift the classifier off the bottom of my container (Large dish pan) that I use to shake the classifier in. It works extremely well and is very light weight. A 12 inch square of stainless steel wire mesh is about 5 bucks. I make the wooden frames about 8 inches square. I have built classifiers from 6x6, 8x8, 14 x14, 20x20, 30x30, and 50x50 mesh size. 14x14 means 14 wires per inch both vertical and horizontal. A 50 x50 is very small.

    Best Colors to you

    DVDT
    Last edited by dvdtharaldson; Oct 13, 2014 at 02:39 PM.

  12. #12
    us
    May 2014
    AZ
    Sweep Jig, Whippet Dry Washer, Lobo ST, 1/2 width 2 tray Gold Cube, numerous pans, rocker box, and /home made fluid bed and stream sluices.
    1,967
    2847 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by cwwj123 View Post
    Hey guys,
    I'm relatively new to the hobby of Gold panning. I've been out quite a bit this summer and even found some color. However, as you know panning isn't easy. What I would like to know is what do you use for classifying material? Did you make your own classifier(s) or buy them? Since i'm in MN and the gold is fine my 1/2 inch Garrett that came with my 14' pan is useless. I've been looking at DIY and for sale classifiers and have been wanting to make my own, however, I just want something sturdy and reliable. Whats your experience? Or advice? Thanks guys!
    Your 1/2" classifier is still useful if you do the following.* When you pan in the field, first only rough pan down the minus 1/2" to mostly black sand and smaller gravels and then save that material in a bucket or you can add more material to the pan and do several more batches before you dump the pan. You will probably not lose any gold in so doing if you properly pan (rough panning eliminates only the lightest and largest waste material). After this point is where I would concentrate my efforts on smaller mesh screens. At the end of the day or at home is the best time to mess with the smaller meshes, and panning for gold recovery, since you will be dealing with a much smaller total quantity and it is a much higher quality eg. concentrates. When in the field, screening to small mesh reduces the amount of material you can handle in a day. The more paydirt you process, the more overall gold you are likely to find. Good luck.

    PS Some good suggestions here for DIY screens.

    *First, test pan your area to see if there is any gold then shift to this mode.
    Last edited by arizau; Oct 17, 2014 at 03:39 PM.
    If it can't be grown, it must be mined!

 

 

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