Fifteen years ago I bought a Fold Up Sluice Box to take with me on a trip to New Zealand. It was going to be my first attempt at using a so-called Standard Sluice arrangement in the field. Up to that point my Prospecting experience had been done with a 2” Dredge, a device called a Roto Pan and a Le Trap Gold Pan. Upon reaching the gold fields in South Island, New Zealand, I found myself teamed up with two Brothers from Switzerland. To make a long story short, one of the Brothers built a simple Sluice Box out of wood with small square pieces of wood for Riffles. Many times we used both my store bought Sluice and his home built Wooden Sluice Box next to each other.
One of my observations made at that time was that both Sluice Boxes seem to perform about the same. It never occurred to me to check the Tailings of these Sluice Boxes; I just assumed that all Sluice Boxes catch the gold put through them. That experience was a long time ago and since then my education and experience with gold recovery equipment went into high gear. Much of this was driven by one of my jobs, which was working for International Prospecting Supply of Seattle owned by now deceased, Eddie Barrett. Most of my job for some time was training customers in the use of Metal Detectors which I knew very well and had taught since 1991 for Eddie.
Since the store sold more than Metal Detectors, I took interest in other types of equipment that is used for gold recovery. Even though I had access to most pieces of gold recovery equipment I, like many of us, assumed that most of these worked more or less, well. This had to be true as all of the books and magazines I read seemed to back this thought up. All of this came to an end when one day while panning for gold with a new designed pan, I decided to check my tailings since I was working in a tub at that time. To my surprise I found that I was losing almost half of the gold! This event made me start examining and studying the equipment I’ve been using. One or these pieces of equipment was the Sluice Box. Using my conventional Sluice Box, I started to keep my tailings to see how well it was working. Sure enough, I was losing gold – especially the fine and micro particles.
I decided to ask a good friend of mine who had a lot of experience with Sluice Boxes, (he made and sold them,) what could I do about this problem. It was then that he showed me the Sluice Box he personally used. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. The Sluice Box was only 2 feet long by 1 foot wide. (The original was 4 feet long.) The first foot was basically a Slick Plate Area followed by a Water Fall Drop into another foot of Miners Moss topped with Expanded Metal. How could this work? My friend said that he had another one so if I wanted to try it he would give me one of the originals. I eagerly accepted his offer and took it home. After looking it over for some time, I decided to do the same thing that my friend did, so I cut it in half, installed some Miners Moss and topped it with Expanded Metal. As an after thought, I put a narrow strip of Small Raised Rubber Ribbing across the Slick Plate Area. It was now time to try this almost Unconventional Sluice Box out…
To be continued…
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