Sluice Boxes Riffle-less Systems Part 2

The Skykomish River

The Skykomish River

The sun was rising and there I was going up-stream careful not to slip on the slimy cobbles that line the River’s edge. I was excited to get to a spot I knew had gold, so I could try out my new Sluice Box. (Read Part 1). As I went along, I kept wondering if the strange little Sluice Box was going to work. I finally reached the spot I was seeking and started to look for a place to set it up. I read somewhere that it only takes half the water pressure to run Expanded Metal Riffles over Conventional Straight Bar Riffle Systems. If that is true – I was thinking, then why do almost all Sluice Boxes on the market run Straight Bar Riffles on top of Expanded Metal Riffles? Go figure! (More about this later.) Knowing this fact about water pressure, I looked for a spot that had more moderate water flow than I normally use. After some time I finally found a spot that looked shallow enough to set a Sluice Box up and also had a moderate water flow.

As with any Sluice Box, it took some fiddling around to get it set up and the water flowing through it at what seemed to be the right amount. Lucky for me, the place I found was right near the spot where I knew there was gold to be had. Digging up and classifying a few 5 Gal Buckets of gravel, I took them over to the Sluice Box and started running the material through it. Almost right away I could see gold showing up in the Raised Rubber Ribbing Strip I installed on the Slick Plate. Noting this, I stuck a gold pan at the mouth of the Sluice Box to collect the tailing shooting out that end to see what I was losing – if anything.

It is always exciting to see gold in your Sluice Box right away – especially when you are trying to test a new piece of equipment. I finally ran the rest of the buckets of concentrates through my new Sluice Box, which moved smoothly along in a timely fashion. Now it was time to see how I did and how my new Sluice Box performed. After cleaning up and panning the concentrates, I then checked out the Pan left at the mouth of the Sluice Box.

To my delight I saw very little loss compared to my conventional Sluice Box. What was most interesting though was that I was catching much smaller gold particles than I was getting before. Another observation I also made was that just about all the gold that I have ever recovered including what I recovered today was under ¼”inches in size. (This did not include my Metal Detecting). Since I was classifying at ½”, where is the nuggets I see in the magazine advertisements that are displayed as typical finds.

Long Tom Sluice Box Dakota 1889

Long Tom Sluice Box Dakota 1889

I guess I’m not that lucky or they’re just not that typical! (This observation proved to be truer than I understood at that time. 98% of the recovered gold in the world is ¼” and under, including invisible gold. What is invisible? The human eye can resolve gold particles down to 270 Mesh – that is with good eyesight. Many of the gold producing mines in the world today are working with particles well under this Mesh.) I was certainly happy with my new found Sluice Box set-up, but what about all of that very small and micro gold that is out there to be recovered. After all, it is a known fact that the “Old Timers” didn’t bother with collecting it or used ridiculously lengthy Sluice Boxes called “Long Toms” to collect it. (This fact did not include the Chinese Miners.) If this is true, I wondered, is there a way to collect these small and tiny left over treasures economically and in an efficient way… To be continued in Part 3.


and if in the USA Happy Thanksgiving,

Dennis Katz


copyright © 2014 Gold Pan Prospector /

About The Fossicker

Dennis Katz - Inventor of the Pyramid Pro Pan and Maverick Finishing Pan and sluice boxes. FOSSICKERS / Gold Pan Prospectors aims to supply the best finishing gold pan and production gold pan for prospecting.
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