Sluicing for gold:
Sluicing for gold will allow you to put more concentrated material into your clean up tub or bucket by the end of the say than you can get with a gold pan.
If you first learned to pan, then you have tested and found a good area to set up your sluice, and now you can start classifying the material into your buckets to feed your sluice.
I generally use a 1/4 inch screen, as the smaller ones will take much longer to filter though and that means you will less material through your sluice by the end of the day.
If your in a good spot, the more dirt you can get through your sluice means the more gold you will have at the end of the day. This is just a nubmers game. But you have to remember, not to feed your sluice too fast. You need to let it wash out the light stuff, before you feed more.
I will try to explain all of that in a moment. But first, lets see how to set it up properly.
Ok, so you have a good location, a sluice box, a couple of buckets, a shovel, classifying screen, and of course your pan and snuffer bottle. That is a good time to have a friend with you. Two people can work a sluice much better than one. However, you have to split the gold at the end of the day. But you should have more gold to show for it.
Ok, you tested and found a good spot to dig. Now you need to set up your sluice box in the creek.
If the water is going slow, you may need to build up a wing dam, to center more water flow into your sluice. These are easy to build, and do not take long to do. You need tto have good flow, or your sluice will not clean itself out.
A wing dam can look like this;
Do you see how it comes to a point, like an arrow head? That is how it funnles the water into your sluice. It makes a faster flow, which clear out the sluice better.
If water is flowing fast, you will not need this.
Just remember, when your done, TEAR IT BACK DOWN!!! The rangers are getting very upset that people are leaving these, and full dams and not tearing them down. We can't do that, or they will take away the privliage of prospecting in the areas.
Ok, now, set your sluice up so that it gets good water flow from end to end. Keep the lower end, about 4 inches lower than the top, on a 4 foot sluice. the starting point is one inch drop for each foot of sluice.
The important thing to remember is that you do not want the lower end to get completely under water. You want to keep the top edge from being completely down, or it will loose the speed of the water flow, and will not be able to clear out the light material from your sluice at that end. I will get photos added to this page to show the proper way to sit it in the water as well, but since I usually dredge, I do not have any that I can find right now.
Ok, so you have your drop, and angle good. Now, set a large rock on top of it, around the middle of the sluice. Something that fits all the way accross the top from one side to the other. This will hold it in place and keep the water from moving it around.
Once you have classified some material, I like to have one person feeding, and the other person classifying. This way, you can keep going all day. Switch off and take turns so each person gets a break from shoveling. You will be able to run a lot more material that way, and only be half as tired.
Feed the sluice gently. Don't just pour the bucket in, like you may see on TV or youtube. I use a grain scoup. It is metal, and I found it in Ace Hardware in the food section. I think it is like a kitchen flour scoup. It works great and lats for years.
I feed a full scoup each time. As soon as the water clears, I put in another one. You keep at this as fast as your sluice will clear out, feed it some more. If you have two people digging, one person can fill the sluice. That means you could set up 2 or 3 sluices and have the sluice feeder hopping from one to the other.
You can move a lot more material that way.
Once your done, gently lift the sluice and dump it into a 5 gal bucket to do your clean up. If you get a lot of black sands in your area, you may need to do a clean up every couple of hours. Most do anyways, but it isn't really needed. It does let you pan it down to see that you are still on gold though.
That is about the basics. Move on to my other stories and enjoy the site.
Thank you for reading. I hope this helps someone out that is just getting started into gold prospecting.