Sluicing is the use of a "sluice box" in a creek or river to separate gold from gravel.
(See our sluice kit below for a quick and easy way to get started with sluicing for gold.)
A sluice box is a metal, wood, or plastic channel that has "riffles" and other devices in it to catch gold. The sluice box is placed in the water with the entrance of the box upstream, so water flows through the box. The sluice box is set with a slight downhill tilt, about 1 inch for every 1 or 2 feet of sluice box, so the water runs fast enough through the box to wash away the lighter blonde sands and gravel, but not so fast as to wash out all the black sand and of course the gold. A good visual measure of correct water speed is a "bubble" created over each riffle.
Sand and Gravels should be shoveled into the top of the box where the water enters. With the removal, by hand, of larger rocks, the small pebbles and lighter sands will be washed out. Black sand and gold will collect in front of the riffles. When you are finished shoveling for the day, the box can be disassembled and emptied into a bucket or tub, and the remaining material (your black sand gold concentrates) can then be panned out.
Sluice boxes come in almost as many varieties as pans. Sluice boxes come in several lengths, from 52 inches down to about 24 inches. Obviously the larger the sluice box, the more gravel it can handle at a time. It will also need cleaning up less often. But, it is bulkier and heavier than smaller sluices. Some sluices can even be folded in two three sections for backpacking.
Nowadays, sluice boxes are usually made of either aluminum or plastic. Aluminum is more durable than plastic, but can be damaged by bending it out of shape. Plastic, though not as durable as aluminum, is more forgiving to rough treatment (unless it becomes brittle and breaks), and is lighter in weight.
The aluminum sluice boxes will have a series of riffles, (generally called Hungarian Riffles) that can be removed or at least lifted to allow cleaning. Under the riffles, ribbed carpet or miner's moss is used to catch the fine gold. The old timers used burlap for this, and so can you. It still works just fine.
EZ SLUICE SHOWN
Plastic sluices generally don't have carpet. They use either molded riffles or molded traps in the bed of the box to catch the gold. Cleanup is fast and easy as their is no dis-assembly required. Understand that a 48 inch plastic sluice box is no toy. They are very efficient and very lightweight.
Sluicing is a great way to get started in recreational gold prospecting. They are a serious piece of equipment and have produced a lot of gold over the years. My suggestion is to get as large of a sluice box as you can afford and handle based on your particular needs.
"Reprinted with permission of The Rocker Box"
Sluice boxes can be operated by the natiralflow of a creek or river and some can even be powered by a gas or battery driven pump. Powered sluices are usually referred to as Power Sluices or Highbankers. Powered sluices can be operated out of the water by use of a pump so can prospect the regions above a creek or river.
(See our sluice kits below for a quick and easy way to get started sluicing for gold.)
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