Dredge upgrades. Thoughts?
I live in Northern NH, and I just purchased a used 2" dredge mid summer. It has a Honda GXH50 with a Keene P90 pump, old steel Keene power jet, modern Keene 2 1/2" floats, a home-built frame, and some no-name "traditional" 10"x34" sluice box with a crash box. The sluice box came installed with carpet and rubber drawer matting under the riffles, and punch plate over the length of the box (two different pieces, smaller holes up top followed by 1/4"); I have changed it to miners moss and expanded metal temporarily after finally getting the thing running again and receiving my dredging permit. I've scored some decent color in the short bit of season I've been able to run it, but I am looking to improve on it over the winter for next year!
The sluice box is beat up, it's too short to let me use the amount of GH matting I want to use because of the way it's set up, and it has a lot of holes in it that need patching (both the sluice and the crash box).
I just ordered a Jobe 2" crash box from Black Cat Mining that is 10" wide; I have my reasons for wanting to stay with a crash box, namely some clay and clump at some of my private sites. I plan to build a new sluice box, sourcing the aluminum sheet from a local metal fabricator who will also bend it for me, all for a reasonable price. It will be 10" by approximately 42", depending on the length of the crash box. I plan to use 36" of GH mating, and arrived at this setup based on what I've gathered by reading this forum and the old one on GH's website: talon, talon, trimmed river hog, talon, trimmed river hog, talon. I also plan to raise the engine mount by about 4" by modifying the frame, so that the suction hose/power jet can get better clearance underneath it; which becomes even more important with angle on the box!
Our gold is fairly fine here; nice -12 mesh flakes on down to fruit-fly poop, but the occasional chunkier pieces show up too. I recently found a picker in my dredge that's around 4 mesh (it's kind of flat, but odd shaped; definitely a decent picker!), and I also found some pieces that were very small (around 20 mesh) but fairly round, and they roll around easily.
What do yall think of my plan? Should I run punch plate, just up top, and maybe 3/8"? I've already experimented with getting more angle on my sluice box; it's doable, but I don't know how much, especially once I put the longer box on it.
Hello Granite Head I know you already spent some money but my thought is way how much you are going to spend on these updates and consider just buying a gold hog piglet which works good as a 2" dredge. I had my own material and built my own look alike but used hog matting works great, I like the high banker set up because it is easier move and penalty of adjustments and you can do two operations with the same piece of equipment. Besides you already have a pump to run it, also you have that drop zone under the header box on the high banker which catches the major part of your gold that's just my thought check out the piglet first it more of a hog than a piglet lol. PS good videos on it.
Thanks for the reply Scrapper!
I checked it out, but it's not really what I'm looking for (but pretty darn cool!), and it's a tad small. This is a floating dredge. I'm also going to be well under the asking price of the Piglet, even with the GH mats factored in.
It should cost me right around $350 when all is said and done; paid $130 for the crash box with shipping, the sluice is going to cost $105 for the material plus the two bends (I can drill mounting holes myself, I have the right tools), and then $105 (+S&H) for the 3 GH mats (two Talon, and a River Hog)... unless someone has a 10" piece of Talon they are willing to sell me, then that would save buying another whole 36" piece just to get my fourth 10" piece.
So, the crashbox came in last week, and I now have two GH mats on the way, one River Hog and one Talon. I'm now thinking of just running this configuration: Talon, RH, Talon, RH, Talon, RH; versus my original plan of: Talon, Talon, RH, Talon, RH, Talon. It would save me having to buy another Talon mat, just to get one 10" piece.
Sluice dimensions are going to be 10x40 by 5 inches deep, when I have it built (hopefully this week). See attached pictures to see where the mats will begin in relation to the crashbox. Is this going to be an issue, having the first Talon mat under the front edge of the crashbox? Should I make the sluice 42" long and go with seven mats total all the way to the back of the crashbox (maybe UR or ML inside the crashbox)?
The sluice box is finished, and the Hog mats are installed (temporarily assembled for testing with one drop of super glue, and tape on the top and bottom seams). Total price (including the stock to raise the frame up higher where the motor mounts), was $335, which includes all the shipping too... not to shabby at all; cheaper than buying Keene's box and throwing out the riffles and carpet!
Alternating Talon and River Hog for 36" of the sluice; I have not yet cut the River Hog riffles, as I'm waiting to test it. Sluice dimensions are: 10" wide, 40" long, 5" deep. I will post more pics of the whole dredge once the frame modification is done, but here is a pic of the assembled sluice box.
I hope to complete the frame mods before everything freezes up solid here in northern New Hampshire, so I can take it for a test spin!
Finally, after a long and cold northern New Hampshire winter, I got the dredge out on the water for her very first test with the new capture system! The water is still extremely cold, and my hands went numb after only an hour... I forgot my neoprene dive gloves (oops)! I still need to trim the River Hog mats, but need some advice from Doc and/or others....
2019 Dredging season is here!!! 🤠
Hello Granite Head your dredge looks good well done good idea to send the picture to Doc for some advice. If it was me I might run talon on the last mat so it settles more, yea you need trim some of the riverhog mats which you know. but good luck this season with your adventure and have fun thanks for the video.
Scrapper hit the nail on the head!
Certainly contact Doc for recommendations - especially the trimming part.
Excellent reworking of the dredge. There is a possibility that a short bolt on flared extension might be suggested - based on the water flow and Doc's thinking.
Be sure to let us know how it turns out.
Years of Personal "Misadventures" Unhampered by Common Sense.
Thanks Scrapper and Joe for the kind words and advice!
So I didn't get to talk to Doc, but Mike over at GH responded to my email. He said to trim the RH down at least half way, and to put a dampener mat on the box.
I've rearranged and trimmed my mats; they are now: Talon, trimmed RH, Talon, trimmed RH, trimmed RH, and Talon at the bottom. As you can see from the included pics, I trimmed the first two RH mats pretty low and with a throw cut, while the last one I left a bit taller and with a cutting profile; I may trim that last RH like the first two after testing. Be on the lookout for a video of the next test!
I could use some ideas on where to source the rubber mat to make my dampener mat; a visit to my local hardware store yesterday didn't net me anything useful (except the mortar mixing tub for clean outs, and the aluminum angle to rim the RH). I'm guessing that I'm looking for some sort of smooth rubber mat approximately 1/8"-3/16" thick?
Thanks again to all who have offered their sage advice and wisdom!
Well, smooth rubber is certainly a good thing - however - after you track some down ALSO consider this: A second one as a spare or to compare which you like best:
The thinnest and cheapest and flimsiest carpet at Lowes, Home Depot and such also works mighty fine. THE best I saw was a Bush Fabrication using part of an old steel brake line across the sluice with a 'curtain' made of (( Oh Yeah!!! )) a part of an old scrounged Mechanic's fender protector pad cut with a "sort-a sharp" (in places) pen knife.
Just about anything will work - as long as it's thin, flexible and lays on the top of the racing water. It's just a dampening curtain that rides 5 or 6"+- on the water/slurry run to gentle and flatten it down yet still allow 'stuff' to pass beneath.
As others have said - "Improvise, Adapt and Overcome!".
Years of Personal "Misadventures" Unhampered by Common Sense.
As you can see, the water has smoothed out significantly... I'm getting closer!
I think I may trim that last River Hog like the first two; it holds way too much material compared to the other two.