For this weeks How To series I have chosen to reach out to all those “Gold Miners” out there. I am not really talking about true miners here, more the type of person who has some extra cash and would not mind trying to dredge for gold on a larger scale than someone who goes into a stream with a pan. This article is not going to cover everything about getting gold out of the ground. This one is mainly about building the sluice box for the dredge. With a gold dredge, there is still not as much equipment that you have to pack into wherever you are going, but you are still going to be able to move a lot of dirt and get a decent amount of concentrate at the end of a long day. If you get a large enough consistent water stream going (usually assisted by some sort of pump) then you can funnel material (dirt, gold, rocks, etc) through a sluice box which will naturally have slower spots (where gold being heavier than most other materials found in streams will fall into the ripples while the rest of the material shoots on out the back via the water.
You might thing that the Sluice Box has to best set up perfectly and mathematically. This really is not the case as really the flow of water is what is key. The general rule of thumb when building a sluice box is that there be a one inch drop for every one foot of length. A four foot sluice box is going to also need 4 inches of drop. Heavier rocks can destroy a sluice box so its best to build a wind dam or something to keep the bigger rocks from going into the sluice box. A hint that I might add is that the longer the sluice box, the more potential you have for picking up material and gold. Obviously once they get to a certain length it starts to become difficult to carry them around, but if you can somehow figure out a way to build one that folds, you might be able to keep it long and still backpack it somewhere if need be.
Here are three different dudes letting you know how they built their sluice boxes.