The Prospector's Shack

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Dr Jerome
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The Prospector's Shack

Well, come on in and throw your gear on a bunk. Pour a cup of coffee from the kettle on the stove (too strong and too hot). The outhouse is behind that rock out back. This is no place for tenderfeet.

I am probably the last guy who should set up this forum. I have never successfully landed a genuine flake in all my panning and digging. But with your good advice, that's is about to change. But I am full of stories from serious prospectors from my 15 years in the electricians union where that seemed to be the pass time of the local union members in the southwest. I caught gold fever and have suffered to some degree ever since I was about 10 listening to my uncle Chester tell stories about gold on his ranch in Southern Colorado. He never found the mother lode, but he took me panning in his riverbed and I could see streaks of black sand with gold flakes in it when the sun hit the muddy sandbars just right. I just couldn't get the hang of panning. As far as I know, the people who own the place now don't have a clue what's out there in that trickle of a river. We stopped by a few years ago. I had heard that my fathers half-sister inherited the place, but nobody was home. Oh well.

But I think I am serious about this. with AU climbing above 2K per ounce in the near future, and upwards of 20K in a few years, I will be happy to spend weekends digging a quarter-ounce of shiney out of the creek bed. and I'll gladly invest fiat into detectors, sluice boxes, gold-spinners, gold vacuums and whatever it takes. I have been checking on how to file a claim in AZ. Doesn't seem too hard.

So, are nuggets and flakes 24 karat? I always wondered about that? I guess I could look it up.

Edited by admin on 11/08/2014 - 06:30
Turd Ferguson
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Nice job, Doc!

I think this will be very popular!

Bongo Jim
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Panning

Did some panning a few years ago in the Smith River in Northern Cal. Supposed to be gold and platinum in it, but I didn't find any. Had fun looking though.

Dyna mo hum
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Gold is where you find it in.... NYC sidewalks

Looks like the guy makes beer money and then some. His HQ looks like moms basement.

Dr Jerome
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Bongo

I just love getting outdoors with the hope of finding something. Very enjoyable.

Bongo Jim
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Metal Detector

Got one to do some hunting...it really helped finding the septic tank covers. The one who made out that day was the pumper guy.

Beez
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I caught gold fever

two years ago while walking my dog along a stream. A hippie kid was panning and found a nugget the size of my small fingernail. He had me wave my hand over the nugget while it was in the pan to make a shadow. Fools gold won't shine in a shadow but real gold will. I guess that was my first lesson.

Then a few weeks later a fellow on my local radio station mentioned that he would give people panning lessons at the river so I showed up and practiced.

I soon realized I needed a sluice box. It's hard work - you are shoveling dirt - so I recruited my boyfriend to help me. Again someone at the river helped us set it up in the perfect flow of water, not too slow, not too fast. He dug along the river bank and filled buckets with dirt and I scooped it out and poured in the box. We were downstream from a quarry so it was all flakes, no nuggets - but still exciting.

We then met a woman at a party last winter who told us stories of going to a river about an hour from me where as a child (during the 50's and 60's) her family had a claim and they would first look for mercury, then find nuggets along the shore. After the party I found out she moved out of the area so I really need to get her back here to show me the spot!

I've been busy all year but this thread just motivated me to get out there again. In fact just last week I met an old fellow who told me he used to gather the moss at the base of the trees along the river bank and then burn it off to find gold.

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Rear Flank Downdraft
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Thanks for the thread ...

For as long as I can remember! I have been prospecting.....whether it be metal detecting in East Tennessee for relics, placer deposit recreational gold prospecting in Indiana, deposits in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and even Ohio (placer, of course).

 
Every summer, my wife and I make our way to Western NC to the Nantahala National Forest, where the "Gem Capital of the World" is located (Franklin).  There we mine for native rubies and sapphires and a few garnets and kyanite.  Just had some rings made made for my wife and I from a couple of sapphires we dug cleaned out.  Both sapphires starred and look real nice.  All of our vacations have something to do with encountering/acquiring natural treasures from the earth.
 
At the end of June I took a buddy and his son to Morgan Monroe State Forest in Indiana on their first gold prospecting venture.  We embarked during the height of our Midwestern drought and there was no running water in any of the streams, save for this lone cesspool ....and I mean that was the only water there.  We got good access to some locations where gold might be since the water was gone, but ultimately found only about five keeper flakes barely large enough to put in a vial.  Some flour gold in a few pans ......but it was color nonetheless and awesome to introduce a yung-un to prospecting, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
 
Point is, it is one thing to ascend to an appreciation of gold and silver bullion, but quite another to drop yourself right in the middle of the natural realm wherein it can be attained and try and fetch it yourself.  It just gives you a phenomenal frame of reference and getting out in nature is a treasure in and of itself.
 
I just wish I had been more keenly aware of Tennessee's gold history (look up Coker Creek TN and the gold rush there) before I left for Ohio as I would have availed myself more of its presence there.  
 
Look forward to some more bantering here and hearing more stories of bounties scooped.....
El Gordo
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Tales of the lost San Saba mines

I've been hearing these since I was a kid.  These are news clippings over the years.

http://www.texfiles.com/texashistory/san_saba_mines.htm

sengfarmer
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where to start

There's gold in these hills. I'm in north central Wisconsin and this is third hand info but very reliable.  My partner of 20 years told me this story many times. His dad bought the old country store from the original owner in the twenties.  The original owner told him that he had one customer that came in and always bought his supplies with gold nuggets.

This fellow always came in on foot  so one would think his source would be fairly close.

We have multitudes of streams and several large rivers around here and we have often wondered where to start.

Any ideas,  sengfarmer

Eric Original
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Great thread, Doc

I love this stuff.   Never done any of it "for real", but several times panning as a tourist.   Also just eat up all the various gold rush history stuff.   Klondike, California, Black Hills, Lost Dutchman, etc.

The only flake I ever found that wasn't in a "salted" bag of sand at a tourist spot was in Alaska.  There was some State Park where they said you could pan in the river.  We did.   Ice cold water, wet feet.  Bent over, sore back.  Good times!  Found one little flake, but I still have it and treasure it more than all my other vials of "touristy" gold combined!

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Dr Jerome
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Start with maps

Sengfarmer

I'd start with two different maps.  First, I'd look at a topographical map. County assessor GIS websites often have excellent mapping capabilities. In my county they even show the mining claims. You can click a box to show waterways and lakes and even topographical elevations. It is a simple matter to spot the claims and follow the contours of the land & water to a likely place nearby where gold might accumulate.

Your state certainly has a department of mineral resources that will show existing and past claims, as well as locations of mines. but you might have to go downtown (perhaps teh capital) to view the maps if they are not online.

I'm pretty good at the research side of things. Still earning how to get the gold out of the gravel & dirt though. DPH posted an excellent little video showing where the heavy material falls out of the waterflow in a creek or river. I'll find it and post it.

Eric: I also found a few flakes at a tourist panning trough. The owner was running it that day and was an excellent panner. But I forgot everything she showed me.

Thanks to DPH for posting these videos yesterday (who else?)

This 45 minute documentary  offers a theory of where gold comes from and what kinds of rock you find it in. I started it yesterday and the whole family came in and sat down and watched it with me

 
This one shows a  most excellent sampling method. I am impressed. If I know anything about research, THIS is an excellent way to proceed if you don't have that gift to sniff out the hotspots by intuition or years of experience.
 
This last one is just a guy finding a small nugget with his new metal detector. A few more of these and the tool is paid for. That might be a 2/10 ounce nugget he has...
 
 
Pining 4 the Fjords
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How to mine and prospect for gold

Most of this information is probably known to the salty veterans reading this forum, but I found this 1971 USGS circular interesting reading-  published by the Bureau of Mines, it is a basic introduction to small-scale gold prospecting, recovery, how to stake a claim, etc. Good stuff, just stay away from the suggestion to use mercury ... not the best of ideas in this day and age. 

http://www.icmj2.com/BegCorner/USGSHowToMineForGold.htm

On another note, I have a stupid question-  can an individual prospect for and recover silver?  How would the techniques differ from gold hunting?  I ask because directly across the creek from my property is an old silver mine from the Civil War era that is now a park.  In fact, on my property (which used to be owned by the mining company) there is a hand-excavated cave tunnel through solid rock that extends about 30 feet into a rock outcrop where during the 1860's the silver mining company apparently dug out a vein of quartz, I assume to test for another potential silver mine.  It never panned out (pun intended) but obviously the stuff is here in some quantities...  I just have no idea if it is possible to recover for an individual. Can I pan my creek? 

Any suggestions or web sites would be greatly appreciated!

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You know your chances of a find sitting at home..

I have never done any of this myself. Friends have gone  a couple times for fun with a single sluice box. When asked how they did, i have only seen one small flake... but they want to go back again and again!

  Not watched the entire vid, but he has a nice setup!

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Way to go Dr J / The Prospector's Shack

yescool  What a great idea by yourself and probably something that's way overdue on the site.

I know where to come to get my gold/silver 'fix'  when I'm daydreaming of the old skills and lifestyle that so many before me have led through the ages in search of the motherlode.

tumblr_kw284gLX391qasjv5

World’s largest gold nugget - 630 lbs.

The Beyers and Holtermann nugget, the largest single piece of reef gold ever discovered in the world. The Beyers and Holtermann nugget was, strictly speaking, not a nugget, but what is called a matrix. Weighing in around 286 kilograms(about 630 pounds), it measured 150cm by 66cm, and was worth at least £12,000 at the time it was discovered, in October 1872. It was discovered by workers at the Star of Hope Gold Mining Co on Hawkins Hill, at the Hill End goldfields in New South Wales, Australia.
As to reef gold, gold sometimes appears as a "vein" included in rock, frequently quartz. In this case it was a quartz reef. By removing the rock around the vein, the gold included in that vein can be recovered in one piece. And that was the case with the Holtermann Nugget.

 

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An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and humility over 3 1/2 years ago. Once a pumper, always a pumper!
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Two Gun Tobin
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Now here's a thread that I can get in to

Gold flakesI've been gold mining in the Sierra Nevada mountains for just about 2 yrs now. I have a claim outside of Grass Valley Ca. with a couple of partners.  In fact I just went out Sunday to Bear River to do a little sluicing.  I've posted some of my pictures of my sluice, tools and results on some of the other threads.   Its a blast.  Even if I don't get rich doing it, I'm outside and getting a great workout.  Nothing like hauling 40lb buckets of concentrate to your sluice all day. sluice boxThe toolsBig Yellow Hat goes prospecting

I've even taken the Turds hat out with me a few times.  See you all out in the gold fields !

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Old photo of days gone by

I thought this fit in well with the theme here and especially so because the pic is from Arizona

Here's an enormous pic of that image that you'll want to check out.

http://www.rimrockpress.com/blog/images/_billy_ray_larger.jpg

What the heck is a 'bit'?  A piece of gold or old coinage lingo...I have no clue.

Its not Texas but a picture of Sheriff Hugh Porter (right) made in 1915 at the Log Saloon in Douglas, Arizona.

www.rimrockpress.com/blog/index.php?m=05&y=08&entry=entry08051...

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An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and humility over 3 1/2 years ago. Once a pumper, always a pumper!
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BagOfGold
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Dr Jerome...

Congratulations on starting this fine golden thread!...I've done a bit of gold panning in the past...but never found even a flake!...However...my money was made picking mushrooms & salal when I lived in the woods!...NO...not the hallucinogenic type...gourmet mushrooms...chanterelles & pines!!!...

Bag of Gold

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Where to find gold

I use to ask the geologist all kinds of questions and she was very patient with me.  She said first you look for a large formation of intrusive granite. if the formation coveres 20 sq. miles they call it a pluton and more than likely it has hard rock gold (the mother load)  Then you need to know if and how many times it was glaciated this is where free or placer gold comes from.  condition of placer nuggets will tell you how far the free gold has traveled.  What i know is alaskan gold.  Many places have been mapped with a magnetometer so the depth of the bedrock is known.  Gold is contantly moving towards the bedrock. First we would strip the peat and overburden from the cut.  When we started to encounter decayed granite rocks about the size of a softball (this was our signal rock) we would begin to push the paydirt to the wash plant. Any recovery system whether it is a washplant or a sliuce box in order for the riffles to work effectively thetable holding the riffles needs to have a decline of 12-13 degrees and needs a constant source of water.  The water pressure needs to be sufficient to slam the smaller flakes to the bottom of the riffle.  too little or too much water pressure and you lose gold. When you pan be aggressive, you can't hardly throw the crap(gold) out of your pan! Good Luck!

DPH  2 bits is 25 cents

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2 bits, 4bits, 6bits, a dollar, all for Turd stand up and holler

@DPH I believe 8 bits to a dollar.  perhaps left over from pieces of eight, what you called that little pie slices when you broke up the piece of eight.

a quarter is 2 bits..

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Dr Jerome
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Envious

Twogun,

Very nice set-up you have there.  Gives me something to dream about until I can get out west next spring. I have panned a bit on my own acreage in Ohio with no luck.

Pining,

Isn't most silver bonded in a mineral called Argentite? I thought native silver was rare. I'd be hesitant to go in an old shaft and start working it. I think one would need to be half a carpenter and re-do all the supports. But tempting! 

I was hoping that some real prospectors would wander in with basic knowledge for wannabees like me. Thanks!

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