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New Keene ultra mini box

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New Keene ultra mini box

Postby prospectinggeologist » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:28 pm

Hey everyone,

Wanted to see if anyone on here has seen the new sluice box that keene is now putting on all their 4 inch ultra minis. It looks like a similar design to what Dave McCraken was putting on his Pro-Mack dredges back when he was still producing them.

I'm currently turning a keene 3 inch into a 4 inch ultra mini for small stream sampling. I'm starting to build the box and may emulate this new keene setup.

What do you guys think of it. Its on there facebook page. and ive posted pics below.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby sanman » Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:57 pm

Several people on this forum have been doing similar mods for quite some time ... That woven wire needs to be replaced with punch plates...
Last edited by sanman on Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby TRJ » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:20 pm

Very interesting. I am especially interested as that is the dredge I have. I mainly dredge in Ohio where it is fine glacial gold and I've been looking for mods to help me catch that size gold.

This gentleman went a totally different way with his mini 4". http://c17a.forumotion.com/t35-randy-s- ... e-box-mods

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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby prospectinggeologist » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:29 pm

Sanman -

I have a whole sheet of 3/8" punch plate 40% open that I intend to use. All thanks to reading old threads on here.

TRJ -
Look up pictures of Pro-Mack Dredges as well as videos. His dredges have a similar setup and his new ones use a double screen classification system. There should be some youtube videos of this. It may be too heavy for your dredge though. I also believe that a sump setup like the one in the link you posted would also be too heavy for the ultra mini. Ive built and messed around with a sump setup and pushed the back end of my proline 4 pretty far down in the water. Ill post a few pictures.

Your best option for ohio gold would possibly be to build a box that is completely screened over with no large exposed riffles. Since i doubt what you get in ohio will ever be bigger then 3/8". Just a thought.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby sanman » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:49 pm

A modified crash box.....GOOD FOR YOU...I love a crash box,.. IMHO it's the only way to go...screw 4+ feet ramp hanging out the back end of any dredge, I'll never do it again...
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby Dave_Pa » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:06 am

What's the reason for letting it hang out that far?
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby prospectinggeologist » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:30 am

Sanman -

Thanks! Its what I had on hand and it worked well. Still need to make a better mounting system for everything. The secondary box is also a place I believe where using something like gold hog matting is applicable. I will say I still prefer a jetflare type dredge over a crashbox since most places I run are shallow water and the crash box type would need deeper pools. But both have there place.

Dave_PA -

The part that hangs out is the sump. It needs too be able to catch the majority of -6 mesh material that is coming out of the main proline box. If it were shorter I don't believe it would do that as well.



Part of my plan with this setup is to be able to use it as a testbed for sluice design alterations, without having to setup a closed system test pond. The ratio of gold caught in the main sluice to that of the side sluice can be used to determine if the alterations to the main sluice increased or decreased the recovery. The side sluice would always be run at the same the setup. It makes it so you can do production dredging yet still have quantitative data on sluice modifications.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby Darth Placer » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:31 pm

I made it out to Bills Pure Gold in Ohio last season.. the gold there was more pepper flakes then fines. Good stuff!!!

prospectinggeologist I like that idea of running that smaller setup to process the fines further... slower flow, less turbulent environment.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby prospectinggeologist » Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:16 pm

Darth Placer -

I figure it should catch most all of what the main box looses. Still need to refine the setup. Need to build a better mount for both the side sluice and the sump. The inch and half powerjet that powers the side sluice worked well but I need to rebuild the second y diverter off of the pump it kinda interfered with a couple of things. I will say it does add a decent amount of extra equipment and hoses that you have to carry with you. Ill be playing with and testing it more this coming summer.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby Prospector69 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:09 am

Although I'm not a dredger yet, I may have to go that route due to 66 yrs behind me. I looked a the mini and found one thing that I didn't like. The woven wire looks good up to the point where it dumps oversized material back into the sluice. The high banker I helped man at a gathering had a punch plate that went all the way to the end of the sluice. Of course we had to go back and look at the tailings but at least they were out of the sluice.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby prospectinggeologist » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:19 am

Prospector69 -

I would caution against using a sluice box that is completely screen over in Virginia. Since there is the potential for bigger nuggets and specimen pieces in VA a sluice needs at least some large exposed riffles to catch them. And with the amount of material a dredge will run in a day it is not very feasible to go back through the tailings to search for larger nuggets.

I know that for me there are a number of instances where if my box was completely screened over I would have lost a number of large nuggets 3+ grams and one beautiful specimen piece that was hanging out near the last riffle at the end of the box.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby TRJ » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:36 pm

Prospectinggeogolist,

I think you misunderstand what the gentleman in the link I posted did to his ultra mini. He put in a longer (7') sluice that has all vortex matting. After he did that, he seems to run it flat at almost full throttle. He's after the fine gold and seems to be able to get it this way.

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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby prospectinggeologist » Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:20 am

TRJ -

You are correct. I think ive also seen a post of his where he messed around with a sump as well, and I confused the two. Definitely like his mod though, if all I ever got was fine gold I would do the same.
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Re: New Keene ultra mini box

Postby shack » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:11 am

The primary key to all fantastic gold recovery systems is classification. Screening down has been proven to be the best way to recovery higher percentages of fine gold. You'll notice that in all larger wash plants (not dredges) that raw material is screened down two or three times before the material enters the recovery systems. Reducing material going into the sluice down to just 1" drastically improves recovery, and in most cases the larger expanded, or grating, is used at a fairly steep angle over a smooth and uninterrupted plane of water.

The problem with dredges, especially the big ones, is that the recovery systems are required to process very, very large material. The sluice on a 5" dredge needs run at speeds with enough force to push softball-sized rocks through the recovery system. They put a punch plate at the top of the dredge sluices so that small gold has a chance to drop out of the flow and stick in the top. This way the gold is not being forced to enter the lower portion of the sluice where it competes with very large material.

Just remember that although the top of the sluice (punch plate area) looks smooth and slower, the water is actually running at the same speed through the entire sluice. The flair does help slow material down before it enters the sluice. It is deceiving and looks slower only because some of the water is under the plate, and some is above the plate. Whatever riffle system you put at the top of the dredge needs to be aggressive enough to trap that gold and give it a place to hide. It needs to retain the gold so that it isn't forced lower in the sluice where larger material is being processed.

People always say "I found no gold in my lower sluice, so the top is catching all the fines". That is not an accurate statement nor does it prove that your system is running correctly. I learned this the hard way some years ago, a very hard less that cost me dearly. Fine gold isn't going to be captured in the lower portion of a larger dredge sluice because fine gold doesn't stand a chance in that environment.

Vortex matting is not exactly an aggressive type of top mat for processing raw material. It is good for small material (1/2" and less) and concentrates already screened, but it doesn't allow gold to use its mass and displace. It "catches" gold.

What I have found to be very effective in areas where there is alot of fine gold and very little chance of nuggets:
1. Slow down on the nozzle.
2. Be more selective with what is going up the nozzle. Treat the 4" dredge as if it were a 2" dredge (send smaller stuff up the hose).
3. Use 3/8" perforated punch plate and extend that plate further down the sluice. 4' sluice should use a 2' punch plate, maybe even longer.
4. Run a little steeper angle than usual.
5. Use something more aggressive under the punch plate. Expanded over carpet, moss or even black mat seems to be very good.

It's a fine dial to make because you are running a bit slower, but you CAN run at fewer RPMs if you don't introduce large material into your system. All dredges can catch a very high percentage of fine gold. Fine gold loss is not the dredges fault, it's the operators fault.
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