The Keene Sluice Box Review
The Keene Sluice Box was my next step up in my prospecting experience. Having a sluice box saves lots of time. I’m retired, so I havea lot of time, don’t get me wrong, I love using my gold pan alongside a nice stream, enjoying the peace and quiet and the fresh air. The advantage of a sluice box is that you can let it do your panning for you while you dig or dredge more material. It’s almost like having a partner with you in your prospecting venture. I normally use my Keene Sluice while I’m dredging with my Gold-N-Sand hand dredge (see review here), letting it sort through material that I’ve gathered earlier.
Please, remember to keep track of the locations where you gathered the material. You’ll never forgive yourself if your sluice uncovers some nice nuggets and you can’t remember exactly where you gathered the material that it came from.Using a rock to hold your sluice in the stream
The Keene Sluice Box is made of high quality material and it’s very durable. I’ve used mine for five years and it still looks brand new. When you use a sluice box, it’s very important to set it up correctly. Locate a place in the stream where the water flows at a fairly swift pace and where it’s not too deep. The general rule of thumb for setting it up it to have 1 inch of slope for every 1 foot in length. In other words, if your sluice box is 4 feet long, you want the bottom of your sluice box to be 4 inches lower than the top when it’s in the stream. I usually find a heavy flat rock to put across it to hold it from moving. It’s no fun chasing your sluice box down the stream, or going back to it with a bucket of material and find it missing.
The opening to your sluice box should be about 1/2 inch below water, and the bottom should not be under water at all. The water should flow out the bottom and spill off the end. The water entering the sluice should be flowing fast enough to create a diamond shape pointing toward the center the black matting. Test your set up by adding some sand at the top, and watch the action of the water. The material at the bottom of each riffle should be dancing or bouncing around. This action will allow “concentrates” to gather there, and it will flush out the lighter material out the bottom of your sluice and back into the stream.
You should use a classifier to remove large rocks from your material before adding it to your Keene Sluice Box. 1/4 inch screen is the best. If you just dump shovelfuls of dirt into it, the large rocks can disrupt the flow over the riffles and dislodge some of your gold. You’ve done a lot of work filling those buckets, take a few more minutes to ensure that your efforts are rewarded. The material you add should be WET, not dry! This is very important! If you add dry material, the flow of water could just wash it right out of the bottom. Not good!
Here is a short video showing you how to set your sluice box: The only thing I don’t like about his set up is the bottom of the sluice being under water. I would raise it up a little higher. The idea is to not let any water to come in over the edge, or to swirl back up into the sluice from the bottom.
I hope that I’ve explained this well enough to get you off to a good start. Just remember that practice makes perfect. There are many video’s on youtube that you can watch, but be aware that not all of them are showing you the right way. If you see some where the are dumping shovelfuls of material in with big boulders bouncing down the sluice and out the bottom, chances are good that the are losing gold.
I hope that you decide on purchasing the Keene Sluice Box. There are many others out there to chose from, but it is my number one pick.
Amazon.com Price: $137.50 + $15.29 shipping
Description: This RDH brand sluice box size is 48″L x 10″W with 3 inch high sides, and weighs about 12 pounds. This Sluice Box is made out of strong .080 gauge 5052 aircraft aluminum, which is light weight and aluminum makes it easier to use a magnet to remove the black sand build up. The unique elongated 45 degree z-riffles are great for trapping gold. The riffle cage is also aluminum. Up front ribbed matting for fast gold ID and down below is expanded metal over ribbed miner’s carpet. The expanded metal helps keeps the gold in the box and prevents the rocks from knocking it loose. Aluminum riffle and box will stand up to many years of use!