Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

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Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by Admin on Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:30 am

Hey Gold Adventurers...

I used to own the standard, big Keene 4 inch dredge with 4 pontoons and big 48 inch triple stage sluice box.  Sold it when I moved from Georgia to Colorado.

Now have a Keene 4 inch Ultra Mini dredge with air......smaller, easier for 1 man to operate, move.  Trouble is the sluice box is designed for big gold, is only 40 inches long and single stage.

To better catch the gold here in Kolorado , I have completely modified the sluice box for the fine, fine flood gold we have here on the Arkansas River...

I took out the factory everything....riffles, mats, screens.  Then extended the box, installed nothing but Vortex-type matting with a 1 foot section of Gold Hog UR mat under the flair.  I made a rock screen full length to keep all the rocks bigger than 1/2 inch tumbling out the back, off the matting.  Works absolutely GREAT separating the flood gold from all the heavy black sand!












Here's my dredge in action.  John & I ended up with 8.65 grams, including 1 nice picker, in 8 hours of nozzle time.....one cleanup every hour:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNFeeLqQrNE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d2Bwl6lhhM

Break, break...........

Well...............totally reconfiguring my Keene ultra mini 4 incher's sluice box has worked out EXCEEDINGLY well...

Mod 1 was as described and shown above.  Added 2 feet, nothing but Vortex-type conveyor belt matting with 1 foot of GH UR mat under the flair.  This gave me 64 inches or 5.3 feet total length.  I run it for 1 hour clean up to keep the matting clean.  Works GREAT!  

So, after John & I running it on his claim 5 & 6 April.............and having GREAT success, I decided to do a Mod 2.

Mod 2 was to prep for John's return in late August and we'd dredge for about 10 days together on his claim...

I figured that if a 2 foot extension was good, a new 4 foot extension would be BETTER.  Wink   This would give me just over 7 feet of sluice box.  So, I got a new piece of aluminum sheet, had it bent, got an 8 foot section of Vortex matting, reworked the sluice box again...

Pics of the Monster "Long Tom" box I created are here:











O.K.  In theory bigger and longer is better...  BUT, in practice on the Ark I discovered the following:

1).  Where I normally ran about 3/4 throttle on my 6.5 HP engine to comfortably keep the rocks tumbling thru and out the back of the sluice box, here with the extra 2 feet I had to run FULL throttle to try and get enough water flow.  I discovered that even with a buddy tending the box, to keep the rocks from slowing down and piling up and trying to sink the dredge from the rear of the sluice box, the enormous amounts of heavy black sand in this gold bearing material would "crawl" so slowly towards the back I'd have to just let the dredge run, sucking nothing but water, to try and keep the matting open, clean.  This really slowed down moving material...

2).  After the first day's frustrations, I went home got all the "old" Mod 1 stuff and reconfigured the sluice back to Mod 1 status there on the Ark.  Guess what?  It went back to working perfectly!  So, I kept the Mod 1 configuration for the rest of the 8 days dredging ops.  Worked great!  Very Happy

3).  This year me, John & his buddy Bill worked his claim for about 9 dredge days.  I had a buddy from C. Springs, Ron, up for 3 days helping me.  We took turns on the nozzle, pitching rocks, tending the box and sharing the "fun".  These were Days 2, 3 & 4.  We got 8 grams those 3 days....so a 50/50 split of 4 grams each.  

Overall, for my 9 days I put in a total of 31.5 hours on the nozzle..........ended up with a total of 21.92 grams of fine flood gold.  The Chief earned 4 grams, so my personal total was 17.92 grams.

Here's a bunch of pics of our dredging "adventure" and my panned out gold take by day.  The pennies are numbered by day.  Then, a total by screened size at the end:

Here's me converting the 4 foot extension back to the first 2 foot extension:



An old miner's cabin on the claim:


Yours truly at end of day cleanup:


Me, Bill and John Gold Cubing our cons at end of day:


Pics of each day's dredge take from my dredge:










Day # 9.  A short day.  Only dredged about 2 hrs in a new spot.  Not very good:


Total gold screened into 3 sizes...  75 to 80% was -50 mesh:


Here's a compilation video I posted on YouTube showing the 21.92 grams all combined on my scales:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReXXodN8mRQ


So, I'd call all that "hard fun" a big success!  Wink

Randy  "C-17A"  Smile
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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by OKJohn on Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:29 pm

Awesome memories Randy!  So glad you are willing to write it all down.  Someday we will enjoy reading these summaries and remembering the days were were still young enough to drag a dredge around the river and have "hard fun".

OKJohn

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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by Admin on Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:51 pm

Hey John,

WELCOME to the "new" GA Forum!!!!! Very Happy

Yep, we did what we could do... Still waiting to see what you and Bill cleanup, end up with...

I DEFINITELY think this new, 2 foot extension & Vortex-type mat & screening setup is WAY better than the standard Keene setup for the fine, fine gold here.

Can't wait to reconfigure my box for pickers & bigger gold for our suction dredging over on the San Juan River next August... I have a bunch of slabs of different Gold Hog matting in the shop. Will probably end up contacting Doc at Gold Hog and see what he suggests...

I may be almost 56, BUT I am still ready, willing & able to drag a dredge, camp in a tent, live out of a cooler.......to create a great "Gold Adventures" memory, find some wild gold! Wink

Snow still on the ground here............cold. No Elks in sight, yet.

I sent you a Christmas gift in the mail today. Enjoy. Smile

Plz keep reviewing, posting...

Randy "C-17A" Smile
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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by JOHNIFLY on Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:47 pm

Man I had a great time with you and John. I really enjoyed that trip and experience whit the both of you. I'm like you two guys I enjoy camping myself. Tent or what ever. I'm planning on trading my aircraft trailer in for a new camper to bring up to Colorado and leave it so we can just come up and stay when ever we want not have to pay a 175.00 a night motel.


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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by JOHNIFLY on Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:00 pm

What a great dredge setup you have here's a little video of it in action.


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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:33 pm

John,

Thanks for posting this action video!

I seldom get many "action" pics or videos of me.............as I am the one usually trying to both prospect, mine AND work a camera.  Always a view or shot with ME behind the view finder.  Ha.  

We used my dredge again here on the Ark 8, 9 & 10 April.  Bill & John Hart & I "team dredged" for 2 1/2 days.  We each got some cons for all our hard fun".  Wink

Check out the Trip Report and videos here on the Forum under Western Gold States.

That 2 foot extension on my Keene ultra mini 4-incher is still the flood gold bomb! I can run it at 3/4 throttle, get a very smooth flow, great clearing.  I cleanup every hour.

Sadly, my 4 foot extension was just too much, too long.  Even at full-throttle, not enough water flow to keep the Vortex matting clean of black sand and enough water velocity to keep pushing the rocks out.  Oh well...  It was worth a try.  IF had a 5 incher and bigger engine/water pump, THEN we'd have had 7 feet of fine flood gold gettin' box instead of the 5 feet I have now.

Randy  C-17A   Smile

P.S. A new camper would be GREAT! Yep. Camp for almost free, be by the river, hear the rushing water...... Nice.
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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by TRJ on Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:45 pm

Randy,

Have you made any further modifications to your mini 4"? I have one and I am having the same problems with blowing out fine gold that you were so I am interested in any new information you may have.

Also, where is a good source of vortex matting if you happen to know of one.

Thanks,

Tony

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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by Admin on Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:43 pm

TRJ,

Thanks for looking...

I ended up going back to the longer "Long Tom" 7 foot sluice box with Vortex matting only front to back. I have a 1 foot extra piece of Vortex directly under the flair to help keep the 7 foot section wedged in. I only run the factory 1/2 inch grizzly directly under the flair dump in.

also took off the side rails I put in and removed the 3/4 inch rock screens placed 1 1/2 inches above the Vortex.

I found out the rock screens were impeding the water flow too much, causing black sand to build up on the Vortex and clog it/sink the box into the water as it was so heavy.

Here's a video showing my latest 4 inch setup that I like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lxi4K-tG7E&t=26s

Vortex is simply industrial conveyor belt material. Several industrial suppliers with very good pricing and shipping rates. Check this one out:

http://www.globalindustrial.com/g/motors/power-transmission-belts/conveyor-belts/industrial-conveyor-belts

Or this one:

https://www.mscdirect.com/browse/Motion-Control-Fluid-Power/Chains-Belts-Pulleys-Sprockets/Belts-Accessories?navid=12104173

2 ply should be fine. No need for 3 ply belting. Just be sure of the width, length and style before ordering.

HTH,

Randy C-17A Smile
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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by TRJ on Tue Oct 17, 2017 6:11 pm

Randy,

Thank you for the prompt reply. It is winter now so I have time to plan and scheme! However, it seems questions keep popping up in my mind. I'm going to fire away with them and if you feel like answering that would be great.

It looks like your extension has higher sides than the bottom end of the original sluice. What height would you recommend for the sides of the extension? I ask this because the bottom end of my sluice when I am running is already below water level but then again, I'm trying to run at a 1/12 pitch.

That leads to my next question, do you know what angle is working best with your new setup? This summer I actually riveted a nice level to the side of my sluice so that I could experiment with different angles and be sure of the angle at which I was running.

As for the vortex matting, you said: "Just be sure of the width, length and style before ordering."  I like the looks of the blue one in 9/32nds at this website http://www.globalindustrial.com/g/motors/power-transmission-belts/conveyor-belts/industrial-conveyor-belts. Does that look like the correct style of belt?  I like the blue because I'm hoping it would let me spot and gold a little easier.

Thanks again for the reply.  Those pictures are beautiful, I'm hoping to get out west one day myself.

Tony

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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by Admin on Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:07 pm

Tony,

All visual appearances aside, the extension I made is basically the same height as the original box. I think about 3 inches. Just make it the same height as your factory box.

If you think you will run a lot of pitch/need a lot of pitch, maybe make the sides an additional 1 inch higher. I try to run my box as level as possible and up speed the engine/water pump to flow enough water to keep the box/matting clean.

Angle? Like I said I try to run as level as possible and still run "clean". I am normally all the way forward with the box in the frame.

It appears that manufacturers make matting in black, blue, white and other colors. I am just used to the standard black. I think color has no bearing at all on function. It's pretty easy to look at a section of conveyor belt and "see" if it's the Vortex named style.

I know different industrial suppliers on the web, and you should do some more Googling on your own, sell this material in different plys, different widths and normally by the foot. I bought a piece that was 8 feet long and 18 inches wide and hand cut it down to 16 inches wide and 7 feet long for my 4-incher. Big means it will ALWAYS fit with trimming. Too small and you're screwed.

FWIW, I actually bought another piece of "vortex" matting off a supplier and what they sent me was slightly different in texture, BUT it works just as good, or maybe even a little better, so I am happy. I ended up cutting/trimming and put that in my 2 1/2 incher with the same Long Tom mod.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb8nmJqA7dk

Both work GREAT for super fine Arkansas River flood gold and endless amounts of black sand...

Randy C-17A Smile

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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by TRJ on Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:13 pm

I am full of questions.  If I were to buy the usual 3-stage sluice to you think it would fit in the mini?  Would that work better if it did fit?

Tony

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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

Post by Admin on Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:18 pm

Tony,

3-stage in a mini? Don't do it... Out here with the insane black sands, a 3 stage chokes too much.

A Long Tom with Vortex works way better and is lighter and easier to clean up too.

Randy C-17A Smile
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Re: Randy's Keene Ultra Mini 4 Inch Dredge Sluice Box Mods

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