As you can see from my previous video blogging I broke down and bought a dredge kit. It is the Jobe 1.5 inch dredge with a 2.5 hp pump. I had to get the pump and dredge separate because the pumps were back ordered. Thank goodness for Ebay and thank goodness there were a few pumps floating around out there. The dredge came with all the hoses and fittings and even the suction nozzle.The whole outfit ran about 675 dollars shipping included on the pump but not the sluice. In the videos I am going to post today you get to see me trying to figure out how to run the dredge correctly.
I am pretty comfortable with getting the sluice part of it set right. I just watch to see what my material is doing and adjust the angle or pump flow accordingly. The tricky part is maintaining the right proportions of gravel sand and water when using the suction nozzle. If the slurry you are pumping up your hose gets to thick the rocks will clog you up. If it is to thin your not efficiently moving material so its kind of a double whammy. I decided to just deal with the clogs head on. I found that a short 1/2 inch piece of pvc pipe works well for nozzle clogs. Rocks work well for hose clogs. The hose is clear so you are actually able to see where the show stopper is. Take a rock and beat the clog to death. Header box clogs are dealt with by using the same pvc pipe and ramming it through the factory installed plug hole in the front. Unfortunately clogs are the problems you acquire when you give up digging and classifying so you just have to deal with it and try to watch the material you are running.
So what do you do when you loose suction and can't find a clog? When it happened to me I looked down inside my suction nozzle with the pump off and saw that a nickle sized rock was lodged in the vent hole where the high pressure water shoots out. I have been meaning to bring a coat hanger with me to get those but for now I have been using a stick with a hook end. That nickle sized rock issue also caused me problems one day when I was trying to prime the pump. In other words the pump wont prime with a pebble in the suction nozzles orifice
In a nutshell. If you can deal with the clogs dredging for gold is great fun. Here in Ohio it will take me about 200 years to pay for the dredge with gold so I admit that it may be a bit of overkill but around here it's more about the hunt than the haul and I like shiny toys. Enjoy the videos!