It's been a long while since I've posted on this blog, so I'm having to re-learn some things.
I'm not going to regale you with empty-headed political parrotry. If you're hungry for that you'll have to get it on another blog or three, or on the threads.
Instead, I'm going to tell you about a project that's going on in my yard and my shop.
I'm feeling a bit enthused about a particular canyon. I'm anxious to work it, but it's waterless. I lost most of my half-ownership of a lot of equipment, including a couple of drywashers when Mel got whacked, so I'm having to improvise.
Working a canyon without water requires some specialized tools if a person's not going to spend all his time carrying samples somewhere water's available. Usually the best tool is a backpacker drywasher.
However, it requires a leaf-blower to provide air, which I don't wish to purchase. Besides, drywashers blow dirt from hell to breakfast, fill the eyes with grit, and make a person want a shower when the day's done, along with some clothing roughly the same weight as went in with him.
So, after thinking about it a while I decided to try something I don't believe has ever been tried for desert work. A vibrator/separator table, portable, built mostly from junk I have around here not being used.
The first thing a person needs working dirt looking for gold is something with riffles. There has to be a series of dams to inhibit the movement of the heavier material once the lighter stuff's separated. I'm using this old utility shelf. The side without mud-dobber nests.
Here's the first step toward having an experimental portable vibrator table.
I've already sawed the top off this nylon drum. I'll cut another strip to make a bottom for the riffle box.
Since there's no water, no blowing air, a lot of vibration's going to be required to separate the heavier material (mineral) from the light stuff (dirt and gravel). What I have available that's portable, high RPM is a weed-eater. I've tested it enough to cause me to believe just cutting off one of the nylon cords will throw it off balance enough to create plenty of agitation when the engine's idling.
The thing will require a collapsing, light, cheap stand. It needs to assemble easily, break down fast, and be easily transportable.
I used these old camp chair frames. It will take a bit of messing with it, but I think they'll be fine.
This thing will work a bit like a rocker box, rocking fore to aft while vibrating to spill off the lighter material. I'll be putting a grizzley at the high end to classify and feed the material across the box, but I might also put a classifier across the top of the riffle box just to allow material to be fed into it directly by shovel.
This is as far as I've gotten, thus far. The bottom of the riffle-box needs to be relatively easy to remove, so I'm dreaming up ideas for a way to attach it with homespun key-clips. Other odds and ends need to be completed and experimented with, including a way to cover the motor assembly to keep dirt out of the chicken noodle soup inside it, and keep dirt out of the air intake.
If anyone's interested, when it's done I'll post pics of the final product, along with some showing it in operation.
I'll be carrying it into the canyons on a stretcher/gurney thing I picked up at a flea market for a couple of bucks. It's designed for man-handling dead deer and elk out of the wild.... has a couple of handles and a bicycle wheel to help a person who's feeling the years keep from having to carry so much weight.