Drywashing - Dry Vac Question(s)


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Hey Guys,

   I know there are some expert drywasher/dry vac gold prospectors out there.  I have (2) Echo 2 stroke engines on 5 gallon bucket dry-vacs and one corded new Rigid (pictured below).  I know on the Echo systems, they blow a ton of dust out one side, but if I wanted to use the corded Rigid Dry Vac in the field with a small Generator, do I need to keep the big air filter in it?  Reason I'm asking, one person told me I needed to remove it, so I started questioning myself about it. 

Any recommendations on a small portable generator that would power this ok?  I probably just need something to power the vac, trying to stay as lightweight as possible. 

I guess either way, you're dragging fuel into the field .....

Thought about dragging my Keene 140 Drywasher, Generator and Dry Vac into the field and give it a whirl. 

 

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Dewalt makes some decent 20 volt lithium battery powered vacuums. If you use the DeWalt tool system like I do, then you have a bunch of batteries. You can get a smaller battery vacuum and just empty it more often. They are very lightweight as well amd then you don't have to deal with fuel.

Edited by matt
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Hey Rob, I have an Echo vac setup on  a 5 gallon bucket, and the only time that it would ever blow out excessive amounts of dust is when the vac'd- materials inside the bucket accumulated so much (around the height of the exhaust-outlet) that it would "then" blow dust out.  That's when I would know it was time to dump the bucket into other buckets (to be panned out later).  ......Otherwise, there was very little dust being blown out.  I usually could get away with about a half-to 3/4  of a 5-gal bucket's worth of material before I needed to dump it. 

The last spot that I used my Echo vac I had to pack it in about a 1/2 mile (the motor-top fit into a backpack, and it wasn't a problem at all), just filled the tank on the vac at home and that ran me most of a day running;.. I skimmed-off the area down to within 1" of bedrock and then vac'd that 1" of material, and scraped and brushed all bedrock cracks, and crevices.  I had also (at the same time) brought in empty plastic ice cream containers that have the tote-handles (and lids) to use to pour the vac'd materials in.  About 8-10 fit nicely within the 5-gallon bucket on the trip in.  So by the time I had filled those ice cream containers, "I," (doing this venture by myself) carried one full ice cream-container in each hand heading back out, and staged the containers along the way back to my pickup.  Eventually, after a number of trips I got all the vac'd materials, and my vac and hand tools back to the pickup.  If you are going to be hauling in a generator just to power a corded vac, that seems like more work and stuff to haul in that may not be necessary????????? "IMO."   Gary   

 

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Hey Guys,

   Thanks for all the great comments.  It's been a long time since I really drywashed and used a dry vac to any extent.  I have handfuls of washes were friends and I found a lot of nuggets, but never tried drywashing them.   I guess our theory was if we spent another day or two searching virgin areas, the rewards if we found nuggets always seemed to outweigh the time/effort to drywash a location.  

Gary - Yes, I do remember now the only time my Echo Bucket system blew dirt was when it was full, letting you know it's time to change the bucket.  Thanks for the info, that reminded me of that and I do remember.  

Adam - Agree, I thought if you were out sucking up gravel, the filter that is mounted inside would have to be removed.  

Matt - I might give a smaller battery powered unit a try before hauling in the bigger stuff.  I could always use a smaller vac around the shop and I have a bunch of Dewalt Power Tools, so maybe I could get lucky and they are the same size.  

On another note, years ago when a few friends and I attempted to work a few washes where we found hundreds of nuggets, the drywashing was very piss poor.  I actually found this in a few locations, spots we thought we would clean house.  Anyone else experience this before?

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2 hours ago, adam said:

Yup !

I Agree Rob,.....I have actually only found 3-separate washes (roughly in the same location, and having roughly the same bedrock-type) that where worth using my vac on.  While all of my other washes had "only" pickers and larger-detectable-nuggets,....."Strange!!".....  What appeared to me to be unique and/or different about these 2-washes (compared to the others) was that when I got down on my hands and knees to "eyeball" the cracks and crevices real close in the exposed bedrock (stretches / areas) I could (without difficulty) visually-see small accumulations of very fine, flat and even-wire gold.  At various times, (before I decided to vac those washes) and after good heavy monsoon rains I would take a pair of tweezers with me and just pluck the gold out from between any newly-exposed bedrock.  Now that was fun.......Gary    

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4 hours ago, adam said:

Yup !

 

15 hours ago, nuggethunting said:

  

On another note, years ago when a few friends and I attempted to work a few washes where we found hundreds of nuggets, the drywashing was very piss poor.  I actually found this in a few locations, spots we thought we would clean house.  Anyone else experience this before?

Over time the lighter stuff >fines and what ever< washed away and the heavier stuff >nuggets< moved very little or just stayed put :) Mike C...:ph34r:

Edited by GPX Power
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Hey Guys,

   Well at least I wasn't the only one that experienced very little drywashable gold in some washes/gulches/ravines.  

GPX Power - I would agree with what you said, but one wash I found back in the mid 90's has hundreds of small gold nuggets from about a grain to 12-15 grains being the biggest.   Some of the inside bends were so rich in small gold nuggets, I had to crawl around on my hands and knees plucking them from the schist cracks.  

I attempted to vac and drywash this spot with very disappointing results.  I thought due to the small gold and nuggets it would be rich in fines, flakes and 1-2 grainers too deep for my detector at the time.  

Does anyone have a spot where I could just get an ounce a day ....?  :blink:

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