Lucky Lundy


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these are a jury rigged contraption. building one is a feat the first time. then it gets easier if you have enough on the ball, should you have to build a second one. Some guy in Utah sells plans.

there may be a few old ones up for sale in the west. I made one once out of a steel barrel, with a chain drive and all, but basic material has changed. Look for a plastic 30 gallon barrel and cut windows out of the side, and place expanded metal over those, riveted or bolted on. at the top and bottom, cut nearly two-thirds of the ends out at the top, and 1/3 to 1/2 at the bottom, leaving enough left to form a baffle at the bottom (keeps the dirt from just flushing through, and rocks help the milling process), and the flange at the top will be useful to mount a belt pulley.

You'll want maybe a half inch to one inch per running foot of slope on the barrel, and a catch all tray below to get all that falls through the expanded metal screen, which will then fall into a single or double sluice. If you're running in the desert, you'll need to make a visqueen lined catch pond in order to recycle the silty water using a trash pump. A single sluice runs straight from the catch tray to the ground, while a double goes one way, and tails fall into a second tray going the other way before discharge.

On the contraption, you'll want to install a hose bib on top for rinsing, and a separate adjustable plumbing job for spraying the virgin dirt in the trommel. Some guys add an eccentric that causes the sluice trays to wobble from side to side, or perform some sort of vibration that helps to catch small gold (disputable). some also build some sort of small conveyor belt to carry the tails away from the trommel and working area. an engine mounted on the rig during use works the belt drive and wobblers, and the trash pump works the water gig.

A messy job, get good rubber boots, water proof glove and goggles,

( I had to go, wife called. If I don't get up and do what she wants, she gets out the stick. Sticks are definitely the preferred tool. But then again, she know all too well how and where to pinch the burro to get him going.)

one has to make the contraption modular. once things are put together, lubed and primed, then it's pick and shovel time. A trommel doesn't have to be a monstrous thing, I've seen one made out of freon containers, with an electric drive. If you run into Jack Roberson out in Meadview, he knows how to make those kind. good ones too!

Willard (now dead) had one of the old school trommels. If one keeps it simple enough, they're portable and don't take up much space, otherwise maybe you'll have to buy a cargo trailer for all of the parts and supporting tools, camping supplies, etc. Better yet is to make friends with some local in the gold area, and store it at their lot or yard; maybe let them use it from time to time. Take notes about what you'll want to change on the next one you build- there's always some better way, or so it seems; sometimes not.

last word, if it gives you fits, breaks a lot, works but requires a lot of maintenance, round up one of your less favorite associates and get him going with gold fever, and then donate the jury rigged deal to him, no strings attached. He'll be so busy keeping it working that he won't have time nor energy to jerk around with you. (also works with clunker cars and trucks- gifts can be a heckuva payback!

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