A friend has restored an old suitcase dredge and wanted to give it a test drive on the claim. For those of you curious about these suitcase dredges of yesteryears, a couple short clips of it in action…
Looks hard on the back. What size motor & pump & suction nozzle? Did he get any gold?
Hard on the back… I prefer the lying down in the water position myself, but I think he was trying to stay a bit warmer.
5" nozzle, motor and pump I’m not sure about but they’re about 35 - 40 years old ish.
He got a few flakes of gold, but I don’t think he was in the best spot… bedrock was a bit smooth when I took a look under the water after he’d had a play.
Hi Gavin, Thanks for that. I prefer to lay out too to save the back. As you would have seen those pics of my wee play on a friends claim the water was very shallow & didn’t warrant laying down & was only suitable for a suction nozzle. My back paid the price. Took a few days to get over it. Enjoyed it though as the weather was good & the water wasn’t cold & managed a bit of colour. Even the company I had with me wasnt bad.
Classic example of why they didnt get all the gold 40 years ago , good to see one running though i can see the appeal being so portable , would the box not be better sitting underwater ?
I’d forgot that they were supposed to be underwater. I wonder how much difference it would make.
My mate @PablosGold has tweaked the dredge… new motor, longer 6" hose on the front. I was impressed by the amount of material it could shift! The 2 of us churned through quite some ground but only got just over 8 grams for the effort over a few days.
It’s got a cool riffle setup inside. Wish I’d taken a few photos! Was catching very fine gold and black sand… more fine stuff than I ever seemed to recover with my standard 4" Keene (but that could be operator error ).
Wish I’d thought to do this before we went bush - Testing Gold Recovery of Dredge
Cant beat them in gorgy nugget country.Much easier to transport,stash out of the way in a hurry if weather turns.Motor dosnt need to be revving out as unit is completely submerged it dosnt need the power to pull the water up to a floating box. Can move a lot of material. They say they dont catch all the gold,but they catch the majority if setup right and use it carefully when on bottom,I try to spot the nuggets and snipe at that point rather than put it up the nozzle. They need good ponding to work well and to be able to float so that cuts down on wrestling the thing around.Id love to develop a newer version with todays tech! Iv been using a 6" one where I am now and it easily doubles the ground I was getting through with my 4",its nuggety country,little fines and theres not a lot of difference in the fines recovery I reckon. Big fan!
Absolutely agree Gold Standard,
I have had many types of dredges and overall i believe the pros far outway the cons when it comes to the suitcase dredge for that mentioned above and as long as you feed them right and have proper floation to keep them level I have found very minimal losses to no losses in my tailings… im not in super fine gold country…
I have a few 6" inch suitcase dredge setups and a wee small 4" dredge for the small low flow creeks
Some nice little ships there Tussockgold… do you find the flexy hose works well? Mine has a straight solid hose and I was thinking of changing so I could get some more angles…
Definitely a game changer for me gold standard… huge improvement… i found i needed to use a bungy cord behind the dredge tied off to a rock as i found the dredge would ride up river on me and bend the hose easily… few places in Dunedin, Russets / or HCD I know stock it or can get it in easily enough…
Hey mate, yes the bungy cord! Great idea…my one can act the same way way sometimes as its like a jet boat if Iv got no current holding her back haha, Il try that trick. Iv got a piece of flexy hose I might try out on the next trip, I definitely think itd get me into a few more areas…Cheers👍
Hi thought this might be of interest to you guys here are some old pictures of a suitcase dredge and just some of its spoils, the dish with two piles was from 4hrs in the water, was a good spot(central otago)pitty can’t get back in there…the suitcase dredge was designed by Prof Bill Heinz – a professor of mining at Canterbury University, the plans for the dredge came from him in 1966. It was modified so the base with the riffles could be unclipped. It worked very well to recover gold, other than the normal hiccups:wink:rocks getting stuck in nozzle, hoses blowing off, motor pull cord snapping etc etc… it is still alive and in working order patiently waiting for the next good gold slurping spot:sunglasses:
Thanks for sharing that. Some beautiful gold recovered there!
Heres my modern version of the suitcase. It takes on the issue with having to run them perfectly flat side to side. Inside the tube are riffles shaped up the sides of the tube. Can either run it with the sump system or put a 3rd tray on instead. Currently working on a new float system to take the motors for larger water areas of the claim. And have gone to a single jet for the nozzle as I needed it return that one to a hose tip for my big surface dredge.
I run the sump with a p90 and the unit with a hp400.
Awesome post! Do you know what brand the pump is on this machine?I have the same model on my dredge.Cheers
Looks like a Swim Joy pump.
Some more info on the suitcase dredge or ‘dredger’ designed by W.F.Heinz (Prof Bill Heinz). Scans taken from his book Prospecting For Gold.
That looks like a back breaking way to operate it.
Thank you JW, any idea as to whether I could still source parts for one? The flange on the shaft started leaking on my last trip out… Cheers