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Newletter Archive > August 2012 - Sticker Shock and Copper Pan Bird Bath

August 2012 - Sticker Shock

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Sticker Shock, New Vs. Used - Buying a Dredge Part 2


Last month we talked about size considerations when buying a dredge. This month we'll look at cost.

Cost is a complicated issue. You can find a cheap, used dredge on Craigslist and definitely save some money. I got my first highbanker/dredge off eBay. Unfortunately, used dredges can be a mixed bag, and if it's your first dredge, you may not know which end of the spectrum you're buying. Is it some old crashbox sluice with a home-modified riffle tray mounted on a popped truck inner tube with an ethanol gunked carburetor on an off brand trash pump circa 1984, or is it a well maintained modern dredge in perfect condition? The seller may tell you the latter either way.

Miners like to tinker, and chances are that a used dredge is no longer stock. Ask what modifications they've made, ask about fuel treatment, ask when it last ran. Then check the gas tank. If it hasn't run in a couple years and there's gas in the tank, you'll likely need to clean the carb, including the jet. Ethanol can also degrade the fuel line. If it's been sitting for a while, you can plan on replacing the hoses.

There's also a wide spectrum of pricing on new equipment. We sell Proline and Jobe, so I'll leave brand out of the equation. Regardless of what make you buy, a new dredge with a 2-stroke Fukiwuki will cost considerably less than anything with a Honda, just like a drill from Harbor Freight will be cheaper than a Makita, but there's some truth in the old saying, "you get what you pay for."

It's relatively inexpensive to mount a crashbox on stream sluice, add a couple hoses, a cheap pump and a suction nozzle and have a functional dredge. It's a good way to go if you're on a tight budget, but consider it more of an entry level dredge. The more expensive dredges do justify the cost in materials and components, and in performance.

A jet-flare dredge with a sluice designed for dredging, with built in classification, Hungarian riffles, miner's moss, etc, set up and run right will catch more gold than a crashbox on a stream sluice, and off brand trash pumps do not perform as well as pumps made for dredging. They don't produce the same pressure, or to achieve the same pressure you end up with a much larger engine which burns more fuel and is much heavier. Hondas are expensive, but if I'm six hours from home on a rare weekend away, I like the confidence that my dredge will start on the first pull and run without issue.

Bottom line though is that not all dredges are created equal. Higher quality comes with a higher price tag, but quality holds up better over time and does a better job retaining resale value.

The last thing to consider when looking at pricing is whether the seller is a stocking dealer and do they have the dredge you want in stock? With the price of gold spiking, a number of discount outfits have sprung up, many of which will happily sell you equipment they don't have on hand. Drop-ship and special order dredges take time, especially during dredge season. Your dredge will invariably be held up waiting for some part to come back from the platers and your discount dealer will be nowhere to be found. When in doubt, ask.

Hope it helps!

Dredges For Sale

Copper Pan Birdbath

This is a really fun idea. One of our customers bought a 14 inch copper gold pan, drilled a few holes in it, and voilà -- a birdbath.

It looks great now and in time will develop a patina and look even better!

For a mini birdbath or bird feeder try the 6 inch copper pan.














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