Greetings from Alaska

Help Support Gold Refining Forum:

AlaskaLes

Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
7
Hello, as the username implies, my name is Les and I live in Alaska.
In recent years I have found myself partnered up on some pretty good claims.
My neighbor/partner also brought some pretty decent tools to the party.
I posted my first little intro over on the Happy Thanksgiving thread.
Don't want to repeat myself here as that's about as bad as a double post.

Among other skills and jobs, I've been a fabricator and welder for most of my life. This new hobby is calling on those tools constantly.
Last Winter I built a very nice highbanker with every bell and whistle that I wanted. 10" flared to 12", .100" aluminum, nice grizzly, 1.5" Honda pump, etc., etc.
Next Winter project was tuning up a 2"x 3" lab sized jaw crusher. I replaced the seized grease cups with grease zerks and mounted it to a small pallet with a 1/2hp Crafstman lathe motor that was NOS. The motor is a huge gain over the little manual hand crank that it started with and now we can crush any ore from about a tangerine on down.

This past Spring I overhauled a heavy, well-built smelter. Tuned up the refractory, added new propane regulator, plumbed in an old shop vac motor and control valves, and welded up a steel base to bolt it to with fork pockets for much easier moving. This thing weighed about 200lbs + when I started, it sits at around 250 now with the new base. I'm getting up to 2000+ in about 8-10 minutes and it's smelting like a dream. Current clay graphite crucibles are about 4.5" dia. and 5.75" tall. I can't recall the size number. I do like being able to sample anything we want and not worry about the integrity or price tag of the Professional assayers. For our current purposes I can test any of our ore for gold and I don't need other data from it. If we get tired of playing on this deposit and decide to sell, I'd get a few Pro assays. I'm using it for cupellation also and it works very well. Probably burning a little more than 1 cupel needs in fuel, but I have space to run 4 to 6 of the small 32g cupels at a time. I may get some larger cupels later, but we've got a case of 300 of these already in hand. I started this using lead as a collector metal and the soda/iron method from Jason at MBMM's videos. We have now swithced over to using Bismuth as out collector metal and it's working beautifully. We have free mill crystalline gold, dendritic free mill gold, as well as, Iron Pyrite and some Arsenopyrite that both carry good gold values.

So the next tool to be built is a 24" x 30-36" ball mill mounted on a reinforced small trailer frame ad driven by a gear reduction and an 18hp Kohler engine. I'm in the final planning stages and about to order several hundred pounds of forged steel balls. I'm still deciding whether it will be 30" or 36", as well as, whether it will be a single batch style or continuous feed. Once that's up and running we've got 7 or 8 of the 5 gallon buckets full of crushed ore about 1/4" x 3/8" to run through for testing and tuning. The tank I'll be using is a
1/4"+ thick high pressure steam tank of some kind. It's going to be very interesting to see just how much smaller and micron gold is still locked up in all of those crushed quartz chips. I don't expect the drum to last very long due to abrasion/wear. Honestly, this drum will only need to survive about 45-50 days and the Winter will be kicking us off the mountain. If it lives that long and we get what we've been getting in our samples. We'll be able to upsize for a more productive run the following year.

The last tool in hand to be fixed is a 3" x 5" jaw crusher and a Wisconsin engine that She had in her pile of goodies. I'm going to need to replace a threaded rod and fork that adjusts the jaw opening and the grease cups need cleaned up. They should work fine, but I may change them to Zerks just for consistent lube tools across the whole herd. The cups are kind-of eat though. This crusher will be powered by a very clean Honda 8hp from a tracked snowblower. That'll be plenty of power to keep that moving. I'm probably going to mount this to another reinforced trailer for ease of use.

With regards to chemical refining, I'm researching all methods so that I can make better choices. However, currently the only chemicals I've used are Muriatic to clean specimens and I recently tried a heated Lye bath to dissolve the quartz in specimens to reveal more of the gold. I got decent reduction of the quartz on my first attempt, but realized later that I needed a higher temp to get the performance I'm looking for. Next time, I'm pretty sure I'll get it right.

I hope I didn't run on too long here. I'll try to post a few pics to help your imagination.
Thanks for having me and I welcome any and all input regarding my plans or tools.
Respectfully,
Les

All of the gold in these pics was found using a Gold Monster 1000 that my partner had just started using.

The pic in the hand is about 7.5g of dendritic gold that I found in a hardrock crack. All of that was inside of about 1qt of dirt. We've found several more little dendritic bits, but no pockets that rich.

The other two pics were just us at a panning tub. We would carry the ziploc bags of detected targets down to the tub about 50' away and were consistently pulling 8-20 little chunks per 1/3 pan of ore. Very exciting days!

Again, Thank You and I hope you like the pics.
I've cleaned the Dendritic in Muriatic and it would be worthy of a new macro pic. Let me know if your interested.
 

Attachments

  • P1070029.JPG
    P1070029.JPG
    2.8 MB · Views: 11
  • P1070065.JPG
    P1070065.JPG
    2.7 MB · Views: 11
  • P1070026.JPG
    P1070026.JPG
    2.8 MB · Views: 11

cosmetal

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
387
Location
Sacramento, CA USA
Hello, as the username implies, my name is Les and I live in Alaska.
In recent years I have found myself partnered up on some pretty good claims.
My neighbor/partner also brought some pretty decent tools to the party.
I posted my first little intro over on the Happy Thanksgiving thread.
Don't want to repeat myself here as that's about as bad as a double post.

Among other skills and jobs, I've been a fabricator and welder for most of my life. This new hobby is calling on those tools constantly.
Last Winter I built a very nice highbanker with every bell and whistle that I wanted. 10" flared to 12", .100" aluminum, nice grizzly, 1.5" Honda pump, etc., etc.
Next Winter project was tuning up a 2"x 3" lab sized jaw crusher. I replaced the seized grease cups with grease zerks and mounted it to a small pallet with a 1/2hp Crafstman lathe motor that was NOS. The motor is a huge gain over the little manual hand crank that it started with and now we can crush any ore from about a tangerine on down.

This past Spring I overhauled a heavy, well-built smelter. Tuned up the refractory, added new propane regulator, plumbed in an old shop vac motor and control valves, and welded up a steel base to bolt it to with fork pockets for much easier moving. This thing weighed about 200lbs + when I started, it sits at around 250 now with the new base. I'm getting up to 2000+ in about 8-10 minutes and it's smelting like a dream. Current clay graphite crucibles are about 4.5" dia. and 5.75" tall. I can't recall the size number. I do like being able to sample anything we want and not worry about the integrity or price tag of the Professional assayers. For our current purposes I can test any of our ore for gold and I don't need other data from it. If we get tired of playing on this deposit and decide to sell, I'd get a few Pro assays. I'm using it for cupellation also and it works very well. Probably burning a little more than 1 cupel needs in fuel, but I have space to run 4 to 6 of the small 32g cupels at a time. I may get some larger cupels later, but we've got a case of 300 of these already in hand. I started this using lead as a collector metal and the soda/iron method from Jason at MBMM's videos. We have now swithced over to using Bismuth as out collector metal and it's working beautifully. We have free mill crystalline gold, dendritic free mill gold, as well as, Iron Pyrite and some Arsenopyrite that both carry good gold values.

So the next tool to be built is a 24" x 30-36" ball mill mounted on a reinforced small trailer frame ad driven by a gear reduction and an 18hp Kohler engine. I'm in the final planning stages and about to order several hundred pounds of forged steel balls. I'm still deciding whether it will be 30" or 36", as well as, whether it will be a single batch style or continuous feed. Once that's up and running we've got 7 or 8 of the 5 gallon buckets full of crushed ore about 1/4" x 3/8" to run through for testing and tuning. The tank I'll be using is a
1/4"+ thick high pressure steam tank of some kind. It's going to be very interesting to see just how much smaller and micron gold is still locked up in all of those crushed quartz chips. I don't expect the drum to last very long due to abrasion/wear. Honestly, this drum will only need to survive about 45-50 days and the Winter will be kicking us off the mountain. If it lives that long and we get what we've been getting in our samples. We'll be able to upsize for a more productive run the following year.

The last tool in hand to be fixed is a 3" x 5" jaw crusher and a Wisconsin engine that She had in her pile of goodies. I'm going to need to replace a threaded rod and fork that adjusts the jaw opening and the grease cups need cleaned up. They should work fine, but I may change them to Zerks just for consistent lube tools across the whole herd. The cups are kind-of eat though. This crusher will be powered by a very clean Honda 8hp from a tracked snowblower. That'll be plenty of power to keep that moving. I'm probably going to mount this to another reinforced trailer for ease of use.

With regards to chemical refining, I'm researching all methods so that I can make better choices. However, currently the only chemicals I've used are Muriatic to clean specimens and I recently tried a heated Lye bath to dissolve the quartz in specimens to reveal more of the gold. I got decent reduction of the quartz on my first attempt, but realized later that I needed a higher temp to get the performance I'm looking for. Next time, I'm pretty sure I'll get it right.

I hope I didn't run on too long here. I'll try to post a few pics to help your imagination.
Thanks for having me and I welcome any and all input regarding my plans or tools.
Respectfully,
Les

All of the gold in these pics was found using a Gold Monster 1000 that my partner had just started using.

The pic in the hand is about 7.5g of dendritic gold that I found in a hardrock crack. All of that was inside of about 1qt of dirt. We've found several more little dendritic bits, but no pockets that rich.

The other two pics were just us at a panning tub. We would carry the ziploc bags of detected targets down to the tub about 50' away and were consistently pulling 8-20 little chunks per 1/3 pan of ore. Very exciting days!

Again, Thank You and I hope you like the pics.
I've cleaned the Dendritic in Muriatic and it would be worthy of a new macro pic. Let me know if your interested.
As I said before,
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Les, Great first post. Brings back happy memories.

Peace and health,
James
As a placer miner (actually did it for a living for a while), I am very interested in hearing more about your progress and any of your future pictures.

As far as cleaning your gold better - it appears to have a fair amount of iron still associated with its exterior. Try a dilute ~10% heated solution of some H2SO4 (sulfuric acid). Don't heat this solution above ~35C and be very careful in handling the acid solution as it can cause burns from contact or inhaling. Always use the proper PPE.

James
 

AlaskaLes

Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
7
Thanks for the tip James.
I'll put that in my notebook and give it a try.
I've used HCl and it works well. Is the H2SO4 better at this?

Glad your enjoying the adventures, I'll get a few pics of the cleaned gold and post them.
 

cosmetal

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
387
Location
Sacramento, CA USA
I'm a jeweler also. It's what I use on most of the metals I want to clean especially after soldering. Especially good at cleaning any spare flux hanging on after melting.
 

AlaskaLes

Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
7
Thanks for clarifying. Two more questions, if I may.
Would this be good for removing excess lead solder on copper?
Would this be good for removing the little cupel crust left on the base of my Cupelled gold beads?
 

cosmetal

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
387
Location
Sacramento, CA USA
Thanks for clarifying. Two more questions, if I may.
Would this be good for removing excess lead solder on copper?
Would this be good for removing the little cupel crust left on the base of my Cupelled gold beads?
Would this be good for removing excess lead solder on copper?
I doubt it - I never tried.

Would this be good for removing the little cupel crust left on the base of my Cupelled gold beads?
Yes.
 

AlaskaLes

Member
Joined
May 24, 2021
Messages
7
Looks like I'm going to need to pick up a jug H2SO4 and give it a try.
Thanks again.
 

Latest posts

Top