Gold Pans
Last Post 13 Nov 2016 07:49 AM by Wayne Crowder. 16 Replies.
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BRIAN HERBSTREITUser is Offline
Greenhorn
Greenhorn
Posts:21



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03 Apr 2014 05:28 PM

    Pans!

    by  on Apr.18, 2013, under Gold Prospecting

    I don’t know how many times people have come up to me and said, “All you really need is a pan to find gold.” Technically that’s true. All you really need to find gold is a pan. At some time, even with machinery, you will probably pick up a gold pan. Maybe not at the start, but more than likely at the end.

    However, gold is a numbers game. The more dirt you process, the more gold you will find. Unless you hit the Mother lode, and are digging nuggets of gold. You are dealing with something much smaller. From flour to flakes to pickers. (Sounds like a double play team in baseball. “5-4-3 Double play!” I can almost hear the PA announcer.)

    That’s where machinery comes into play. However, this isn’t about machinery, it’s about pans. Probably since the dawn of time, or at least when man first discovered gold, there have been gold pans. Sluices made of gold, were discovered in King Tut’s tomb. I would imagine there were gold pans made of real gold as well. But even before that, most likely pans were made out of slices of a tree trunk dished out. Wood has one problem, it swells, shrinks and cracks. So maybe the first real gold pans, as we know them, were made during the Bronze age.

    However, where you find relics from gold rush times, you will find wooden pans. They could be turned out on machinery run from water wheels driven by long belts. Someone had a bright idea to go to the maker of a Knights armor and turn out gold pans. These would have been made of iron, as a Knights armor were iron plate. Eventually steel came into play, and I’m sure steel gold pans followed.

    A mixture of steel and wood pans have been found from California to Australia. The Chinese prospectors are credited with introducing the riffle to the Gold pan. And you can still see a form of it today in modern steel pans. Prospectors really like steel gold pans because it served two purposes. First, of course, it was a gold pan. Second, it was their dinner plate. The pan could withstand heat, they ate off of it, cleaned it up and go back to prospecting. Maybe old time prospectors were the original , “Multi-taskers”?

    Back in the mid-70’s, 1970’s that is, I’m not THAT old! I started with pie pans, which I liberated from my Mom’s cupboards. (Liberated sounds so much better than just helped myself, without ask asking. IE: Stole!) I had already been bitten by the Gold bug at age 10. However, I had no clue on how to actually find gold. (My first discovery was Pyrite, that I thought was gold.) I met a couple of guys prospecting the Whitewater River in Southern Indiana. They both had steel pans with grooves formed in the sides. They had found these in the back of “Popular Mechanics” magazine. (Might have been “Popular Science.” It’s been a long time for my memory.)

    They are the ones that told me to,, “go get your Mother’s pie pans.” They had a wooden homemade rocker box lined with Shag carpeting! (This was the 70’s.) Back then, I didn’t know anything about flour gold. I thought all gold were nuggets, or at least pickers. So, I’d sift through sand from the river looking for gold I could see. I pretty much never did.

    Fast forward to today. Today we have gold pans, still in steel. However, now there’s copper and the most ones used are plastic. Plastic has opened up a world of new shapes, sizes and colors. (Again, another Triple Play team?)   The pans can be found in round, square, rectangle, triangle, hexagon, U-shaped, to name the popular ones. And just about every color. Blue, green, red, black, purple, maroon, white and pink! Blue and green are the most popular, followed by black. Green and blue will make your gold stand out as well as your black sands. Black pans will make your gold “pop” out, but will hide fine black sands making final clean up difficult. The other colors, have their fans. I like blue, maroon and red for final clean ups.  There is even a pan with riffles in the bottom!

    Green is the most popular, but if you suffer from color blindness, then you want to stick with blue. Blue pretty much is still blue, throughout most color blindness. However, green can show up as various colors, including shades of yellow. They also come with various sizes of riffles. From no riffles to quite large riffles.

    Sizes. Plastic pans range from 10” to 16”. Again, typically, bigger pans are used to work off the dirt and gravel and smaller pans are used for final clean ups. 16” pans can be a hand full, especially loaded with dirt and gravel. 14” can be as well, but is still easier to work off. 10” pans you can use one hand, but you’re limited to the amount of over burden you can work off at one time.

    So, there you have it. Most small scale prospectors have many pans in there inventory. Lately there seems to be 1 – 2 new pans coming out every year. They always seem to have their supporters and their opposition. Like I always say, whatever works best for you. I always seem to end up buying the new ones and trying them at least a few times.

    Until next time, this is the old prospector.

    Good Hunting!

    At Gold Rush Guys we carry every thing you need for gold prospecting and metal detecting, whether it's your hobby or your business.
    JAMES PEACEUser is Offline
    Dredger
    Dredger
    Posts:98



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    03 Apr 2014 05:47 PM
    I like the standard green pan sold here, and for a finish pan the Falcon's are the best!
    BRIAN HERBSTREITUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:21



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    05 Apr 2014 09:24 AM
    I classify everything to 12 mesh.

    Minus 12 mesh get run through my Gold Cube then that is panned out with a Falcon or Gold Saver pan. Now that Turbo Pan introduced a 10" version, I need to try that for clean-ups.

    Plus 12 mesh is dumped into my Aussie Turbo Pan. It makes fast work out of the chunky stuff. Before the Turbo Pan came along, I really liked the Alan Trees designed Gold Grabber pan.

    At Gold Rush Guys we carry every thing you need for gold prospecting and metal detecting, whether it's your hobby or your business.
    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
    Buzzard
    Buzzard
    Posts:601



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    07 Apr 2014 02:00 PM
    I have one of Alan's pans, (won it in a chapter raffle), but have not scrubbed it out and roughed it up yet to see if I like it any better that the GPAA pans, of which we have quite a few of, since we grab a couple of the show specials when ever they showed up at the counter.
    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
    MOSHE LEVINEUser is Offline
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    Greenhorn
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    07 Apr 2014 03:28 PM
    Stephen TrentUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:7



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    24 Apr 2014 07:29 AM
    Started out using the garret drop bottom pan 30 years ago and continually used it until I discovered the keene 12 " drop bottom pan a few years ago. This pan holds enough material to do sampling and can be used for a clean up pan also. This pan is all I use now!!!!!!
    Steve!!!
    JAMES AUUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:19



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    06 Jul 2014 01:31 PM

    I went on a panning binge all winter while working on the cons I stored up in the garage. The ProLine 17" has multiple smaller riffles and a larger flat bottom that seems to work best for me. I also use the Falcon clean up pan but find the ProLine is able to do that just as well. I also experimented with adding tiny circular grooves in the bottom and sides of the ProLine 17" pans with different grades of sandpaper. Ended up with a combination that seems to work better than just roughing up the pan randomly. Also tried the Super Sluice pan recently but it's really heavy and tough on senior wrists, elbows, shoulders . . . 

    IVAN STARKEYUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:6



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    14 Jul 2014 05:56 AM
    Great stuff Brain! thanks for sharing. I like the gold catcher but I have been using it since they came out with it and I love it so that might make me prejudice. lol
    May the bottom of your pan always be yellow :-)
    Don McElyeaUser is Offline
    Miner
    Miner
    Posts:130



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    24 Mar 2015 03:47 AM
    Thanks for the great info.  Just about ready to go on my first prospecting trip in NM and have a lot to learn.  Almost 70 and about ready to retire and find some gold.  Adventure and Exercise.
    Hobbies. Buying and shooting guns, collecting knives. Fairly new to GPAA and soon to be LDMA member. Belong to the New Mexico Gold Prospectors Club Chapter. Live in Kellyville, Oklahoma. Soon to be retired and become a nomad and staying in Arizona and New Mexico during the winter months.
    Kent McNeilUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:9



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    14 Apr 2015 09:15 AM
    I am new but I like the Garrett 14" green pan..... I catch gold in my pan I can't even see without my glasses.
    Kent McNeilUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:9



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    14 Apr 2015 09:18 AM
    MICHAEL JUDDUser is Offline
    Sluicer
    Sluicer
    Posts:63



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    15 Apr 2015 03:12 PM
    I have several pans. One thing most people overlook is the GPAA pan. It is actually a very good pan. I use a garret super for sampling, I also use a garret drop riffle. I have several others I usually carry with me to let others use.
    Realize what you really want. It stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold. William Moulton Marston
    CHARLES SAWYERUser is Offline
    Greenhorn
    Greenhorn
    Posts:6



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    27 Apr 2016 06:05 PM
    I recently went to a GPAA gold show in Phoenix, AZ. I visited the panning trough to get some pointers on how to use my 14" round pan. I've been using that kind of pan since I first learned to pan about 20 yrs. ago. I haven't had the opportunity to due much panning in that time, but I consider myself to be fairly competent with a gold pan, still I figured a few pointers from the pros wouldn't hurt, plus you get to keep the gold you find. As I was practicing with a 14" round pan, I noticed an oddly shaped pan across from me. It was square on one end, had a deep trough running through the middle, and was round at the other end. It was a Mini Gold Grabber, designed by Alan Tree's, who I had never heard of. So I decided I'd give it a try. I scooped up some sand, and tried to pan out the gold. I have to admit, I really didn't like it. It felt awkward, and the water didn't flow right. I still got some gold, but overall I didn't like it one bit. A little later, I was wandering from booth to booth, and I found Alan Trees there in his booth selling Mini Gold Grabbers along with his other products. I asked to see him demonstrate the pan, and told him I really disliked it when I tried it. Alan told me I'm not the first person to tell him so. Then he explained how he designed the Gold Grabber gold pan to be used a little differently from a traditional round pan. He explained how the square end and deep trough made the pan work like a rocker box, and how the riffles were cut at a different angle, so the pan could be used at a steeper angle than round pans, which allows you to concentrate the gold down to the riffle end much faster than with a round pan. He also showed me how easy it is to wash away lighter materials, and leave just your black sands and gold, and he demonstrated how the long flat bottom made it easier to separate all the gold from all the black sand. At first, I was skeptical about his demonstration. I noticed that the gold he was using for demonstrations was mostly large chunky flakes, not a lot of fine or flour gold, so I figured maybe the pan was good at catching bigger gold, but I wasn't so sure about smaller stuff. So I decided I'd head back to the panning trough, where all the gold was very fine or flour gold, and give the pan a second try, now that I was informed with how to use it properly. I WAS BLOWN AWAY! I used the Mini Gold Grabber the way it was designed to be used, and I swear, I have never panned flour gold all the way out of black sands, faster or easier in all my years using a round pan. I was amazed, and decided I absolutely had to have one for myself.
    I am just starting a small business selling a beginner's gold panning kit featuring my special blend of pay dirt, which contains unchecked Arizona and Alaska pay dirts and a layer of blue sand which I use to help teach beginners how to pan for gold. I prime every bag with a half gram of gold, and add 4 more grams to every 10th bag. After trying the Mini Gold Grabber, I decided that it was the best pan to use in my gold panning kit. The technique Alan showed me was quick and easy to learn, and can easily be taught to people with any level of experience panning for gold. The mini Gold grabber is also a perfect size for sampling. It fits nicely into a back pack, or a 5 gallon tub. I use a 15 qt. plastic tub in my kit, which is better for use at home or at a campground, but it works very well for sampling as well. The Mini Gold Grabber is one of the best pans on the market, I highly recommend it to any prospector. Best Regards, Charles Sawyer - Owner, Blue Heron Prospecting
    Mary McCartyUser is Offline
    Miner
    Miner
    Posts:128



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    03 Jun 2016 07:29 AM

    To Blue Heron Prospecting, I googled for you and did not find a website? Mention of FB and Etsy only?

    Thanks!

    Katra12

    Brad LambUser is Offline
    Lost Dutchman
    Lost Dutchman
    Posts:328



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    03 Jun 2016 08:28 AM
    I have tried nearly every plastic and metal traditional pan out there.

    My personal favorites are, in order:
    1. Martin Prospecting 14"
    2. GPAA 14"
    3. Martin Prospecting 10"
    4. GPAA 10"
    (these are my go-to pans. I also prefer the snap in deep classifier system that Martin Prospecting sells. It is similar, but, seems to be a little deeper (fits deeper into 2.5/5 gal buckets) than the GPAA snap in classifier system.

    All in Plastic; Blue, Green or Black. Blue is my personal favorite for contrast in the pan. Black and Green are excellent as well.

    The GPAA and Martin pans have a deep groove around the entire bottom of the large pan bottom. The Keene pans do not have this feature. While not a big deal, I prefer the extra groove.

    Whatever pan you decide is best for you must practice with it, become confident and test, test, test to attempt to perfect your technique.


    Happy & Golden Trails
    Reach out to your Senators and Representatives and let them know you are in support of mining rights and opening up areas to small scale mining! ~Augusta, GA GPAA~ ~LDMA~
    Ed BraggUser is Offline
    Posts:75



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    04 Jun 2016 11:27 PM

    95% of the time, I strictly pan with the Garrett 15" Super Sluice, myself. I use it to quickly sluice and grab semi-classified concentrates, everyday panning and even for finishing clean-up. I'm probably nuts...

    Wayne CrowderUser is Offline
    Sluicer
    Sluicer
    Posts:63



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    13 Nov 2016 07:49 AM
    I'm currently using the GPAA 14 inch (I think that's the right dimension). That's my preferred pan for general stuff. I like Alan Trees' Gold Grabber pan for initial panning but I like the Jobs 11 inch drop bottom pan for the fine stuff that's from salt grains to flour size.

    I probably would like a 14 inch GPAA pan with a drop bottom.

    Does Garrett make the GPAA pans?
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