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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Public Gold Panning Sites Map Project

With all the wikis and mash-ups and web 2.0 whatsits out there, how's about a collaborative effort for gold prospectors...?

Check out the Public Gold Panning Sites Map Project. The map uses the Google Maps system, and is open to public editing.

Add some sites!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Vac Pac or Shop Vac

I was shopping at Home Depot the other day and saw an 18v Ryobi Wet/Dry Canister Vac and thought to myself, "that would be one sweet crevicing tool"...err...I thought something like that anyway...

There are some nice vac pac units on the market built on 5 gallon buckets and powered by leaf blowers, but they're just too big and noisy for a lot of the crevicing I like to do.

A five gallon bucket holds way more material than I ever expect to find in any one crack, and I really don't want to lug a half full bucket up and down bedrock from crack to crack until it's full. Chances are I'd empty it well before it was full, so wouldn't a two gallon bucket be plenty?

Then there's the noise and the smell. I hate the sound leaf blowers make, and the stink of two-cycle exhaust has never been a favorite. I like prospecting partly because I can get away from the noise and smells of town.

Lastly, I like working cracks that are hard to reach - places others are less likely to have bothered with. I mean why climb a cliff, when there are easy cracks right at the bottom? A leaf blower mounted on a five gallon bucket seems like it would be really awkward to climb with.

This little Ryobi cordless cannister vac on the other hand might be perfect. Here's what I'm talking about:

From reviews I've read the batteries only have about 10 minutes in them (20 with the lithium ion), but if you did most of your rock busting, scraping, brushing, scooping as normal, and used the vac just for final clean up, a couple of the li ion batteries might be plenty for a day of crevicing. I'm not thinking of this as a primary crevicing tool, but as one more crevicing tool in the bag.

I just know I've left some gold sitting at the bottom of a few cracks that I was unable to sweep or scoop into my pan. Seems like a little cordless vac like this would be just the ticket. I may have to get one this summer...

Happy hunting!