Sometimes there isn't any running water available to power a sluice. A lot of my favorite gold panning streams dry up almost completely during the summer months. So I decided to build a recirculating sluice that would recycle a little water over and over again.
Here is a video of the finished sluice in operation in its final configuration. This sluice went through several revisions and lots of tweaking before getting to this finished product. You can see the entire evolution of this project on my web site. See also my gold panning instructable.
Step 1: Planning the Sluice Box
I drew up a simple plan for a cradle that would sit on top of a plastic storage bin full of water. The cradle would hold the sluice and allow me to adjust the angle of tilt. Water would be pumped out of the bin to the top of the sluice. Water and debris would fall back into the bin at the bottom of the sluice. This would be great! I'd be able to use it in the field where there was limited water available. I'd designed a recirculating sluice or highbanker. I couldn't wait to build it.
The sluice itself is just a simple three-sided box. I decided to keep it simple and cheap, so I made it out if wood. I used a 1 x 6 pine board 36 inches long for the base and 1 x 3's for the sides. It is all held together with Gorilla Glue and screws. I marked out the location where the riffles would be. I also built and attached a spraybar to spray water into the top of the sluice. More on all this in later steps.