Picture of Hand Dredge
A hand dredge, also called a gold sucker, is basically a pump that will allow you to suck up material. They allow you to suck up material in hard to reach places, such as under rocks, and in crevices. Hand dredges work extremely well if you are prospecting for gold as they allow you to quickly move lots of material.

Parts Needed:

PVC Cement
30" 1-1/4" PVC
36" 1/2" PVC
1x 1-1/2" ABS Wye Fitting
1x 1/2" PVC Slip Cap
1x 1/2" PVC Threaded Cap
2x 2 1/4" PVC Slip Cap
3x 1-1/2" x 1-1/4" PVC Bushing
1x 1/2" Slip to Threaded Adapter
1x 1/2" Foam Pipe Insulation
1x 1/2" Elbow
1x 1-1/4" x 1/2" Reducer Coupling


I purchased all of the parts new for just under $23. I did not have to buy any of the tools.


Dremel or Sand Paper
Pipe Cutter or Hack Saw


This dredge is not my original design, it's based on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCozzarSk5A

Please note I am not responsible for anything you do, so please only use my instructions as guidelines. Use proper safety equipment and common sense. Also check with local laws to make sure you're allowed to use a dredge in your local area.
kretzlord2 years ago
Nice setup, how does it work for sniping in the cracks? Found any color?
flyingpuppy3 years ago
Is the idea something like this hand pump water gun I made? I mean, does the valve system work similarly?
Sermos (author)  flyingpuppy3 years ago
I didn't use any valves. Basically as you pull the plunger out, material is sucked up and goes into the pump chamber. When you release the pressure, material then falls back down, but instead of going out the end that sucked up the material, it falls down into the collection chamber due to gravity (which is why it has to be at at the bottom).

I was thinking of using one way valves like you did, and using a hose instead of a collection chamber, so I could pump the material from the crevices directly into a sluice or gold pan but I should be able to easily modify the current system to work with valves.

I like your idea on the valves though!
Ah! NOW I see how yours works. BTW, I need to copy your plunger design. Mine leaks a bit out the top.
Sermos (author)  flyingpuppy3 years ago
When I was at the river last time my seal actually broke and I forgot to bring an extra one, so we ended up using a foam insert of an old shoe. I cut a small circle in the middle to fit onto the pipe and cut it into a round piece then screwed the cap over. When I pushed the plunger into the pipe it fit really snug and had excellent suction. Just something to think about :)
And that's how inventions are born & perfected--necessity.
fishrmn1003 years ago
Also went to Shasta College in Redding and would love to see a video! I do really enjoy gold panning and intend to go back to it, once I'm retired, shortly.
I'll try this, even without a video. GOOD WORK!!
I didn't read the instructions, just looked at the pictures, so please bear with me in case you covered this...

At first I was wondering why you didn't have any screening to limit the size of particles and rocks, but after thinking about it for a few seconds it makes perfect sense... the 1/2" in tube prevents anything larger than ball bearing size from coming, so you're mostly just gettting sand and small flakes...

Makes me wish I were in gold country!
Sermos (author)  Silvester105283 years ago
The 1/2" tube does limit the size of the material coming in, and does occasionally get blocked, but you could easily swap out the tip for a larger piece of pvc (up to 1 1/2" though the actual vacuum power won't be as strong).
uzziah03 years ago
How about a paragraph at the top the states EXACTLY what this will do, why would I want to make one, or what you are doing with it.
Otherwise, looks great.
rhino3 years ago
Better spray paint the end orange so some cop does not shoot you. Great design. I use the suction stick from Sam Raddings Book of Plans. This works on a similar principle. I love your design for the drop part that holds the gold. Hooray for PVC! I need one that works without water as I am working dry washes.
canida3 years ago
Cool! This looks similar to PVC dredges I've seen people use for sucking up clams on the beach or mudflats, though theirs were made with wider PVC.
snotty3 years ago
Yes! This one's screaming for a video. I'd love to see it in action :)
Ditto that!!! I was definitely hoping to see a video!
Sermos (author)  snotty3 years ago
I'll try to record a video next time I go to the river, I forgot my camera last time. :)
Schmidty163 years ago
man i like ur idea i wish there could be more gold mining ideas on this website

Reminds me of the Dayze up at Shasta College in Redding, we used to pan
up at our spot camping on weekends for beer and food money in the 90's, could not use a dredge or fish on The Sacramento from the Chem Spill (trainwreck) but could bring up black sand with SCUBA gear ( Hope I did'nt Dame My Bramage..twitcth-twicht !) Our "Assayer" in Redding seemed to give us let than
actual worth for our flake and few nuggets.(break a point off a #2 pencil, About all we found) At today's Gold value, would have lived like Kings ! ( Teriyaki Burgers for
the whole class at the Cafeteria !) Fun Times!
Voted high and now following,more gold finding idea please,please,pretty please,i like shiny gold.
rimar20003 years ago
A video? Please...