Instructables

Step 5: Pan Out Your Paydirt and Recover the Gold

I'm not going to go into a lot of detail about how to pan your "pay dirt" down to get to the gold. There are thousands of books, videos and web sites that cover how to work the pan. I studied many different sources, read books, watched videos and read web sites on the subject in hopes of learning how to do it. Problem was, all the experts on the subject had different ways of doing it, which just confused the hell out of me. I found that panning is something you really can only learn by doing. After I actually tried it for real, I developed my own way of doing it that was different from any of the sources I studied, but seems to work just as well. After you try it for a while, no doubt you will develop your own technique that works best for you. So I'm just going to give you some general advice and pointers. Once you start actually trying to pan, you will figure it out quite quickly on your own. This ain't rocket science, folks.

The basic idea is to agitate the material in the pan in water so as to stratify it with the heaviest stuff at the bottom and the lightest stuff at the top. Then you want to move the pan so that the water washes the lighter stuff on top out of the pan. Be careful not to pour material out of the pan, or you will lose gold. Periodically you will want to stop washing and re-stratify the material with more agitation. You want to make sure the gold is always at the bottom of the pan.

In the end, all you want left in the pan is heavy black sand and (hopefully) some gold. The second photo shows the results of panning down a nearly full pan of dirt and gravel to just black sand and gold. If this is what you see in the bottom of your gold pan, then you are doing it right.

The really tricky part of gold panning is separating the little bits and flakes of gold from the black sand. With a little practice, you will get the hang of swirling the black sand around the inside of the pan and concentrating the gold at the edge. If you are lucky, there will be a few bits of gold big enough to pick out with tweezers. I tweeze out these "pickers" and put them in my gold vial. The next photo shows a few "pickers" in my pan, along with a borderline nugget sized bit of gold. For the numerous smaller flakes of gold too tiny to pick out with tweezers, I use the sniffer bottle. Just suck up as many of the little shiny bits of gold as you can, while trying to get as little of the black sand as possible. Sometimes I use my finger to push the little bits of gold together into one spot, out of the bulk of the black sand mass, before sucking them up with the sniffer bottle.

There is still gold in that black sand. So don't discard it. After you get all the easy to remove gold out of it, dump the black sand in your concenrates pail. Then you are ready to load up the gold pan with more paydirt and pan some more.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
lil jon1685 years ago
UPDATE:to day i was panning in my creek and i found a picker!!!!!
lil jon1685 years ago
Thats a pretty good piece of gold but if u get a gold detector and go up in the mountains you can get huge pieces of gold if you can get to it. Dynamite maybe?