After panning my concentrates down or running them through a spiral wheel I have always tossed out the concentrates, knowing that there was fine gold still in them. I knew that this fine gold can be separated from the material. One method I had heard of was with the use of mercury, but we know the dangers of mercury. I didn’t want my hair and teeth to fall out, lose my mind or my life. Nor do I want to take a chance at damaging the environment. I knew that there is a safe method to use mercury with a retort but I still didn’t want to chance it. I did some research and found some other methods that did not use mercury or chemicals such as the shaker table but that piece of equipment was much more than I wanted to spend, these were more for commercial operations.  I found an article on miller tables, these are not some new technology I found that these date back to the 1800’s. A miller table works on a similar principle as a sluice box in that water flows through the box washing away the lighter material. The miller table does not have riffles like a sluice box but it has a slate bottom. You run the water very slowly so that it looks as smooth as glass and you have a mild pitch.  I found some that sell on the market for around $150.00 which I think is very affordable but I thought that one would be easy enough to build myself. So with that in mind I had been saving some of my black sand concentrates over the past couple of years. I finally found the time to build one, it is nothing fancy, I used some scrap wood that was lying around the house, a piece of plywood and a couple of pressure treated spindles from deck railings. I used chalk board paint for the bottom. I bought a Pacifichydrostar submersible fountain pump from Harbor Freight Tools with a rate of 264 gallons per hour for around $12. I used 1 inch pvc for the plumbing with a ball valve to control the flow of water. I drilled holes in the pvc pipe for the spray bar. I used a 3/4″ hose from the pump to the plumbing. I sanded the plywood as smooth as possible then painted and then sanded and painted, I repeated this about 7 times. I assembled the plywood with the deck rails and sealed the joints with silicon. I assembled the plumbing and hooked up the pump with the 3/4 hose. I was ready to try it out. I plugged it in and I adjusted the water flow, I had the table sitting at a very mild slope I would have to say around 5 degrees. I had some black sand concentrates that I had been saving, I dumped them into the flow and it worked like a charm. It washed away the magnetite and the gold was left behind and I picked it up with my snuffer bottle.

It's not pretty but it is functional.

It’s not pretty but it is functional.

It’s length is 3 feet by 8 inches wide, I have found that I could have made it shorter, 2 feet long would have been plenty. I find that it catches the gold in the first 6 inches.

You want the flow to be very slow so that the water looks like a sheet of glass.

You want the flow to be very slow so that the water looks like a sheet of glass.

The concentrates that I am running have already been processed through a spiral wheel and then classified through a fine mesh strainer. I have run the concentrates both wet and dry, either way works but I prefer running them dry just because of the way it lays down on the miller table as I feed the material.

Running concentratesNotice not much of a pitch, I have it sitting on two buckets that are different heights, the valve I have almost closed, I could have used a smaller cheaper pump if I wanted to. I feed the material slowly like I am sprinkling sugar on cereal.

Getting the fine gold.I am very pleased with the performance of the miller table, I will no longer be tossing out my fine gold. The next one I build will be made of aluminum, this one is my prototype. I would prefer to use real slate but the chalkboard paint works fine. Very easy to build anyone can do it.

  1. Henrietta says:

    What’s up colleagues, good article and nice arguments commented at this place, I
    am actually enjoying by these.

  2. kevininco says:

    Nice work on the Miller-type table. Did you end up building another? Your first looks great, no need for another with such excellent craftsmanship I’d say!

    Sounds like you built the whole thing for hardly more than the cost of a good gold pan…I DO admire frugality!

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