Bedrock Gold Crevicing and Sniping Tools
A Low-Maintenance, Low-Cost Mining Approach
As I've mentioned in earlier posts (please see titles and links at the end of this post), bedrock gold crevicing and sniping can, in combination, be an extremely effective and rewarding recreational mining approach in both wet and dry placer areas. One of the main advantages of using this method is that it is "low maintenance" and, more importantly, requires very little in terms of financial outlay. In today's severe economic downturn, this latter factor is something we all need to carefully consider when gearing up for our gold mining activities.
In order to facilitate things for those of you interested in bedrock gold crevicing and sniping, I've put together the following recommended list of tools that, based on my own knowledge and experience, will serve you well out there in terms of portability, durability, and effectiveness:
Crevice Sucker: These are excellent crevicing and sniping tools and I suggest you carry one with you when working submerged bedrock. Crevice suckers are very light to carry and durable, and can be purchased from various mining supply houses or easily constructed from PVC pipe and a few hardware items. A strong, hand-generated suction from the crevice sucker pulls small material and gold out of cracks and crevices where, in turn, it can be pushed out into a gold pan or 5-gallon bucket.
Bulb Snifters: Bulb snifters are very similar to turkey basters, but on a smaller and more efficient scale. Commercially, they come in a variety of designs and sizes, and are used for extracting small material (including gold) from submerged cracks and crevices.
Crevicing Tools: Many crevicing tools are similar to the commercially sold tool pictured above, but there is no true standard design or size used out in the field. You can quite easily come up with designs of your own using spoons, knife blades, welding rods, coat hangers, or any other metal in rod or stiff wire form. These tools all have one thing in common though: they are used for reaching into small bedrock cracks and crevices and then digging out any and all gold bearing material.
Crevice Bars or Gads: These come in different sizes and are typically constructed of drop-forged, hardened alloy steel and are great for breaking apart tougher bedrock cracks and crevices. I recommend you carry a range of gad sizes like 6", 12", and 16."
Rock or Masonry Hammer: A good rock or masonry hammer is an absolute necessity in my own bedrock sniping and crevicing activities. They are helpful in more ways than you can imagine, including breaking loose tightly compacted material from larger crevices, scraping and digging using the claw end, pounding gads into cracks, you name it. These must be purchased but make sure you purchase a high-quality item and not some "cheapie."
Small Shovels and Hand Trowels: A small shovel similar to a military "e-tool" and heavy duty garden digging tools like hand trowels of various sizes are also good items to have around when sniping and crevicing. The shovel can really come in handy if you have to scrape or shovel shallow overburden from bedrock while the trowels are good for removing gold-bearing material from medium-to-small cracks, crevices, and fissures. Again, make sure to purchase durable items that can take the punishment they'll endure out in the field.
Tweezers: Truth be told, I don't think I've ever used a set of tweezers in my bedrock gold sniping or crevicing activities (underwater snipers use them frequently though). That said, I continue to carry a pair of heavy duty, 12" tweezers in my sniping kit, just in case. I recommend you do the same because you'll never know when they might come in handy.
I Believe in Traveling Light
Remember, none of this is etched in granite and some snipers carry additional tools like large prybars, as well as a wide array of various-sized crevicing tools. Me? I believe in traveling light and reducing my load when crevicing and sniping so I tend to stick fairly close to the items above. Most of these items can be distributed inside a medium-sized backpack or placed in a 5-gallon bucket that is easily carried by hand.
Again, some of these crevicing and sniping tools can be constructed at home and I recommend you become an adept "do-it-yourselfer" in this regard. Not only will you produce tools that fit your own mining needs and requirements, but you will save "boo-coo" money in the process.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2008