Hammer, Chisel, and Small Crevices Equal Good Gold (Part 1)

(These fine cracks in a foundation provide a decent example of what I'm talking about.)

As I've said numerous times before, in the right circumstances bedrock crevice sniping can bring you more placer gold than you ever dreamed of. Hit the right crack or crevice and you might walk away with multiple troy ounces. I know...I've seen it happen more than once in my mining career.

Looks Can be Deceiving

I'm going to take things a step further here and state that some of the tiniest bedrock crevices/cracks are the best to hunt and work. The main reason for this is that most run-of-mill placer miners and crevicers tend to bypass the smaller, hard-to-work bedrock cracks in favor of larger ones that have the "look" of containing large amounts of gold and that are easier to work. While it's true that virtually any crack or crevice situated at likely deposition points on bedrock has the potential for good gold recovery, it's also just as true that those larger, more easily accessible cracks and crevices have been worked before, often multiple times. The good news here is that many of the larger cracks or crevices get replenished season-to-season. The bad news is that savvy snipers in the area know this and hit these spots again and again.

This is not generally the case when it comes to the myriad of smaller cracks and crevices, especially if their outward appearance suggests otherwise. At first glance, finely compressed or extremely narrow bedrock cracks and crevices suggest that little, if any, placer gold could work its way into them, let alone move downward and pack these little puppies full of yellow metal. That's where many would-be crevicers go awry in their assumptions. In other words, looks can be deceiving.

You're Gonna Have to Work

First off, even the smallest of well-situated bedrock cracks and crevices can trap and accumulate gold, sometimes large amounts. Granted, in most instances these smaller traps won't contain very large nuggets (but sometimes they do and I'll explain how later) but they can provide large amounts of flakes, fines, and even a small nugget or two. So I have a question for you. Would you rather spend your time cleaning out those larger cracks and crevices on the hope that someone hasn't already beaten you to the punch, or would you instead like to work a bit harder and pull a half ounce or more from the right tiny crevice? I rest my case.

 (One troy ounce of placer gold...I've seen much more than this taken from one small crevice.)

By the way, the largest amount of placer gold I've ever seen taken from a small crevice was nearly six troy ounces in about eight hours' time. Yep, you heard right. That very same crevice contained at least two more troy ounces that was recovered the following day. The most I personally ever recovered from one was 14 grams for about two hours of effort. That's whetted your gold appetite some, hasn't it? Here's the deal though. You're gonna have to work to get that gold out of those tiny cracks and crevices. On dry or exposed bedrock that work is one thing, but when you're doing it in shallow running water it becomes something else altogether and requires patience, care, and the ability to manage your frustration index successfully.

Buy the Best

Aside from the usual snifter bulbs, tweezers, screwdrivers, and custom-configured welding rods used in cleaning out smaller cracks and crevices, your two best tool friends in this regard are a heavy/sturdy mallet and a small array of durable chisels. Oh, and our old friend, the hand-driven crack jack (if needed). Usually, some good chisels and a strong mallet will be all you'll need to bust open those very narrow crevices and open them up to get at the placer gold they contain. So don't scrimp and buy cheap shit...get the very best mallet and chisels you can afford. In the long run, you'll pay for those well-made tools over and over again if you're reasonably proficient at crevicing.

(Stonemason's carbide mallets and chisels.)

Stay tuned. There's more to come about all this, including tips on where to look for the right cracks and crevices and what you need to do to get at the gold they contain.

(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2014

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com


  1. Hello JR, I haven't really tried crevicing, mainly because of the lack of bedrock here. I was wondering though, if you break apart a crack that is still underwater, how do you keep the gold from dropping farther out of reach? Hope things are going well for you this summer, mine has been busy. I haven't even made it out after the gold yet,

  2. If you're working under water or the crevice back fills, you can use a suction tube or similar device. Best, J.R.


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