As most people who have tried it know, gold panning can be very rewarding, especially once the process is nearly complete and the glitter of the precious metal shines through. However, getting to that point can be tedious, especially when it comes to removing the various rocks and other larger debris that accompany the desired material into the pan.
The simplest and most common method to sort out the larger material is by using something called a classifier. Normally, classifiers are nothing more than some form of a screen assembly designed to allow small pieces of gravel and hopefully gold through while stopping larger rocks and other objects. Unfortunately, most classifiers are bulky and sometimes heavy making it difficult to transport them conveniently for any distance.
Now, Camel Mining Products Inc., noted for their different gold panning machines, has recently introduced a rather unique, compact, lightweight, and effective separator, called the Pocket Classifier. Simple in design and shaped like a pocket, this unique classifier is made of a heavy plastic mesh. The main opening is large enough for the blade of a shovel to fit while the mesh itself has openings about 1/8 inch in size which for most cases is adequate to allow the majority of gold to easily pass through.
Besides using the Pocket Classifier as a separator while panning, Camel also recommends that this unique screen be used on a suction line of a dredge to keep rocks and trash out of the pump.
Another recommended use of the Pocket Classifier is to help find a nugget which has been detected with a metal detector. One can simply grab a handful or shovel full of dirt containing the nugget and dump it into the Pocket Classifier. Any nugget greater than 1/8 of an inch in size will remain in the screen, and can be quickly recovered.
A QUICK TEST:
Testing this rather unique accessory was really quite easy since I just happened to have some gravel I had been meaning to pan lying around in a 5 gallon bucket. To test the Pocket Classifier, I merely shoveled some of the gravel into the Pocket Classifier and gave the classifier a few shakes over my gold pan.
I tried two different sizes of shovels, one being a short handle type with a standard blade and the second, a compact folding type. The blade of the larger shovel did not quite fit the opening completely, but by sticking the nose in I was able to allow the material to slide off into the bag. The folding shovel worked very well and would easily fit into it, making the loading process easier.
The test material I was sampling was comprised primarily of small to medium gravel and separation was quick and simple. Once separated, I quickly panned the screened material. To test the convenience, I also panned an equal amount of material not using the separator.
When comparing the ease of panning between the two tests, the advantage of classification of materials was apparent. The panning of screened sample was much easier and the process was faster.
The testing did result in a nice little surprise, my test material contained several very small but beautiful flakes of gold. Now, all I have to do is pack up the Pocket Camel, a small shovel, and go get some more gravel. Hmm, I wish I could remember just where I got that last bucket of gravel.
The objective of the classifier is to expedite the panning process, which the Pocket Classifier does surprisingly well. Obviously, it is not intended to take the place of larger classifiers where large amounts of material are to be screened.
Light weight, portability, and flexibility are the Pocket Classifier's major assets, all of which are important to the prospector who wants to get away from the usual locations and search quickly and efficiently. If youre looking for that accessory that makes your recreational prospecting a little easier, you might want to give the Pocket Classifier a try. You can order Camel's Pocket Classifier for a mere $6.95, postage paid, from: Camel Mining Products Inc. P.O. Box 3179, Quartzite, AZ 85346.