Finding Gold


Cree Vicar Dave - SASS Life #49907

We have a mining stage at our Cowboy Action Shooting™ Club.  On it are knock down targets, a mine car, pop can thrower and recently a miner panning for gold using a flume and sifter.  One of our members, Kid Alfred, came to me with the idea of having a flume come out of the main berm.  The water would stream out and go into a pond and be pumped back up to the top of the flume.  And a miner working a sifter.  Well I grabbed the thought and ran with it.

To keep the new prop out of harm’s way the flume was installed up range on a side berm.  This achieved two things.  It is up close and personal, and it makes it far less accessible to hot lead.

The flume was made out of treated lumber.  The bottom is a 2” X 8” X 8’ pressure treated board.  The sides are 6” treated deck boards.  It is supported with 4” X 4” treated posts.  The whole thing is held together with deck screws.

A kidney shaped plastic garden pond was placed in the ground at the bottom of the flume with a garden water pump connected too a G.F.I.  A hose carries the water to the top of the flume.  The wire and hose are hidden behind the 4” X 4” posts.

The sifter was made out of treated deck boards and mounted to galvanized angle iron.  The sifter handle is also made out of galvanized angle iron.  A screen was placed in the sifter that has rocks in it that are painted gold. 

The miner is made out of quarter inch steel; with shoulder and elbow hinged with three eights inch bolts, washers and locking nuts.  The miner’s hand is also attached to the angle iron handle of the sifter with a bolt.  You might be able to use treated plywood to build the miner silhouette.  I just used a piece of steel I had laying around the farm.  A metal fence post was driven into the ground on the backside of the flume bottom and the miner was bolted onto the post.  Our resident painter, “Wolverine Wrangler”, painted the gold-dust panner.                                                                

Next comes the fun part, activating the miner’s arm.  I contacted a junk yard and got a windshield wiper motor.  The two speed type works best.  I used the low speed.  Make sure the offset arm is on the motor or you could make one.  Next, locate a good spot on the backside of the flume to mount the motor.  Then a piece of quarter X 1 ” steel was cut to size with a hole in each end to accommodate.  After making sure everything is in line and working properly cover the motor to protect it from the elements.  Next run wires for the 12-volt DC windshield wiper motor and the 110-volt AC water pump motor.  We don’t have electricity at the club.  A generator with both 110 volt AC and 12-volt DC power is used.  When the power is turned on the old miner goes to work sifting for gold.  It’s kind of a “Rube Goldberg” colossal glittering jewel.  This prop is a golden treasure of entertainment that adds to the enjoyment of our sport.

They say, “Gold is where you find it.”  Gold is one of the most sought after metals in the world.  From the beginning of mankind it has been highly desired.  But there are things of more value, like wisdom.  It says in Proverbs 8:10-11 “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.”

Be sure to follow all safety procedures when working on projects.  Check with the people where you buy the pond on how to keep the water clear.

Hope to see ya on the trail.

God bless,

Cree Vicar Dave