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GoldBellMining

New To Dredging In Alaska

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Hey guys!

 

My names Cory and this is my first post on your fine post. I was brought here by a post from Steve on the Alaska Mining and Diving Stores site, whom has given me much knowledge on my research phase this winter. I am quickly approaching the time for gear and I would like to get some of your guy's veteran input on the subject.

 

I am probably going to purchase a 4" Dredge, because from my understanding this is the smallest dredge that one should purchase if seriously considering an sort of real income.

 

I am interested in the dive suit and what I should seriously consider purchasing, I am pretty sure the dives arent that deep in the creeks and beds, but being a novice in the matter I would like to know what some of you use in comparison or what you would suggest, I intend to work long hours.

 

I listed these two things because, I feel they are the most important buys at this point.

 

Any input to a newbie like me is Welcome!

 

Thanks,

Cory

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Hi Cory,

It really depends on what creek for how long. Anything around Anchorage runs off snowfields and is ice cold all summer. I do not know a single serious local dredger using anything but a drysuit unless they are running hot water. Any good drysuit with attached boots will work IF YOU TAKE CARE OF IT. Miners buy drysuits and often complain about wearing them out, punching holes it them, etc. They are made for diving, not mining, so smart preventive care is the name of the game.

It would not be impossible to use a wetsuit locally. Some have. I did one summer, my first with a suit in Alaska. If you are young and tough you can survive most anything.

If you work interior Alaska streams some can get almost warm in summer and a wetsuit is more a possibility.

If you get a drysuit, my main advice is get one with a relief zipper or at least a front zipper entry. I tend to rear entry suits with a relief zipper myself, but either way, you want a way to get rid of that last cup of coffee quickly.

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Thanks for your advice once again Steve, I've been looking at a few suits, but being on a tight budget is not the way to go when you are getting into gold mining. I was just looking for ways I could scrape a few dollars off the top until I get a little return or get another paycheck lol, Gold mining is a very expensive habit.I am thinking my Gold dredging career is going to revolve around free sites like petersville, the pay to play sites like chicken and crow creek, and I have a few potential guys who might let me out with them for the first year, but noone wants to be held back by a noobie! lol

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Cory, 

 

A dry suit is real nice to have and sometimes you can come across one cheaper on ebay. Being a little less fortunate than some I use a 2 layer 8 mm wet suit ($200) and it works for me in 35 to 40 degree water with a full face mask, adding a heater ( $3-400 ) would work great. Good luck out there!!

 

Justin

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If I was doing it on the cheap it would be a good pair of neoprene chest waders and shoulder length gloves. My first ounce of gold would buy the drysuit. If you can't find the first ounce of gold - you do not need the drysuit!

 

Definately considered just using my neoprene waders, from my experience in the streams in Alaska, your probably not going to be in that deep of water, but thats not to be said for all of the creeks and streams, I just want to make sure I'm as prepared as I can be for any Situation! I guess thats where I should be researching the grounds I'm going to be mining!

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Also.Remeber before you go into nowhere land.Make sure you see all that you have for your dredging.I brought all that I thought I needed with my 4 in dredge.40 miles upstream.I did not have the brass nipple fitting for my air tank to hose.

Can`t get one in the bush.So geuss what?I had to travel all the way back to find one,then return a day later.One litle item can spoil your trip big time!

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I've dredged in ice cold water in the summer in AK and ice cold water in November in WA.  been buying the $150 tommysports farmerjohn wetsuits with the connected hood and getting by fine (on ebay.  make sure to get the blue/black one with connected hood).  they fall apart middle to end of second season, but do the trick and you get a new one before they get all mangled and stiffen up.  Will definetely keep you comfortable (enough) long enough to figure out if this is for you.  7mm harvey's neoprene socks and 7mm neoprene gloves are mandatory in that cold of water.  Make sure you coat with 3m 5200 liberally on knees, elbows, fingers, and all seams to protect the neoprene from erosion (thanks to Steve for that last one).  Let us know how things progress for you.  Also, I'd get the largest dredge you can handle packing in.  5" or 6" are double the weight but about the same hassle to drage in and will get 2-3 times the production.

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I agree with Erik, the Tommysports wet suit I bought this year is a decent value and worked for me in the rivers here in Idaho.  I'm not sure of the water temps but it is snow runoff but likely not as cold as Alaska, but I haven't had any issues with it so far this season.

 

JR

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