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Messages - Dig-in

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Tips and Gadgets / Re: Mesh
« on: October 06, 2015, 11:11:07 PM »
Hi Mick,
 Yes it may be OK Thanks. I haven't had a real good look at it with the loupe yet though.
We were up over the ridge again & it was very quiet over there. Couple of others there the first couple of days but that was all. Only a few thirsty kangaroos to keep us company as very dry. Usually a good breeze up there so if you keep out of the sun it is reasonably comfortable as pretty warm during the day. We just spent 12 days out there over the school hols. The fossicking area is massive when you have a good look around. We checked out a few different areas & dug a few holes some not very productive . pulled out a big billy about 3ft round but nothing under there but deco. There is lots of wash close to the surface in places as well. Good digging but also not always producing the goods unfortunately.
We had a good time camping out there & may have stayed a few more days but the evening storms were building up so we stuck to plans & got out of there.
We had a few issues. generator was playing up but got that sorted, chainsaw was a bit intermittent.
We went into Sapphire for the market which was a bit quiet on the Sunday. This was the second last 1 for the year. Dropped into the pub at Rubyvale for lunch & had a delicious seafood basket. When we were leaving Michelle noticed she did not have her wallet. I told her I remembered seeing it on the rear step of the cruiser at the shop in Sapphire & did she pick it up. The answer was in the negative! So off we went back to sapphire & every stop we had been to in between. Someone had suggested that if it was picked up on the road it may have been handed at to Rubyvale shop (Just a few doors back from the pub). We gave them a try & sure enough it was there, all intact. Apparently it must have fallen off when we chucked a u turn before lunch. Thank goodness for honest people!
 Did you get out that way this year?
I did see a few guys parking at the start of featherbed run on the way out but I reckon she was getting hotter so better them than me.

Tips, Gadgets & Brag Board. / Re: DIY Light Weight Mike's Hand Trommel
« on: October 05, 2015, 08:36:30 PM »
Great work Mike,
I had seen this trammel before but I thought it looked a bit light duty.
If you have been using it for 6 years it is a lot sturdier than it looks.
Very thorough instructions you have on your site.
All ideas are appreciated & when backed up with great instructions & photo's even better.
Again Well Done  beers


Tips and Gadgets / Re: Mesh
« on: October 05, 2015, 08:08:42 PM »
Hi Andrew,
 You have similar travel time to myself so yeah you have to make a trip out of it.
It can sometimes be harder to get the kids away from the computer than it is to find sapphires.
All the best with your trip & hope you do find something nice.
Don't make the young fella work to hard though he is on holidays too.
Good luck

Tips and Gadgets / Re: Mesh
« on: October 02, 2015, 06:13:41 PM »
Thanks Andrew,
 Looks like you have an efficient system worked out.
I am presuming you have water in the creek where you are digging & working the sieve in the water.
Are you close enough to destination to do weekend trips or are you planning a longer run?
Have a good one

Tips and Gadgets / Re: Mesh
« on: October 01, 2015, 04:16:56 PM »
I would think that 3,6.5,25 would be a fair mix. That would give some clear difference between 2nd & 3rd sieve. What gets thru the 6mm mesh is generally smallish but can still be a nice stone.
25mm to 6.5mm would put a lot of large stone on your 6mm sieve. It could be worth using the 12mm also if they stack. You would not want to hide that nice 5mm stone under a 25mm piece of rock.
My primary sieve is 20mm & the rocks that get thru there can be a bit too large if their happens to be a lot around that size.
Of course it also depends on what you are sieving . If a major amount of your material is 3-6mm that may not suit. Quite often I would only check the 3mm sieve every second time as there is not so much small stone. If you are digging creek beds you may have a lot more smaller stone. I have dry sieved a bit in gullies when specking & you do get a lot of small stone in some of the likely looking spots.
Good luck next week.
See attached photo of some of the clearer sapphires from recent trip to Tomahawk Ck. The green near the 8 is just under 6 ct.

Tips and Gadgets / Re: Mesh
« on: October 01, 2015, 02:36:58 PM »
Hi Andrew,
 3mm woven mesh would be perfect but I have not been able to locate up here. I came across this old guard which had 2.5mm holes & thought I would give a try. I was happy with the result  :) . It is also very sturdy & has not deformed like the 3/16 mesh. The small sapphires are not much good for anything but encouragement unfortunately but once thru the Willoughby takes no extra sorting as the small sieve is 3mm & anything smaller will go thru that. So I would rather use 2.5mm than 5mm when removing dirt.

Tips and Gadgets / Re: Mesh
« on: October 01, 2015, 11:40:39 AM »
Hi Madden,
I have no idea what some of the suppliers are selling on the web as descriptions are all over the place some are wire size & some a mesh size. Photos are usually an example of style not actual mesh size.
 I have been able to get 3/16 (space between wires) woven mesh from McGinns Eng in Mackay. They usually carry a couple of different sizes but that is the smallest. Maybe $50/m from memory.
I have made a throw screen with that. The primary 20mm mesh can also be picked up as second hand cargo barrier for vehicles. This is much tougher mesh than you can buy. Most have rect mesh but some are square. I picked up 1 from local recycler.
I found that for a throw screen 3/16 is small enough . I made a shaker sieve from part of a 60L drum with this mesh but found that it stretches & becomes too large. I like to catch the smaller stones as there are more smaller than larger stones & feel that the small sapphires , spinel  give you a sign you are in the right area. It also helps to keep the young fella interested when something shows up.
I have just changed 1 of my shaker sieves to a 2.5mm stainless mesh ( Round holes that means a bit more solid area than woven mesh) which was a guard from an exhaust . This seemed to work well with a little extra working in the sieve.
FYI I have been using a 20mm mesh screen when shovelling from ground bucket to remove the larger stones at the dig point. No need to carry rubbish out of the hole. NOTE I always check the 20mm prior to tipping out. You never know what might show up. Then I put thru shaker. I found this easy system to use & more versatile when you come across different ground types than the throw screen, you can work a little more in the shaker if needed. The throw screen works very well in sand/stone or dry dirt/stone but struggles if the ground is clayey or lumpy.

Good luck with your search.

Fossicking Locations / Re: Central Queensland Fossicking Locations
« on: June 17, 2015, 01:44:04 PM »
H Mick,
 Good to see you have been able to get away & a fair old trip it was by the sounds of it.
You have some nice stones there especially some of those blue ones. The last time we were at that hole (last yr) it was full of water. Has the tree come down yet?
We went to Tomahawk at Easter but decided to try a different area. We went up on the ridge past the old telephone box. On the creek side of the ridge. We found a few bits & that 1 bigger 1 which was all by its lonesome in the middle of the paddock. Still had a good time though.
It was a good shady area with good breezes when the weather is a hotter.
I have been looking into gold myself & may give it a go down the track. I can't really see any gold in the photo though.
You must be ready to go back to work for a rest after that trip.

Fossicking Locations / Re: Central Queensland Fossicking Locations
« on: June 17, 2015, 10:40:30 AM »
That would be a great subject. Ned Kelly is always going to be an Aussie favourite. I hope he is able to find someone who could do something like that 1 day.
 I have not seen much carving of sapphires other than Star sapphires. I would imagine it would be quite a task & risky also.

Fossicking Locations / Re: Central Queensland Fossicking Locations
« on: June 17, 2015, 10:03:28 AM »
Hi Lefty,
 That is a lovely blue stone that your Dad had found   Droo, We would all wish to find something as beautiful as that. Just a bit more fuel for the fire. Thanks for the photo.

Fossicking Locations / Re: Central Queensland Fossicking Locations
« on: June 16, 2015, 03:26:19 PM »
Hi ChrisH,
 The designated fossicking areas cover a lot of ground. A lot of this ground has been worked over to some extent. But I think there is still a lot of sapphires out there waiting for the lucky fossicker to pick them up.
I have been fossicking at CQ area  for the last 5 or so years during school holiday breaks when we can get away. Although we have not found anything spectacular we have certainly found some cutters & lots of bits & pieces. We generally keep anything that looks like it might sapphire or zircon etc . I generally prefer the Tomahawk creek area these days. I did get a 95ct green/yellow last time but it is poor quality even though you can see thru it there is cracks & bubbles all thru. Still I am happy to find such a large piece & it could have just as easily been a good stone so we keep our hopes up.
All the DF areas are worth looking at. When I first started I would just look around areas that looked like they have had work done recently. Usually if there are still people digging they will pass on a bit of local info. All info helps.  Have a look at what sort of ground people are digging in for that particular spot. But be careful if you think that someone may still be digging in that spot as nobody is happy about someone else picking the eyes out of there spot. The usual etiquette is if you see a bucket or digging gear left in a hole then someone is still working there so keep clear of that spot.
As Lefty says as a fossicker we can only do so much as we do not have access to mechanical digging or sorting equipment so generally we are only looking in the upper layers of dirt & gravel although you can go to 2m deep if you have enough time & energy.
You need to locate the layer of gravel which may hold sapphires. Some of these areas will have gravel just under the surface & some may be much deeper, Some areas will have multiple layers of gravel so what might look like it has been already done has another layer 500mm below. Mostly I would be looking in areas that others have worked initially.
 It is sometimes hard to tell if you are digging in old tailings from previous diggings which have been recovered by dirt. If I find a mixture of larger stones with the gravel then I would say that it has not been dug before because normally the larger stones are removed prior to sieving & don't end up remixed with the sieved gravel. Of course if you start getting sapphires that would be an even better sign.
There is a lot of Qld mixed up with the stones but it is fun separating them.
If you like to keep near the townships a good place to start is the Mt Clifford area thru the fence at Graves Hill. The wash is shallow there if you can find a fresh area. At this time of year I would expect to find a few others in that area who might give you a few tips. Some of the grey nomads are there for months .
If you are there on a Sunday don't miss out on the markets at Sapphire. Lots of cut & uncut stones there for sale by the locals & some other market stuff which you might find useful. There will also be lots of people with maybe some local info.
I picked up a video doco made by a couple of Swiss guys at the CQ gemfields a few years back & have watched it many times. It does give you an idea of the area & what to look for. It is called ' The Call Of The Sapphire'. I also watch it when I would like to be out there but can't. You might find that interesting if you see it. I think you will only pick it up at shops/market at gemfields.
Anyhow good luck with your trip & don't expect to get a lot of good sapphires every time you dig but I would not discourage you from hoping for that.

Tips, Gadgets & Brag Board. / Re: Willoughby Design (Mudtank)
« on: June 12, 2015, 09:50:46 PM »
Well done. She looks the goods. beers  . Nothing like the satisfaction of making something yourself to help you find your shiny stones.
Good luck with your next trip.

Tips, Gadgets & Brag Board. / Re: Willoughby Design (Mudtank)
« on: June 10, 2015, 02:17:05 PM »
Sorry this photo did not attach first time. Brett

Tips, Gadgets & Brag Board. / Re: Willoughby Design (Mudtank)
« on: June 10, 2015, 02:12:24 PM »
Hi Andrew, I have been using a Willoughby at Qld Gemfields for the last few years & have never found an issue with the sieves coming out of their cradle. They tend to lift slightly on the down stroke but the up & down motion you require is not that savage to cause any issues. I  made my own Willoughby after searching for any picture or drawing I could find on the internet which as you may have already found was not a lot. My unit is based on the drawing by Sandgroper also but a different approach, ( I have attached a photo but this will probably not show up straight away until OK'd by ALF. I have been a member for quite a while but have never had much to contribute.) As I have access to a welder I welded what I could rather than bolts. I just used bolts on items which would need to be disassembled for transport. I use a 1/2 plastic 205L drum as my water container & even this can fill with mud after a couple of days which requires emptying & refilling with water. Initially I had a base similar to drawing with a suitable bolt welded to it to mount the upright on, I have used round pipe for upright & handle. I now have a short piece of a star picket as the base with a flat plate & the vertical bolt welded to that. The height & dimensions are also similar to Sandgropers & I find it suitable for myself (over 6ft) & my wife & 11 jr old son. The actual setup dimensions for the spring will be dependant on the weight of the cradle & the loaded sieves/sieves this is why they are usually made with a few adjustable positions. A rough setup to get a mid way position & some adj spots either way will cover most situations. The diameter of the water container governs the distance the cradle is mounted from the pivot point. I have found that if the spring (Trampoline mat springs are ideal) has enough tension to start extending when loaded this is about right. The operation of the willoughby is to push down lightly to dunk the sieves & let the spring do the upstroke. You control how much the sieves come up by keeping the weight of your hand on the handle. I would usually roll the stones around in the top sieve by hand a little after a couple of dunks to help clean them if required. This assists the smaller stones to fall thru to the lower sieve if you are using 1. We are chasing sapphires so we use 1/8 & 1/4 sieves. When sieving I start with a little harsher bouncing to get everything settled & cleaned , then tend to gentle off a little. I feel that when you have the concentric rings occurring this is a good motion to finish off with. I hope this has been helpful as I have picked up a lot of good tips on this site from other generous ALFers like yourself .

Show off your Gems / Re: looks like I just missed the cold spell
« on: July 05, 2014, 06:41:09 AM »
Thanks Mick, good to see you did OK. We`are heading back out today for a week. We will be heading to the same spot & may have to have a little look at the area you have described. It looks as though it might be just a little cooler now (FREEZING) so we have plenty of warm gear . It should be perfect during the day though . Thanks for the directions to the waterhole we went & had a look & there is plenty of good water. I hope I will have something nice to post a picture of when we get back. Cheers

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