As we continue to talk about placer deposits and placer mining, since this is the method accessible to us hobbyists, we will mention another method of extracting and recovering gold from these deposits. One of the ways this is done is using what is called a gold cradle, or occasionally a gold rocker.
A gold cradle is essentially a giant rocker, just like you’d imagine a baby being in. It is mechanical and rocks back and forth and performs the same function as a gold pan, except for it is automated and can hold a lot more earth than a hand held pan. It essentially is built with a box on rocking horse legs and can be moved by hand, or in the present you can have it mechanically moved by a motor. It was used to process soil that held gold by washing the dirt off of the gold and letting it slosh out the side, leaving only the valuable, beautiful gold.
Details of the Gold Cradle
The gold rocker is used identically like the gold pan for the small-scale individual or small mining group. You have to use it very carefully or you will end up losing gold. In the attempt at efficiency, you can mess up and lose your valuable gold. The gold cradle holds at least twice the amount of gravel as the gold mining pan and you can get caught up in trying to go too fast. Just slow down and be careful.
Gold cradles are portable, so it makes the most sense to carry them as close to the placer deposit as possible to minimize the carrying of soil back and forth. Gold rockers are oftentimes homemade if they aren’t motorized and you can design it however you want. A popular design usually consists of a box filled with water and a screen, and a canvas, carpet, or tarp placed under the screen. They can also have gold sluices attached with a couple of riffles to catch gold in the dead zones of the water current as well.
Essentially what is going on is that water is suspending all of the lighter materials including gold and washing it through the screen and into the carpet, where it can be placed on a gold wave table or in a gold pan and more meticulously sorted. However, this is just another way to filter out rocks that are too big and to catch larger nuggets.
They say the best size for the holes in the screen are about one-half inch in diameter. It is also said that if you use a single piece of wood or metal and ensure it is smooth, this makes for a much quicker and easy clean up process. If you are making your own, you can do this with lumber and get it done very quickly and cheaply. The gold cradle facilitates the finding of gold! Consider it in your arsenal of tools.