How to Build a Gold Classifier Sifter – Simple and Easy

Don’t want to pay $22 for a gold classifier? How about building a gold classifier for $5-7? I will describe how you can make your own gold classifier, one that works really well and isn’t that difficult to make. I won’t take the credit for this one though. I learned it from a fellow prospector out in the field. He showed me his homemade gold classifier and described the process. When I got home I made one and have use it in the field several times. Here is my summary for building his style of gold classifier.

Supplies Needed to Build the Gold Panning Sifter

A saw, one 5 gallon round plastic bucket, 6 pop rivets, a pop rivet gun, drill (note: you can do this without pop rivets if you don’t have a poprivet tool or drill), wire mesh (I like the 1/4″ square holes. You can purchase this at home depot or you can often find pieces of metal mesh or items that contain metal screens at a thrift store for $1-2). The mesh needs to be about 3-4 inches larger than the diameter of the bucket.

Gold Classifier Instructions

Near the top of the bucket there will be a series of rims. Mark the bucket approximately 3-4″ below the lowest rim and draw a line around the bucket. Now, use the saw to cut the bucket in half at this point. (Note: by cutting the bucket in half, I mean that you should end up with a large ring and a small bucket. The cut should go around the bucket. Not up and down.) Now, take the small bucket, not the one that has the bucket handle. Make another mark about 2″ down from where you cut the bucket.

Again draw a line around the bucket and use the saw to cut a ring. This ring should be about 2″ thick. You may now discard the very bottom piece of the bucket as it won’t be needed. Now set this ring on the wire mesh and draw a circle on the mesh. The circle should be about 1.5″ away from the outside edge of the ring. So if the diameter of the ring is lets say 10″, then the circle you draw should be around 13″ diameter. These numbers are not exact. It all depends on where you cut the bucket and the style of bucket you use.

Now, cut out the circle from the mesh. You are going to rap the mesh onto the ring so it may help to cut some 1″ V shaped cuts into the edge of the mesh to make it easier to fold onto the ring. Set the small ring back onto the the mesh and wrap the edge of the mesh onto the ring. You can hold it in place with your hand or you may secure it with duct tape, which makes it a little easier. Now place the ring with the mesh into the top section of the bucket that had the rims and the handle. Push the ring and mesh down as far as possible. You can use a hammer to get it to set in the bottom more tight. This is important if you are not going to use rivets.

If you will not use rivets, get the ring in really tight and it is good to go. Over time, it may come loose and you might have to pound it back in, though I have one that I did not use rivets on and it has never come loose.

If you have a drill and pop rivet tool, drill maybe six holes through the bucket piece and the ring and mesh.

You can pop rivet the ring into place and it will stay really secure. There you have it, your own homemade gold classifier! The nice thing about this type of gold classifier is that it seats really well into other 5 gallon buckets. These actually hold up really well. I have one that I made many years ago and it is still working well, just as well as my Keene gold classifiers.

About the author

James Cross