Odds and Ends



A miner’s inch of water varies in different States, and is, therefore, not a fixed quantity. In some States it means the quantity of water that will flow through an orifice one inch square on the bottom or side of a box under a pressure of four inches. Under these conditions a miner’s inch will discharge 2259 cubic feet, or 17,648 gallons every twenty-four hours, which is at the rate of 12 gallons a minute. Fifty of these miner’s inches are equal to a cubic foot of water discharged every second. One cubic foot of water a second would be sufficient to supply the wants of seven thousand city dwellers.

In calculating the amount of water required by a stamp mill it is usual to allow 72 gallons for every stamp, 120 gallons for every pan, 75 gallons for every settler, 120 gallons for every Fruevanner, 30 gallons for a concentrator, 350 gallons for a jig, and 7-½ gallons for every horse-power of a boiler each hour. If the water after passing through the mill is impounded and used over again, the loss will be about 25 per cent.

Miners waiting for work


To Find: Multiply the diameter in inches at the small end by one-half the number of inches, and again multiply this product by the length of the log in feet; this product divided by 12 will give the number of feet of one-inch boards the log will make.


For horizontal, tubular and flue boilers, divide the number of feet of heating surface by 15; this will give the horse-power. A cord of pine wood weighing 2,000 pounds is about equal to 1,000 pounds of soft coal for steam purposes. Each foot of grate should burn 20 pounds of soft coal, or 40 of wood, per hour, with a natural draught.


Multiply the area of the cylinder in square inches by the average effective pressure in pounds to the square inch, deducting three pounds per square inch for friction. Multiply this remainder by the speed of the piston in feet per minute, and divide by 33,000. The quotient will be the true horse-power.


The Pelton wheel is in high favor with California miners. When the head of water is known in feet, multiply by 0.0024147 and the product is the horse-power that one miner’s inch of water will give.


The muffle furnaces of the Morgan Crucible Company of Battersea are favorably known. The most useful size is that taking a “D” Muffle, 8-½ inches by 5 inches by 3-¼ inches.


Sometimes the pioneer is forced to attempt a good many investigations with very simple apparatus. Should he possess the following, he can achieve much: A spirit lamp, candle, blow-pipe, magnet, a bottle of hydrochloric acid, quart glass jar, three test tubes with corks, two feet of glass tubing (hard glass), copper wire, two square inches of tin plate, forceps and test paper. Such an outfit could certainly be bought for $1.


A ton of shingle averages 23 cubic feet. A ton of pit sand averages 22 cubic feet. A ton of earth averages 21 cubic feet. A ton of river sand averages 19 cubic feet. A ton of coarse gravel averages 19 cubic feet. A ton of clay averages 18 cubic feet. A ton of marl averages 18 cubic feet. A ton of chalk averages 14 cubic feet.


Quartz, 162 pounds a cubic foot; silver glance, 455 pounds; ruby silver, 362; brittle silver, 386; horn silver, 345; antimony glance, 287; cinnabar, 549; copper pyrites, 262; gray copper, 280; galena, 461; zinc blende, 249; iron pyrites, 312; limestone, 174; clay, 162.


A very useful pump, in regions where transportation is a problem, is the California pump. It is a rough chain-pump. A box 10 inches by 3 inches, inside measurement, and 10 feet to 30 feet in length, according to requirements, forms a tube reaching from the water to be removed to the level at which it is to be discharged. In this an endless band of stout canvas or leather works, passing under a roller at the lower end, which is immersed in the water. At the higher end the belt passes around a drum worked by water, horse, or manual power. On the belt are wooden or metal projections that fit the box, forcing the water upward as the drum revolves.


The prospector, and more especially the miner, will do well to commit the following figures to memory: An Imperial gallon of water weighs 10 pounds. Gallons multiplied by .1606 equals cubic feet. Cubic feet multiplied by 6.288 equals gallons. Gallons multiplied by 277.46 equals cubic inches. Cubic inches multiplied by 0.003604 equals gallons. Cubic feet multiplied by 62.8 equals pounds. Pounds multiplied by .0166 equals cubic feet. Gallons multiplied by 0.004464 equals tons. Tons multiplied by 224 equals gallons. Tons multiplied by 35.97 equals cubic feet. A head of 10 feet gives a pressure of about 4-1/3 pounds to the square inch. Let H represent the head of water in feet, and P the pressure to the square inch. Then: ``` H equals P times 2.311. P equals H times .4326.


To make a fire-proof joint between the lid and body of a retort, or crucible, use the following as a lute: Quartz sand. 8 parts. Clay (pure as possible) 2 parts. Horse dung 1 part. Mix and temper like mortar.


To find the number of cubic feet per fathom of matter in a vein, multiply its thickness in inches by 3. Great care is requisite in estimating the ore in a vein or the amount of mineral in sight. Very clever men often make grave mistakes in such calculations.


Rough smelting may be done with powdered white glass, though either borax or carbonate of soda is better. As soon as the gold is melted and the flux fluid and still, remove the bulk of the flux with an iron spoon, and pour the metal into a clay mould. Crush the flux for gold.


Place a quantity of spruce boughs over a hole before firing the shot, and very few stones will fly.


Squeeze the quicksilver amalgam containing gold through a chamois skin or piece of cotton until it is as dry as you can get it. Then take a large potato, cut off one end and hollow out a piece of it large enough to receive the amalgam. Heat a shovel or a piece of sheet iron red hot, hold the potato up and press the shovel to it, covering the amalgam. As soon as the potato sticks fast to the shovel, turn it over so that the potato is on the top and place it over the fire and keep it red hot until the retorting is finished. As soon as it cools, loosen the potato with a knife, and the gold will be underneath and the quicksilver in the potato. The quicksilver may be recovered by bruising the potato to pulp in a cup with water.



A very simple plan for getting the gold off an amalgamated copper plate is as follows: Take out the surface dirt for the depth of nine inches over an area a little larger than the plate to be scaled; place six bricks around the excavation as supports for the plate. Make a brick fire, and let it burn down to red hot embers. Lay the plate on three iron bars resting on the bricks, and cover the face with strips of old blanket soaked in a strong solution of borax. Keep the blankets wet with the solution, and when the amalgam is white, remove the plate and scrape.


Measure the cubic contents of the mass; multiply this by the weight of one cubic foot of the mineral.

For small masses, where no scales are at hand, fill a bucket with water, and stand it in an empty barrel. Fill the bucket brimful; introduce the rock, or ore, and measure the water it displaces. Find the number of cubic inches in the overflow by reference to the following table:

1 gallon equals 231 cubic inches. 1 quart equals 57.75 cubic inches. 1 pint equals 28.87 cubic inches. 1 gill equals 7.21 cubic inches.

Multiply the total so found by the specific gravity of the ore, and the result will be the answer sought.

Supposing the bottom of the bin to be wedge-shaped, measure half the height from the bottom to the top and multiply the number of feet by the width and length, both in feet. This will give number of cubic feet in the bin. Multiply the number of cubic feet by the weight of one cubic foot of the ore, and the result will show the number of pounds of ore the bin will hold. Divide by 2,000 to reduce to tons.


The mining regulations of every country differ, and the prospector must learn by heart the provisions of the one he works under. A claim notice written with a hard pencil or surveyor’s marking lead on a soft pine board will last for years.


``` Troy Weight. 24 grains 1 pennyweight. 20 pwts. 1 ounce. 12 ounces 1 pound.

Long Measure.
    12 inches                          1 foot.
     3 feet                            1 yard.
     2 yards                         1 fathom.
    16-1/2 feet                         1 rod.
     4 rods                           1 chain.
    10 chains                       1 furlong.
     8 furlongs                        1 mile.

Square Measure.
     9 sq. feet                    1 sq. yard.
    30-1/4 sq. yds.                1 sq. rod.
    40 sq. rods                    1 sq. rood.
     4 sq. roods                   1 sq. acre.
   640 sq. acres                   1 sq. mile.
   An acre is 209 feet square.

Land Measure.
     7.92 inches                       1 link.
    25 links                            1 rod.
     4 rods                           1 chain.
    80 chains                          1 mile.

Avoirdupois Weight.
    16 drams                          1 ounce.
    16 ounces                         1 pound.
    25 pounds                       1 quarter.
     4 quarters                         1 cwt.
    20 cwt. (2,000 pounds)              1 ton.

Apothecary's Weight.
    20 grains                       1 scruple.
     3 scruples                        1 dram.
     8 drams                          1 ounce.
    12 ounces                         1 pound.


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