A rocker has the appearance of a folded up sluice that has been more developed. A rocker is much simpler to move from one place to another and it is able to process a larger amount of dirt than a pan can. It is in general not simple to process more than half a cubic yard of dirt per day for the standard miner by merely using a pan. On the other hand a couple people using a rocker can run anywhere from two to five cubic yards of dirt in just one day alone.
Rockers are built in three different parts; they consist of a body or what is known as a sluice box, a screen and an apron. The underside part of the body holds the riffles, which is where the gold is going to be fixed in. The screen then takes care of catching the harder materials and this is also the area where the clay can get broken up to remove all the little pieces of gold. The apron is used to carry all the materials to the head of the rocker.
A rocker is similar to a sluice in the way that it can be rocked back and forth or sideways in order to hurl or toss the gravel around a little bit more and help the gold to settle in a bit better. This also has a long piece of nappy carpet and this is what is known as the apron. The gravel flows along the apron and the carpet nap grabs hold onto the gold flakes and hangs on to them. The main objective is that the apron be set up at somewhat of a steep angle, which can be anywhere from thirty to forty five degrees.
The riffles prevent any gold that gets over the apron. In standard mining work, the rocker is cleaned up after each two to three hours, or when rich ground is worked on and gold starts to show itself on the apron or in the riffles. In cleaning up after a run, water is poured through as the washer is lightly rocked, and the sand and the dirt on the top surface are washed away.
The apron is then thrown into a pan. The material on the back of the riffles in the sluice is taken up by the use of a flat scoop that is situated at the head of the sluice and then washed down softly one or two times with clean water. The gold stays behind on the boards, and then it is scraped up and placed into the pan with the concentrate from the apron. You will also need to make sure to clean the apron and it can be taken off for cleaning by simply fastening it to a couple of thin boards and these should be fastened to the 2 x 4’s that are in the corners of the box.
More often than not this job is done by having one person shovel the dirt over the screen and he will also need to take care of checking on the supply of water, which can be done by rerouting a stream or by using a bucket. A second person can then be in charge of rocking the machine from one side to another by jerking it. The water will make sure to wash the water down the apron to the sluice area and then out the back door of the rocker. As soon as the rocker is full of sand and gold (we hope), the rocker then needs to be cleaned out.
You will then need to move the apron out and wash it very cautiously in a bucket of water so that the gold settles down to the bottom. Then scrape and brush the sand out from behind the riffles. The sand and the gravel from the sluice and the apron area need to be panned in order to get the gold out or you can pan it.
While it is true that the sluice and rocker need panning or amalgamation at the end of the process in order to get the gold out, panning the concentrate from either one of these is a lot simpler then just panning straight dirt.