EZMoney Bob

Mystery Backpack Dredge

11 posts in this topic

A friend gave  me this little backpack dredge.   It came with a nifty little "Couple Jet" nozzle made by Gold Divers, Inc., formerly of Mound House, NV, but now out of business and retired.  The dredge didn't come with an engine or pump and I'm trying to figure out what would be the best pump/engine to get for it.  I understand, but not for sure, that the Couple Jet or Infinity type of nozzles work best with a higher volume lower pressure pump, as opposed to suction or jet nozzles that work best with higher pressure and somewhat lower flow.

I checked with the guys who now make the Packrat 2 dredge and they didn't recognize this dredge.  The overall dimensions are about 2 feet by 3 feet, the bottom is completely flat and not pontoon shaped like the Packrat dredges. Possibly Gold Divers made a backpack dredge and it's one of theirs?  Sure appreciate any comments or suggestions for a pump or a picture of a complete dredge from this unknown manufacturer.  Since I got the dredge for free I can afford to spend some money improving it and also on a good pump.

Thank you,

Bob

DredgeLR.jpg

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Blast from the past! The float with integrated box is a Keene 1.5" model from the mid-1970's. In fact one of the first gold dredges I stocked and sold as a Keene dealer was that little dredge in 1976. As a reminder I am getting old that is 40 years ago now.

If I recall correctly the tiny two stroke motor was made by Olson & Rice, pump by Keene. The pump had a square plate on the bottom that mounted on the tail end of the dredge over the sluice, in that depression where the lock tabs are. This is one of the motor and pumps for that dredge at this thread at TreasureNet. The little pump was maybe 30 gpm at most so it would not take much to replace it.. Any pump currently sold to run a small dredge would do the trick.

This was normally a suction nozzle type unit or used a Keene power jet. The small couple jet you have was made for some other dredge.

In my opinion this dredge was ahead of its time. Great little sling over your back crevice sniping unit.

I will look in my pile of old documents and see if I can find any other info on this unit.

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Thanks Steve.  I'd looked at backpack dredges on Keene's website but their current models don't bear much resemblance to this vintage dredge! Now I know where it came from.  I've always liked the concept of the Couple Jet nozzles although I've never used one and getting one along with this dredge is a real bonus.  No telling how it ended up with the Keene dredge but it seems to be the perfect size.  Too bad Gold Divers closed, I think it was a positive closing, based on their retirement.  I would have enjoyed owning a company like that but if it was for sale I don't remember and I probably couldn't have swung the deal anyway.

I remember those Olson and Rice two strokes.  Seems like they powered all kinds of tools and equipment back in their heyday.  I just discovered via Google that they also made model airplane engines.  Their total engine sales were estimated at 500,000!  The local USFS Fire Station has some small backpack pumps they use for mop up, I'll stop by and see if I can get some pump ideas from them.

I'll follow up here when I get this thing functional.  Thanks for offering to look for some documents but based on previous experiments with antiquated Keene equipment, they are pretty helpful so I might be able to get some info from them. 

Bob

 

 

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As Steve said any small pump will work well with the two inch jet. Keene P90 with the Honda GX 50 0r Proline HP 100 with the Honda GX 50. I would spend the money to set it up with a good dredge pump as I'm sure that set up will hold the value at the used market.

This may be of help?

58eeb444628c6_gd2(2016_12_1201_09_50UTC).jpg.1da056209e49cd706088372c8897bd62.jpg58eeb48fc2a14_couplejet(2016_12_1201_09_50UTC).jpg.b169da2917accde4460d02add0708c6b.jpg

58eeb55a80ffb_jet(2016_12_1201_09_50UTC).jpg.265625d1f426f50a9cc8d2c3c6244586.jpg

58eeb61b27fc8_gd3specs(2016_12_1201_09_50UTC).jpg.d2a9d40e4ecb98d5b0a93982106b31be.jpg

58eeb5c5b87e4_couplejet(2016_12_1201_09_50UTC).jpg.46f85192bd290af74644469d8679912e.jpg

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Great information.  Thank you for taking the time to post it.

Bob

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Yeah, rare stuff, copied for my files - thanks!

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I got a message on another forum from the folks at Armadillo Mining Supply in Grants Pass, Oregon (they once explained to me how a store in Oregon got named Armadillo, but I can't dredge it up).   They also have one of these old Keene backpack dredges. It came with a two stroke "Petco" brand motor.  It has a Keene pump attached and maybe Keene ended up going with Petco after Ohllson & Rice closed down.   I've never heard of Petco before and they were evidently made in Canada.  The original engine needs work and they have temporarily replaced it with a Honda WX10. 

IMG_5014.jpg

Shelleys mini dredge.jpg

IMG_5015.jpg

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The Petco was later and is basically just a cheapie chainsaw motor. Did not hang around long in the Keene lineup before getting replaced by better motors.

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I think Armadillo is interested in restoring their dredge to its original state, Petco and all, for historical display purposes.  The good  news for me is that it works well with the little 4 stroke Honda WX10 that they temporarily installed.   With the allegedly more efficient Couple Jet nozzle I should be in business.  Main reason I've been leaning toward the small WX10 over the WX15 or other larger small pumps is the lighter weight that goes with the small size.  

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I have a Homelite  2 stroke that puts out 28 gpm and only weighs a measly 9 pounds, almost half as much as the WX10, but it screams like an angry hornet. I can't ship it tho. Ran into problems already .FedEx and UPS will not ship used engines. It works good for a 1.5 inch dredge.

 

-Tom

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