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Lead Safety Questions

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I'm looking into getting a turkey cooker and cast iron pot to start melting large amounts of lead. So I've been checking out vids to get a look at others setups and came across a few videos of the aftermath of a lead explosion. Not cool!! Kinda sketched me out a bit cause I don't get how all that moisture would not evaporate before the lead was fully melted. In the vids it looks like the lead was melted then explodes. What worries me is when melting scrap there is always some sort of glue, tape, paint, rubber stripping, ect. on the lead so can the (if any) moisture in these create an explosion? Also, how does the lead melt then explode? I would think it would react during the melt but not explode outta nowhere. I'm sketched any help would be appreciated!


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If you splash water on molten lead it will evaporate. On the other hand if you drop some object that has water inside it into the molten lead and it goes below the surface the water will instantly vaporize and blow lead all over you. Lead is very hard to get off your skin until it has cooled but by that time your skin will look like bacon. :shock:

Small amounts of paint and glue will rise to the top of the pot where they can be skimmed off.

 

Main thing to remember is Don't fool with stuff you don't understand ;)

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Be careful not only moisture but something too cold (like the ladle you are using) can do the same thing, wear long sleeve shirts,pants, safety glasses. Do in a ventilated area.

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I melt a lot of lead. I did see a ten lb pot explode and almost empty into the air at a buddies house. If the lead I'm melting is sketchy looking cold or think there could be moisture in it I'll lay it out and hit it with a torch before I start adding it to the pot. Small pieces of lead will heat up fast hold the heat and any moisture will evaporate off. Wear gloves watch for splatter. Keep your spoon or what ever touches molten lead hot. Outside with a breeze is best.

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I mess around with a butane or propane torch but thats where it ends, that stuff is dangerous and even outside it's hard not to smell it and breath it in. Man, if any of molten lead got on you WOW, talk about hell, that's it.

 

Even melted glue from a glue gun will burn you .

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I wear a military gas mask when melting the thing is great no smell and gives complete face protection if any accidents, it even has a spot for a cantien . I also wear a zipper down hoody incase I get splattered I can take it off rather quickly and don't have to pull it over my head.


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I wear a military gas mask when melting the thing is great no smell and gives complete face protection if any accidents, it even has a spot for a cantien . I also wear a zipper down hoody incase I get splattered I can take it off rather quickly and don't have to pull it over my head.

 

 

 

 

 

Well that's good, the fumes will shorten your lifespan for sure.

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 I do it outside using a gas burner because I cant get those lead melters where I live. i use tire weights that I get for free. goggles and fully covered in clothing. I have read tire weights are no good due to impurities but never an issue for me. pour in the molds without hooks until everything looks good ie the mold is warmed up enough. stay upwind. keep dog locked inside. of course dog will escape at least twice.


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Just came back from ctleadfest, we probably melted several hundred pounded of lead without a problem.

 

I've worked with lead for years. My grandfather taught me when I was 12 or 14, my dad taught me as well. It's not hard, it's not dangerous with some common sense. I've used electric melting pots as well as other methods. Currently I use a turkey fryer and cast iron pot. For small things the electric pot is great, anything above 3 or 4oz I like flame, cast iron pot, etc. work outside, use heavy clothing, gloves and eye protection at all times. You learn by doing and making mistakes. Put water into molten lead and you learn REAL quick how dangerous it can be . Its bad, real bad... Mistakes will happen, stuff will blow up but becareful and take proper precautions and you should avoid major problems.

 

Ideally find someone that's done it before or go to a leadfest event. Plenty of people to help or learn from.

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Thanks Drew c. I really wanted to hit up the leadfest but it was just too far for me. I'm not really affraid of the lead per say just what the neighbors will say/do if a mishap happens. My neighbors houses are rather close to mine. I was just worried about the type of materials being melted whether or not they might hold moisture and explode the lead after it has melted. I like the torch idea and also thinking it would probably be best to do a pot at a time, emptying then melting down a new batch with nothing in the pot I would think that should help evaporate any minor moisture. Ok well thanks guys once again you put my worries to ease I hope anyone new to melting in the future will find this thread useful.


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Moisture or water is the biggest issue imho. Make sure its dry. If you're not sure don't melt it. You might look funny with one eye... Paints, coatings, etc might be hazardous as well but working outside should minimize potential problems. We had some lead from a door today, melting it was a bit messy. Lots of smoke from the wood. More of an annoyance than a real problem. If you're really concerned about fumes find a respirator.

 

Regarding neighbors, yes they can be a problem. Splatered lead is probably only dangerous close by, fumes might be more of an issue if you have neighbors that like to whine.

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If you splash water on molten lead it will evaporate.

 

I'm sorry Moocks but I have to take exception to that statement. Water on already molten lead is a guaranteed disaster. When water hits molten lead it instantly flashes to steam. That's an instant increase of 1700% in volume. When that happens it takes a lot of lead with it. I've had it happen. I know for sure what it does. Even adding something made of lead that has a hollow cavity in it can be big trouble. When it begins to melt the air in the cavity expands from the heat and does the same thing. Molten lead flying everywhere. Protective gear is cheap insurance. Full face mask, long sleeves and gloves are a lot better than a emergency room visit or even worse, loss of eyesight. Using that stuff is not being a wuss. It's being smart.

 

Good luck.

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