541Wiant

Lead Melting

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My father in law recently gave me a good amount of sheet lead. After cleaning it and making ingots I decided to cast some jigs out of it.  I realized they were very soft much softer than those I have made from old sinkers. why is this? . 

 

Are there benefits to soft lead? 

 

Is there any way to make the lead harder? 

 

Or do I just look past this observation as it is not important?

 

Ben 

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Pure lead is pretty soft.  Most sinker manufacturers or home bullet makers harden lead with antimony & tin combinations. Tin mixes readily with lead. Antimony requires higher smelting temps to combine with lead.  You probably won't be able to find those metals unless you go online. If you can't find those, most tire balancing weights have a lead / tin / antimony alloy.  Usually about a pound of those with a pound of pure lead will yield a satisfactory pot of lead for pouring sinkers etc.  Also, you can usually find old pewter mugs & plates at thrift stores pretty cheap.  Pewter is mostly tin with some other metals mixed in.  I don't know proper proportions, but you could probably experiment a bit to get the results you want. 

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Sheet lead is my fav stuff . I wouldn’t even worry about cleaning it and pouring ingots . Just cut with tin snips and toss in pot skim the top and pour away ... 

 

bet ya they weigh more then the ones ya made from old sinkers too . Pop them on scale . 

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13 mins ago, Wire For Fire said:

Sheet lead is my fav stuff . I wouldn’t even worry about cleaning it and pouring ingots . Just cut with tin snips and toss in pot skim the top and pour away ... 

 

bet ya they weigh more then the ones ya made from old sinkers too . Pop them on scale . 

Any good sources for cheap sheet lead?

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36 mins ago, t_man7 said:

Any good sources for cheap sheet lead?

 Masonry/Masons  redoing chimney top outs and flashing..sometimes  you can get left over lead..

and possibly copper smiths ... 

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5 hours ago, 541Wiant said:

My father in law recently gave me a good amount of sheet lead. After cleaning it and making ingots I decided to cast some jigs out of it.  I realized they were very soft much softer than those I have made from old sinkers. why is this? . 

 

Are there benefits to soft lead? 

 

Is there any way to make the lead harder? 

 

Or do I just look past this observation as it is not important?

 

Ben 

Soft lead is the best for pouring jig head's. I'd only use it for that. Use the crappy stuff for weights. 

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This troop is asking some really basic questions.  I have to wonder if he's aware of the hazards and dangers involved in handling large quantities of molten lead.  Maybe someone should warn him before the accident.

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26 mins ago, Dan Tinman said:

This troop is asking some really basic questions.  I have to wonder if he's aware of the hazards and dangers involved in handling large quantities of molten lead.  Maybe someone should warn him before the accident.

I suppose it comes up often enough that you could make a post that you slap into any thread that could use it. I do that with a 'kayak fishing checklist' image because the 'what do I need to bring?' comes up so often. 

 

So, where does plumbing pipe lead fall in the 'good lead-bad lead' scale? I've been pouring jigs with that and it's seemed fine, but I'm not too critical.

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I always took the approach that any free lead was good lead and I’ve never and will never buy lead. I don’t care if it’s hard, medium or soft so long as it sinks. Sheet lead is the cream though. 

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50 mins ago, Dan Tinman said:

This troop is asking some really basic questions.  I have to wonder if he's aware of the hazards and dangers involved in handling large quantities of molten lead.  Maybe someone should warn him before the accident.

Only been at it for about a year, still learning what's hard and soft. I know that ANY moisture = a really really bad time.... had one pot pop on me and I've made damn sure that it is not likely to happen again.  I only cast outside on breezy days. eyes, gloves ext. last pour was yesterday at -4F.... not doing any more until spring 

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Tire weights are very hard in comparison to lead. As said sheet lead is soft and much heavier than the current alloys. Old printers lead was lead, tin and antimony. I have some Charlie Graves repops made from silicone molds. The pure tin models weigh in at about an ounce. At 30 years old they have not lost their shine. The jig that is was copied from weighs about 2.5 ounces. Crosman and Benjamin pellets are 92% lead, the European pellet makers use pure lead.

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2 hours ago, t_man7 said:

Any good sources for cheap sheet lead?

Why the local family friendly neighborhood crack scrap man of course! 

 

a barter for some burst copper pipes or even aluminum cans should do

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32 mins ago, gellfex said:

I suppose it comes up often enough that you could make a post that you slap into any thread that could use it. I do that with a 'kayak fishing checklist' image because the 'what do I need to bring?' comes up so often. 

 

So, where does plumbing pipe lead fall in the 'good lead-bad lead' scale? I've been pouring jigs with that and it's seemed fine, but I'm not too critical.

All the plumbing lead I've dealt with was soft.  Very dirty but soft.

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8 mins ago, 541Wiant said:

Only been at it for about a year, still learning what's hard and soft. I know that ANY moisture = a really really bad time.... had one pot pop on me and I've made damn sure that it is not likely to happen again.  I only cast outside on breezy days. eyes, gloves ext. last pour was yesterday at -4F.... not doing any more until spring 

OK,  You have the general idea.  Hand and face protection is always a good idea.  Sometimes the first pour into a cold mold will blow back at you.  You never know when it'll happen.

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2 hours ago, t_man7 said:

Any good sources for cheap sheet lead?

Never had to buy sorry I’m no help . Fortunately have friends that do a lot hospital construction and take the scraps from the x ray rooms for me . They gladly hand it over for the free pickings through my garage and trunk and bag lol  

 

but I guess building supply or plumbing supply 

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