View Full Version : Adding antimony to your alloy.

Iron River Red
05-24-2005, 06:42 PM
This is a new one to me.

I have always relied on the content of the linotype and wheel weights for the traces of tin and antimony.

Does anyone have any good (note Simple) ways of taking raw antimony and getting it into the alloy. I have picked up some from a guy off the "bay" and am looking into if and how it can be useful for me to use.

As I gain experience, I am finding myself looking for more ways to get the cost down.

05-25-2005, 06:42 AM
www.antimonyman,com is the guy to talk to, his name is Bill Fergusan and he knows much and shares all.


Bass Ackward
05-25-2005, 06:59 AM
Does anyone have any good (note Simple) ways of taking raw antimony and getting it into the alloy.


No. This is probably the biggest PIA you can get into in casting. There is a procedure. But it is temperature sensitive. It is flux sensitive. The temperature controls how long the flux sticks around. You have a NARROW window or your project fails and you have to scrape the antimony off and wash it up so you can try again. These are little pebles, so you can't crank up the hose. If you fail to wash it off enough, you automatically fail again. And if you caught in to the wash it off part, then you realize your done for the day. And did I mention that this is temperature sensitive?

Here's what Bill sent me.


The product looks like small metal gravel. It is quite pure with dust and fines removed.

The flux is a pink powder which absorbs moisture so it must be stored in a sealed container with a desssicant such as silica gel when not in use. It has a MAXIMUM alloying temperature limit of 635F. The lowest temperature is that where the metal to be alloyed, LEAD, or LEAD/TIN or TIN is completely liquid. These temperatures range from 621F for pure lead to 450F for pure tin. 93/7 tin/antimony pewter is made at 500F.

1. Start with a clean pot and clean metal or alloy. Bring up to operating temperature, minimums as given above.
2. Spread a very light film of flux over the melt surface and let it melt. The simplest applicator is a 'salt shaker' type container. Letting it melt insures evaporation of any adsorbed moisture.
3. Sprinkle on a light coat of granulated antimony. Follow with another thin film of flux. When the flux has melted the antimony will have warmed up enough to not 'chill' the melt.
4. Start stirring slowly and smoothly. The antimony and flux float so there is no advantage to agitation. Stirring rolls the antimony particles over in the film of flux on the surface of the melt. EXCESS FLUX is indicated by a dark foam or crust. As the antimony is encased in this flux it will not contact the melt and solution slows and stops.
5. Learn the lesson, skim off all foam, antimony and excess flux. When cool, wash with water, the flux and flux products dissolve leaving the antimony. Dry it.
6.Start over again and control flux properly. As the antimony goes into solution, add very thin film of minimum flux when reaction appears to have stopped and continue stirring.
7. Eight to ten minutes is usually adequate time to make linotype IF the procedure is followed properly. As with any process it takes practice to maintain proper temperature (as low as possible), add minimum flux and spread antimony in the proper amounts.


05-25-2005, 07:22 AM
Back in the day I built a charcoal fired blast furnace out of fire brick and a vacuum cleaner as described in the Harrison/NRA Cast Bullets article compilation. I used that to alloy a 50/50 lead/antimony mix that would then melt and alloy at electric pot temperatures with whatever lead mix I had in the pot at the time. The procedure was not what I'd call simple or easy.

05-25-2005, 08:56 AM
I have a few pounds of Bill's antimony & some of the flux somewhere in my casting stuff. After spending the money for it, I decided to keep doing things the way I always had, and never used it. The antimony looked like the old "Pop Rocks" candy, but silver. I have no doubt it would work exactly as Bill said it would, but I never had the patience to try it.


05-25-2005, 12:28 PM
Iron River Red
Yes there is a simple way. I bought the flux from Bill Ferguson and his antimony but did not like the sound of his procedure. I never did use his flux, it was not needed. This was so simple I could not believe it. Basicly I wanted to produce mono type for enriching WW. Mono type and foundry type have about the same amount of lead, tin, and antimony but foundry type has a small % copper. Anyway I started by weighing the amount of metals needed to make the # of LBS I wanted to end up with. I can look up the mix if anyone wants it. So out side in a large iron foundry pot I placed the crushed antimony. Apply your normal heat sourse from the bottom on high. Then with an acceteline torch low flame like for welding slowly heat the antimony from the top also. It will begin to look wet and slowly melt to liquid. As soon as it is liquid add your lead/ww ingots pre heated if possible. Not melted just hot ingots, this will prevent any moisture on the ingots. These will melt quickly into the hot antimony. Then just go to normal heat and with your normal flux stir this extra hot mix. Yes the flux will ignite and you want it to. If you will be adding tin let it cool to normal casting temp then add your tin while stiring and fluxing in the normal fashon. Thats it you now have antimony rich enrichment metal to add to your WW or ?. I blend this mono type with WW at 6ww/1mono for my standard alloy. This alloy will cast very easily clean sharp edges even on loverin style bands. It will test at BHN-15 average air cooled and quenched from the mold 25 average.
CAUTION - this is an out side procedure as the initial high temp may be enough to vaporise lead ? A cool light brease is perfect. There you have it, from Mr Ferguson a right way and a wrong way, and from me a BS way.

05-25-2005, 12:37 PM
FWIW Bill F. did tell me that antimony is as toxic as arsenic, and I belive him, I'm not going to test that out by doing it ;-)


05-25-2005, 01:56 PM

Iron River Red
05-25-2005, 02:42 PM
The antimony thing sounds like more trouble than its worth. Does the antimony have that much effect on the hardness of the alloy. If so, why is there no more people working with it than there is?

Are there any benefits other than increasing hardness?