View Full Version : Update: Testing the improved turkeycooker/leadsmelter

04-21-2006, 04:19 PM
After having had the modifications described in the post "Improving efficiency of a Turkey cooker," I was eager today to go out and test to see what the results of the mods were in over all performance. Here's what went on:

1. I had the same setup as I had previously, laid out for operational efficiency and was using two cast iron (picked up on clearance sale at the Lodge store) muffin pans. I used two of them and they turned out close to perfect for the pots of lead I was smelting. I didn't use my big 4 gangers, because I wanted to differentiate between the pure lead and the wheel weights with the type of ingot, an easy visual reference.

2. After lighting the burner, I set my gas at just 1/8th turn above the point where the gas would cut out (Marked the regulator with a sharpie marker) and filled the pot full with cut up chunks of sheet lead with the paper back still attached.

3. The lead was molten within 5-10 minutes, but the temperature was just above 625 F, just barely at the point of molting. I increased the gas flow by rotating the control valve (on the regulator) another 1/8th of a turn. This was sufficient to start a solidly efficient melt with way less gas flow than I'd previously used before the modifications. Previous gas flow was several turns of the valve to open it almost wide open with a "whooshing" sound. Now I heard a mild whooshing sound with the valve about a 1/4 turn past the point it would cut out. So I was definately using less gas flow, hence losing less propane to provide the same heating/melting effects.

4. Once the lead was melted, I filled my molds (emptying the pot) and started a new melt by refilling the pot with lead. I had turned the burner down a good bit (almost shut it off) and monitored my pot temperature with a thermometer. I was pleased to note the pot, even with a fan blowing on it, was able to maintain 600 degrees with the propane regulator turned so low. After refilling the pot, I turned the gas flow back up to the previous level and repeated the same melting experience. This time, I was able to get a satisfactory melt in about 5 or 6 minutes. It was pretty quick.

5. I continued the process on and in the same amount of time I had previously processed two five gallon buckets of wheel weights, I was able to process 2 each five gallon and 3 each three gallon buckets of dentist office lead.

After seeing the differences in the effectiveness of the modifications, I am satisfied my former turkey cooker is now a genuine full blown lead smelter. You could probably beat it's performance with a plumber's pot, but not for $70.00 total investment.


04-21-2006, 07:02 PM
Good show!