View Full Version : Using sawdust as flux?

02-16-2010, 12:38 AM
I have paraffin and was prepared to use this once the weather has finally warmed up a bit. My previous post received suggestions to use sawdust as a flux agent. How's this work when prepping WW? Just lob in a handful and flux as usual? Thanks again and my apologies for the newbie question. I searched a bit and didn't find a clear idea of proportions, etc...

02-16-2010, 12:45 AM
pretty much, it chars and smells like a wood burning but it does the job.
let it turn to ash then stir it in,or leave it on top as an oxygen barrier to help stop the creation of oxides.

02-16-2010, 12:50 AM
I use hardwood sawdust from my table saws & wood planer + 1/2" "glob" of paraffin. The paraffin keeps the sawdust burning nicely when cleaning WW for ingots ! Just "lob in a handful " and stir like crazy ! :) Another handful of sawdust and paraffin glob may be required. It kinda depends on the size of the pot and volume of WW! Experiment and find what works for you.

Once I cast "clean" WW ingots I repeat the process using just paraffin to cast new "really clean" ingots. This keeps my Waage ladle casting pots pretty clean.


02-16-2010, 04:22 AM
I can pick up really sappy (oozing) yellow pine pretty much just for the asking here. I cut the boards about 14" long, then use a block shave kind of heavy on it. Then just toss in a handful whenever it needs it.
This also gives me a good stir stick for both the smelt pot, and bottom pour pot.

mold maker
02-16-2010, 09:30 AM
This not only cleans the melt, but leaves the pot like new.

02-16-2010, 10:23 AM
Sawdust is the best flux I have ever used in my many years of casting! :bigsmyl2:

02-16-2010, 10:33 AM
Sawdust is the best flux I have ever used in my many years of casting! :bigsmyl2:

Same here. I use pine sawdust it it works better than any other type of flux I've used.

02-16-2010, 03:48 PM
How's this work when prepping WW?
When turning ww into something useful, you are 'cleaning' unwanted stuff out of the pot. For cleaning alloy, wax (of various kinds) works well.
It may also have an effect on how well the various metals in the batch get combined into an homogenous mixture.

When you are casting bullets, the alloy is already 'cleaned'.
There is nothing in the pot that you want to throw away.
Contact with air causes oxidation, and turning those oxides back into metal is called 'reduction'. That process involves using a carbon-rich substance to displace the oxygen molecules collected from the air.

Sawdust, or a simple wooden stick, are both good 'reducers'.


02-16-2010, 04:31 PM
Same here. I use pine sawdust it it works better than any other type of flux I've used.
Me too/ I use it when smelting. When casting w/ clean alloy, I use old lubed bullets.

02-16-2010, 05:03 PM
I filled an old parmesan cheese shaker with sawdust. Just flip the cap and shake on your favorite lead soup!

I also prefer the smell of sawdust burning over wax.

02-16-2010, 05:34 PM
I use sawdust cat litter,the wife bought a big box,but gave it to me,she did not like the cats tracking it all over the house,I was using candle wax,but with the saw dust don't put out the smoke and fumes the wax does.

02-16-2010, 10:04 PM
Thanks all again for the replies. I can't wait to try this out!

02-17-2010, 01:08 AM
Do not use motor oil!!!! The worst flux I ever tried!!! Smoke and leaves a black tar like residue.:evil:

02-21-2010, 09:07 AM
I use both wax and saw dust.
When I first put the WW and
other lead in the pot.
I throw in some wax.
Then when the lead is a melted
I skim and then use saw dust
and a little more wax.
The wax I use is from my daughter
who loves to burn sented candles.:cbpour:

02-22-2010, 07:49 AM
Sounds like the Pine shaving used for hampster/rodent cages might work.

They sell huge bags of this stuff at Pets-Mart for cheap.

Is there a specific type of wood that works better?

I read an excellent article on LASC (http://www.lasc.us/FryxellFluxing.htm), and the author stated he used walnut shavings.

In Christ: Raymond

02-22-2010, 08:40 AM
Is there a specific type of wood that works better?

Just about every type has been successfully used, so it may not matter.

When using sawdust/shavings, the largest concern we have is to stay away from manufactured wood laminates (plywood, particle board, etc.). Also stay away from pressure-treated woods. All have nasty chemicals.

And, of course, it is desirable for the sawdust to be dry.