I was doing some casting yesterday with some 2 cavity molds and got to thinking about a new sprue plate tool to whack them open.
Since I started casting I have used a variety of tools, hammer handles, rubber mallet, homemade billy club, piece of ax handle, etc. anything that was stout enough but would not ding up the mold or sprue plate.
The rubber mallet was to heavy and even brief contact with the sprue plate would cause minor melting and nasty odor. Hard wood worked fairly well but anything I could find would eventually start splintering and making a mess.
The latest tool I have been using I thought was the best, a VERY large tractor trailer wheel weight about 6" long, nice size and good weight, would easily pop the sprue even when casting virgin lino-type, this was it! Well alas it wasnt it As I have been using it the end is getting pretty battered and is now starting to shed slivers of lead.
So, I'm thinking, what am I gonna use now? I started looking around and spied some 1/2" rigid copper (not sure if its L or M but it is the thicker walled/softer of the two), I cut off a piece about 7" long and hunted around for a sweat on end cap figurin I needed something to close off the end Unfortunately I couldnt find a cap and wanted to use this tool right now, so I carefully pinched off one end till it was tight and was ready to fill it with lead.
I took it to my casting station (its really messy but saying "my fitlhy hole where I cast boolits" doesnt sound so nice or professional ), I moved my LEE bottom pore pot out the the edge so I could get the pipe under it relatively vertical and filled it to the top while holding it with channel locks. I waited a few moments after the lead o the top solidified and then completely immersed it in water to cool it off and was ready for casting.
After casting another 100 LEE 12 gauge slugs and another 100 SWC's there are plenty of little marks on the copper pipe but it is barely damaged or dinged up and left no marks whatsoever on my molds, the size is just right to hold comfortably and just long enough for the job and it weighs enough that it takes very little effort to pop the sprue or tap out and sticky boolits so ven though it is heavier than the truck wheel weight or the piece of ax handle it took less effort with less fatigue than any casting session I have had yet.
Another great part of this little tool is the fact that if I should manage to beat it up till its ugly enough I want a new one, it is a simple matter to melt the lead out with a torch to re-use and the copper pipe can be scrapped, AND its pretty easy to find cutoff's from a plumber or hardware store if you dont do your own plumbing, just what the dctor ordered for penny pinchers like me!
I hope this idea helps some of you guys out and makes your casting experience a little more pleasureable.