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Thread: CUSTOM Wood Fired Lead Smelting Furnace

  1. #1

    CUSTOM Wood Fired Lead Smelting Furnace

    Works Pretty good and a heck of a lot cheaper than melting with propane! I'm glad I got that Hobart 140 I love this welder!

    Pictures show a lot of smoke but its just the oil that I used to get the wood going coming out of the bottom of the barrel. Once it got burning there was no smoke coming out the bottom. I need to put a plate over that exhaust pipe. Thats a 4" High pressure gasoline pipe for a chimney. I can easily control the heat surprisingly. When the fire is burning I can melt a whole dutch over full of wheel weights in about 5 minutes. WAAAAAAAAAY quicker than that stupid turkey burner.
    All I need is lead!

  2. #2
    I need to get a little better seal around the pot I was thinking of coating the top with cement but i'm not sure if the high heat would crack it or not. Any thoughts?

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Concrete or Brixment will both crack. They'll both pop loose from the metal when it expands from the heat.

    I'd cut a close fitting washer that the pot will slip into and tack weld it to the top.

    If it's melting lead in 5 minutes don't screw with it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    outside of KC Missouri
    Concrete will Blow up when extreme heat gets to it, the sand in concrete expands tring to melt into glass. Just my experence working with a tourch on concrete floors. I think they do make some high temp sealer for fireplaces and stove though.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy para45lda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    LA - Lower Alabama
    What does the inside look like? Specifically how far do you have those pipes inserted? Any baffles or anything like that?

    Looks like something worth building. Definitely save on Propane.

    If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.
    SASS 17373
    Proud Dad of a USAF Airman

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    29˚68’27”N, 99˚12’07”W
    Holy COW! That's bad-****! I gotta build one of these things, that's the second one I've seen pics posted of here recently, and I'm sick of fiddling with small batches. I was thinking about reinforcing a 55-gallon drum with some rebar or angle-iron ribs run from top to bottom, cutting a door low on the side, welding a rebar grate inside that intersected the middle of the door (scoop ash from the bottom, add wood to the top through the same door), cutting a hole in the lid and welding the bottom 2/3 of a 30lb. propane cylinder into it. If I retained the clamp ring for the lid I could still pull the top off for maintenance/repair if necessary and the top would still be solid and supported. I figured I'd cut a hole near the top and weld on a collar for regular stovepipe, 90 it out, and run it up at least one 5' section. For a blower I was going to weld on an short exhaust pipe flange and use a removeable 4-6' section of steel pipe to lead to my shop-vac hose, run in "blow" mode. The pipe should be long enough to insulate the vac hose from the heat, plus stay cool from air blowing through it.

    Too many projects, not enough time!


  7. #7
    Its just a barrel with a door cut in the bottom of it. No baffles ect ect...just a drum. All I did was weld the pipes with about 1" sticking inside the drum for the blower and the exhaust. I got the blower motor from an outside woodburner that was junk so that was free. The only thing I had to buy was the Dutch oven. I just cut a circle in the drum and pounded that down in as far as it would go. Its a pretty snug fit so smoke doesn't escape. Sombiach gets hot in a hurry. There are a few more things I need to do to perfect it but I'm gonna need a couple thosand pounds of lead before I fire this thing up again.

  8. #8
    I split my firewood and cut small stuff under 4" and then just drop it down the chimney so I dont have to open up the door...Clearly I used a little too much oil to get her going.... haha! That blower motor pipe is about 16" long and its cold to the touch when the thing is running full out....no need for 90's in the chimney either.....that propane cylinder seems like a good idea but you would have to run some kind of a spicket to the outside of the barell to be able to drain it. Unless you had a really long ladle...and I dont like to be looking down into a hole with melting lead in it. I use a cast iron ladle on a 4' pole and stand back when I dip for lead. One dip and I get 4 muffin tins full. A damper on top of the exhaust pipe, some levers to hold the door at the bottom slightly more air tight and a rheostat motor and I would be set...

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    South Western Indiana
    I made one several years ago using an old wood stove kit, cut the hole in the top (with the barrel on its side. The normal draft would get the barrel red hot if you opened it up.
    Don't buy nuthing you can't take home

    Joel 3:10

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Tidewater VA
    Some of that european or limey blood coming out. He was heating the beer! LOL
    10 gauge: as per Robert Ruark, "use enough gun"


    "I have a list, and am prepared for widespread civil disorder!" 10 ga

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Perryville, Ky,USA
    I was going to suggest a "bellows" fan when I first read the thread but I see you thought of that and included it. Looks like a real blast furnace./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master JIMinPHX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Moving back east now
    Quote Originally Posted by mallardsx2 View Post
    I need to get a little better seal around the pot I was thinking of coating the top with cement but i'm not sure if the high heat would crack it or not. Any thoughts?
    They make stuff called refractory cement that is intended for high temperatures. I've repaired a 1700 degree muffle furnace with it before. It works. I think that it may have some kind of poisonous components in it though. Some kind of warning sheet came with it. It's been several years since I've touched the stuff, so I don't remember all the details.

    My little brother has a burning barrel that is basically just a 55-gal drum with an open top & some holes punched into the bottom for air vents. I've meted lead in it before. The only problem that I had was that it was tough to regulate the temperature of the melt, so if zinc was in the mix, it probably would have melted into the alloy. An IR thermometer registered 1100F, when pointed into the center of the barrel as it was at full throttle. Your rig looks more efficient. It may get hotter than that inside.
    “an armed society is a polite society.”
    Robert A. Heinlein

    "Idque apud imperitos humanitas vocabatur, cum pars servitutis esset."
    Publius Tacitus

  13. #13
    I dont have a rheostat motor on it. If I did I would be able to control the temperature a lot better. The door on that blower motor opens and closes. So I just stick a wedge in there to open the door and close it more. This allows for me to adjust the air going into the thing quickly. I can turn the lead from melting super hot to almost 400 degrees by just shutting that blower off. I might even just put an on/off switch on it. That would be easiest. I'm going to be smelting about 600 pounds Sunday so I will take a video of it and put it on here. I'm concerned in my haste that I got the lead way too hot and I have infiltrated zinc into my 60 pounds I melted for a trial run the other night., I have been searching using sulfur to drive the zinc out of the pot but there are so many opinions I'm not sure what to do. I think it would be easiest to get the lead super super hot then add the sulfur and not worry about the zinc because it would come out. I know for a fact that the lead in the pot got to 1000 degrees the other night...It was a PO-pouri of wheel weights thats for sure. WHERE CAN I BUY PURE SULFUR FOR CHEAP??

  14. #14

    Its Americas oldest brewery you know? Pottstown PA... 1829......It runs deep in my blood...specially when i'm casting!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master ErikO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    St Louis, MO
    That blast furnace is now added to the 'hobby farm retirement plan' as I am sure that I'd get a visit from the County over that one if I built it now.

    Very nifty, thanks for posting this.
    NRA Certified Trainer
    Bowers v. DeVito "...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered."
    Partner, Olsen Training Group

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by ErikO View Post
    That blast furnace is now added to the 'hobby farm retirement plan' as I am sure that I'd get a visit from the County over that one if I built it now.

    Very nifty, thanks for posting this.

    Just tell the LEO you are burning your leaves. You save them and burn them year around.
    Better to be poked in the eye with a wet fish than a sharp stick

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Freightman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Amarillo, Tx
    Good idea, except there is a burn ban here and it isn't going to be lifted anytime soon. Fine is real hefty you can buy a lot of propane for what it would cost you. Like the idea and if it ever rains enough to lift the ban I will build one, thanks.
    Frank G.

  18. #18

  19. #19
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Home of the Wright Bros.
    Hey Mallard,
    You can install a sliding plate on the fan inlet. Restricting the air, even to fully closed has no effect on motor wear-n-tear.

    'da Kid

  20. #20
    There is a door in it. I just prop it open with a piece of wood. Works better than anything I figure.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check