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Thread: medium large scale fluxing and smelting tools?

  1. #1

    medium large scale fluxing and smelting tools?

    I want to mix and blend a couple hundred pounds of alloy in one batch. My alloy is actually quite clean, the biggest obstacle is blending.

    I have an old propane bottle I can cut in half. And I have a Camp Chef propane stove. That should take care of the pot and heat source.

    Can you folks recommend a decent ladle/dipper which will hold a couple pounds of lead per scoop, and possibly a good source for 5 lb ingot molds?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2014

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Northwest Ohio
    Rowel #5 or so should be the Cadillac here. As to as to stirring and skimming look for a small spade and drill a bunch of holes in it or cut slots with a cut off wheel so lead can run out when skimming. A regular metal barbeque spatula or large serving spoon works well also.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    imashooter2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    There is not a lot of room in a propane tank for large tools. Keep the pot size and shape in mind when choosing...
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Michigan Lansing Area
    Rowell bottom pour ladle is the premier for ingot pouring. Self skimming so the lead you pour is clean with less effort. Otherwise hit salvation army for a good soup ladle with stout handle and bend handle to 90* and use.

    I think you are smart to do large batches, there will be more consistency in a large batch. I use bread pans as bulk ingot molds. Fill 1 inch deep or so and they make stackable 10# slabs. Won't fit in a small casting melter but are good for bulk storage of raw materials to be mixed later and made into smaller ingots of casting alloys.
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    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
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  6. #6
    Thanks for the suggestions. I will see what I can find in the thrift stores, trying to stay on a tight budget.

    I made up 100 lbs of uniform alloy two years ago using just my 20 lb pot and 1 lb ingot mold. Kind of a PIA, and that batch is about used up. And, of course, my bottom pour pot has not been the same since smelting wheel weights and scrap pipe

    I recently aquired 450 lb of various lead alloys in pieces ranging from 5 to 15 lb each. Some appears to be hard enough to be COWW, about 150 lb appears to be soft enough to be pure lead or close to it. Also included is 15 lb of wiping solder.

    My objective is to pick up a bit more tin and 30/70 sn/pb from Rotometals and make up a 200 lb batch as close as I can to duplicating the alloy I have been using.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    There are some serious safety issues with cutting a propane tank.
    Be sure to remove the valve & fill it with water to displace all gas inside,
    and let it set awhile before you pour out the water and start cutting....

    I bought a plain 14" slotted stainless spoon at Aldi's for $1.99,
    clamp vice grips to the end and it works great for stirring and skimming.


  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Central VA
    Back in the days when I was casting and shooting a lot of bullets in the Schuetzen game, I mixed up several fairly large batches of the alloy I had chosen for that endeavor, 25-1 pure lead to pure tin. Working with pure "ingredients" to start with was a good start, and since I was limited to 20# at the time, I measured carefully what went into the pot then mixed the resultant 1# ingots from the various batches to cancel out any variations that did slip in. That supply of pre-mix lasted me several years and I sure to miss having the convenience of being able to reach into the ammo can supply and just start casting! I now own a plumber's furnace (propane fired) with a couple of large pots and old conventional 3-5# ladles to do large batches, and as soon as I figure out a couple of standard alloys I'll be using now for N-SSA and pistols, I'll hopefully do the same thing for a couple of alloys using the "raw materials" I've acquired. I've just got to get a round tuit!


    PS BTW, what does any of this have to do with "Casting and Reloading Hand Tools; the 310s and such of our hobby"? There are at least two or three forums on this site that will cover this topic and give you better traffic.
    Last edited by Green Frog; 07-29-2017 at 06:51 AM. Reason: edit comments and add PS
    "It aint easy being green!"

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Sasquatch-1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Martinsburg, WV
    You say you have a Camp Chef stove. Is this a small 2 burner camp stove or a large turkey fryer? If it is a small 2 burner you may find it somewhat undersized for what you are trying to do. 200 pounds of lead is a lot to melt from a cold start.

    Also as stated, A one piece soup ladle is all you need for scooping and pouring. Mine holds a couple of pounds of melted lead. I find a Chinese cooking skimmer is good for skimming things like jackets and clips from large melts.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    There is also someone here who was making ingot molds from angle iron. You could get them in a number of sizes.
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  10. #10
    Thanks again for the help, warnings, and suggestions. I have an old non-overflow protected tank, which I have been using to transport compressed air for several years which should do well to cut in half.

    What I have is the two burner camp stove, I will see what it can handle.

    Froggie PS, My familiarity with the site is still limited. Though I have spent many hours reading stickies and articles. The folks here have been quite gracious with help and suggestions and I am grateful for that.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    There is a member here that sells smelting pots, ingot molds made from angle and I believe a ladle. Pretty reasonable prices for the workmanship thats in them. For buying a ladle, Rowel is a good one, maybe the best. I smelt in batches of 350-400 pounds and I use a couple of large kitchen spoons, one solid and one slotted. Make sure not to buy the ones with the soldered on handles! A large Harbor Freight dutch oven is a favorite with the members here too!
    Last edited by lightman; 08-01-2017 at 09:44 PM.

  12. #12
    Thanks. I was not aware Harbor Freight carried a dutch oven. That was actually my first thought, if it could be done without sacrificing a quality camp cook oven.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    mold maker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Piedmont (Conover) NC
    In small amounts, a camp stove works, but the wire grid won't hold heavy weights when it gets red hot.
    Information not shared. is wasted.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Crystal River Florida
    Quote Originally Posted by Cord View Post
    There are some serious safety issues with cutting a propane tank.
    Be sure to remove the valve & fill it with water to displace all gas inside,
    and let it set awhile before you pour out the water and start cutting....

    I bought a plain 14" slotted stainless spoon at Aldi's for $1.99,
    clamp vice grips to the end and it works great for stirring and skimming.

    Carbon monoxide works better than water. Hook a hose to your truck exhaust and purge the tank, no O2 , no boom. We cut em with the exhaust running.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Lebanon, NY
    I have a propane fired cooker that I plan to use. Not sure on the BTU's but plenty for melting lead.
    You may find one at garage sales, flea markets and such. I am searching for a large cast iron Dutch oven in the same places. I have sister that lives for garage sales. She's looking too. Also keeping an eye out for pewter.
    I have a welder that I can make ingot molds from. A local steel place has a lot of cut offs for scrap prices.
    Even if you can't make huge batches, you can get pretty consistent by doing a small batch and pouring into 1 lb ingots. Lets say you have a 20 pot. Mix up one batch and make 20 stacks. One ingot top each stack. Mix up next batch, add one ingot to each stack. Continue till you have 20 ingots in each stack. Put all of one stack into pot. Start another set of stacks. A third time will make the ingots more uniform.
    When ready to cast put all of one stack in the pot, cast.
    I do that now, but it takes along time. A larger pot and more molds will make things go quicker.
    You can

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    similar to above,
    I use
    Attached to a short pole for fluxing and skimming the large portion of dross,

    Then I use a long handle BBQ spoon to get the remainder of the dross

    I use a pot similar to

    with a handle attached to pour my lead

    And made ingot molds
    they stack nicely and fit in an SFRB

    VS D Crockett sells molds like them
    Last edited by Grmps; 11-26-2017 at 03:41 PM.

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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