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Thread: What to do with dross?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master


    DxieLandMan's Avatar
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    I re-melt mine too but for what I cannot salvage, I pour into a coffee can and then invert a broken crescent wrench in it and use it as a boat anchor. Did that for years until a guy I was fishing with threw it overboard without it being tied to the boat. I have another broken wrench I'm waiting on to use once I get enough to fill another coffee can.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MyFlatline View Post
    I am cheap. I re-melt my dross. Not that I get a huge amount back but it is the principle to me.

    I cast for enjoyment, so I understand that my time is a freebie..
    Me too. I recover a lot of tin rich alloy by remelting the dross. Yes, this is most likely from not fluxing properly to start with but for me it's just easier to skim the pot into a metal coffee can and flux this down to alloy and ash later. Gp

  3. #23
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    I have found that have to use sawdust AND wax in the smelting process to separate ALL the lead from the dross especially with range scrap.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

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    To keep from picking up good alloy when you skim, use a large perforated cooking spoon , the holes let the alloy flow out but keep the dross in the spoon. I got mine at a place that sells outdoor cooking supplies, turkey fryers and bar-b-que pits . Stainless steel , with lots of holes and came in different handle lengths....Works like a charm.
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  5. #25
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    3 processes going on with what we call fluxing.
    1)burn off all the combustible 'junk'. stuff that causes flame - wood, paper, etc.
    2) reduce surface tension of the melt and accumulate small particles of non-combustible 'junk' - greasy/oily/waxy/sticky stuff
    3) reduce the tin back into the alloy just heat and NO oxygen above the melt.
    I save real 'dross' - metal and add to next batch. Some of it is Sb.
    Whatever!

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
    To keep from picking up good alloy when you skim, use a large perforated cooking spoon , the holes let the alloy flow out but keep the dross in the spoon. I got mine at a place that sells outdoor cooking supplies, turkey fryers and bar-b-que pits . Stainless steel , with lots of holes and came in different handle lengths....Works like a charm.
    That's exactly what I used; a stainless slotted spoon from the Salvation Army store for a buck or two, as well as a large stainless ladle for pouring lead into the ingot moulds.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    There's fluxing and fluxing. Here is one article I've found informative.
    The "Simple" Act of Fluxing
    By: Glen E. Fryxell
    http://www.lasc.us/FryxellFluxing.htm

    and
    From Ingot to Target: A Cast Bullet Guide for Handgunners©
    Chapter 4
    Fluxing the Melt

  8. #28
    Boolit Master

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    I'm like some others here. I take the 'skim', which I know is heavy, and dump it in a coffee can.
    When I get a couple cans, I re-render it, taking care to use wax and sawdust 2-3 times each.

    I cast these into ingots that I keep separated, when I get 50 pounds or so I'll get it tested.
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
    Man, ain't it the truth....

  9. #29
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Normally back when I would smelt my own COWW I would get some at the end that with some work, fluxing, stirring, and maybe some candle wax would get "Most" of the lead out of it.

    Do it right and what you have at the end is a fine grayish brown dust that is pretty light.
    If it feels heavy or you can see beads or strings of lead in it, it needs more work.


    Behind my my magnum melter is an old 9 inch fry pan, steel, might have been teflon 30 years back. When I skim my pot, it goes into that pan. When I go to smelt up a new batch that is what I will start my pot with.

    I ladle pour and don't fuss with skimming my pot a lot. But I will get a forkfull or two every so often.

    If it starts looking like it is skinning over I clean it and go back to casting. I suspect that often it is oxidised tin. Because when you get the conditions right, ie an oxygen free zone above the melt. A lot of it disappears. And the boolits get shiny.

    Weather is cooling outside, probably a good time to think about doing a smelt one of these days.
    Make up a batch or 2 of 50% COWW + 50% soft lead and maybe 1& pewter added. Pour it into ingots stack it up for this winters casting. If I cast this winter. I may be out roaming around with my little trailer. Who knows.

  10. #30
    Boolit Bub

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    I started processing range scrap a while back and have found the same as you with unrecovered lead remaining in the dross and jackets. I have a large re-melter and when I accumulate a 5 gal bucket of dross and jackets I toss all of it into the melter, put the lid on, and let it go for a half hour or more. When everything is hot I stir the mostly empty jackets and dross a few times with a piece of light angle iron just to reposition everything in the pot and allow the lead to drain to the bottom. Not sure from the viewpoint of economy, if it is worth the time or effort but I usually recover an additional 20 pounds or so from the previously processed range scrap and dross.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master

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    I have 2 large kitchen spoons that I use for smelting, a solid one and a perforated one. The perforated one is used before fluxing to remove the larger pieces of junk like bullet jackets and wheel weight clips. The solid one is used after I flux for scooping up the ash and such. My smelting pot will hold 400# of molten lead and I bought a larger skimmer for the last big score that I smelted. I wish I had bought it sooner! I'll scoop up a load of clips and give it a little shake. This usually gets any remaining lead to fall out. If you use kitchen spoons make sure that they are either one piece or that the handle is riveted on. Some are soldered and will turn loose at the temps that lead melts at.

    It takes a little while to develop an efficient process that works for you. It also takes a little time and investment to get set up. Way back at the beginning of my entry to the casting world I built a nice homemade burner and acquired a nice heavy pot. I slowly collected ingot molds, ladles and skimmers.

  12. #32
    Boolit Bub
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    I have the same type of spoons, one solid, one slotted. Iíve been fluxing wheel weights during smelting with sawdust and wax. Seems to work very well. The cast iron pot I use holds about 100 pounds, but I could use a few more ingot molds

  13. #33
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well, after work on Friday I stopped at a Salvation Army store and picked up a few candles. On Saturday my boy and I spent all afternoon/evening working in the shop on an unrelated task, so I fired up the burner and started reprocessing the dross. This time each batch was allowed to cook longer and the skimmable brass was removed with the slotted spoon. Both sawdust and wax was employed for fluxing. By the end of the evening I made it through about 2/3 of the tall turkey-fryer pot and had reclaimed several lbs of brass jackets and close to 30 lbs of lead ingots! The remaining dross seems to be much more "ash-like" than before and of course there is MUCH less of it. Hopefully I can finish up the rest of it at some point before this coming weekend.

  14. #34
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadHead72 View Post
    Well, after work on Friday I stopped at a Salvation Army store and picked up a few candles. On Saturday my boy and I spent all afternoon/evening working in the shop on an unrelated task, so I fired up the burner and started reprocessing the dross. This time each batch was allowed to cook longer and the skimmable brass was removed with the slotted spoon. Both sawdust and wax was employed for fluxing. By the end of the evening I made it through about 2/3 of the tall turkey-fryer pot and had reclaimed several lbs of brass jackets and close to 30 lbs of lead ingots! The remaining dross seems to be much more "ash-like" than before and of course there is MUCH less of it. Hopefully I can finish up the rest of it at some point before this coming weekend.
    well, that's great news.
    Sounds like you are getting the hang of it

  15. #35
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    well, that's great news.
    Sounds like you are getting the hang of it
    It would seem like it. Honestly, there was SO MUCH to melt down that after bringing it home I obviously rushed through it somewhat in an attempt to get it into ingot form to make it less of a problem to store. Now I just need to find a large non-slotted stainless steel spoon to compliment my slotted one.

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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