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Thread: Smelting pot

  1. #1

    Smelting pot

    Iím new to casting and am looking at getting a good pot for smelting. Iíve got my eyes on a spun steel pot thatís 12Ē across and about the size of a large Dutch Oven. The thickness is 1.6 mm. Is that thick enough? That comes to about 1/16Ē thickness.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I use a Wal-Mart stainless stock pot on a turkey drier burner. Also use the turkey pot as a cover over the stock pot to help efficiency. Works for me, probably not ideal but I had everything already. I also do 50lb batches, so wait for more feedback if you expect to do large batches.
    ďYou donít practice until you get it right. You practice until you canít get it wrong.Ē Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I cut top off of 50# Freon tank, use cut off top for lid, to save heat. Also insulated with Kaowool high temp insulation to keep sides hot, works very well. It’s around 1/16’’ wall thickness also, good heat transmission. Fast melt down with about 100# COWW in pot. Tried large iron skillet, to shallow dipper wouldn’t quite fill when trying to get last lead out.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master Randy C's Avatar
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    I use a turkey fryer burner and a lodge dutch oven pot it holds 25 to 30lb I don't know whats the safest,, how about a pic.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have made them from 25lb propane tanks. cut length to hold the weight you want.

    If working with a tank or drum by all means be safe about it. remove valves or bungs, wash with dish soap water a couple times. then rinse several more, purge with air. cut with a saw or non sparking tool.

  6. #6
    Ideally I’d like to smelt 40-50 lbs at a time or more. I thought about getting a 12 qt Dutch Oven but they are expensive and I’ve heard the cast iron can break and make a hot mess. That leaves me trying to find a large steel alternative. I might end up cutting a propane tank in half. If I do this do I need to make a lid?

  7. #7
    I wanted one of D Crockett’s smelting pots but I don’t think he makes them anymore

  8. #8
    Boolit Master



    SciFiJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundpounder17 View Post
    I’m new to casting and am looking at getting a good pot for smelting. I’ve got my eyes on a spun steel pot that’s 12” across and about the size of a large Dutch Oven. The thickness is 1.6 mm. Is that thick enough? That comes to about 1/16” thickness.
    Whether it is thick enough depends on your heat source. If you are using a high powered banjo burner, it might not be thick enough to prevent distortion and possible failure. If you are using a camp stove or side burner on a BBQ, it would be fine. I use a stainless steel stock pot that I got at a thrift store on the side burner of a BBQ for smelting. I also used it for ladle casting when I first started casting.


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  9. #9
    I wonder how thick the wall is of an propane tank that is about 5’ long and about 18-20” in diameter? I won’t was thinking I could cut the bottom off and make a melting pot. But if the thickness isn’t that much more than the 20 lbs propane tank I would rather use it to make a pot. Anyone know what thickness I’m looking at here?

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    That sounds like a 100# bottle and I don't know the thickness. A quick google search didn't help either. Sorry.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    And get a thermometer if you are going to melt wheel weights so you don't mix the zinc in !
    Good Judgment comes from Experience, Experience comes from Bad Judgment !

  12. #12
    I already bought the thermometer. I’m trying to get everything ready but I still need a melting pot for making ingots. I think I have found a pretty good banjo burner I can use. It should heat to over 100,000 BTUS

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    That sounds like a 100# bottle and I don't know the thickness. A quick google search didn't help either. Sorry.
    Lightman, I see you are in England. I’m originally from the southeastern part of the state but now live at Beebe. Do you do quite a bit of casting? I’d love to find someone close by that I could watch and learn from.

  14. #14
    I have found what I’ll be using to make a melting pot with. I was originally going to just get a melting pot for lead and buy a bottom pour master pot but with this could I not just make two? Use one for wheel weight and dirty lead and the other for casting the clean lead?
    Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
    The wall thickness is supposedly 1/4” or more

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Walks's Avatar
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    I've used the same WAGNER 12" Dutch Oven for 40yrs. Started out using a Coleman 3 burner white gas stove. Lit off all 3 burners with the pot resting in the center on a 1/4" piece of sheet steel. It started to glow a bit red by the time the lead as fully melted. But turned off outside burners then and the melt stayed close to 710degrees. Changed to a turkey fryer 25+yrs ago.

    If you take a HOT Cast Iron pot and set it down on Cold concrete, it WILL Crack. I've seen it done by a "deaf" IDIOT.

    I still think after all this time. That good cast iron, is still the best for ingot molds and alloy pots. And the smaller ones for dipper casting.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Groundpounder17 View Post
    Lightman, I see you are in England. I’m originally from the southeastern part of the state but now live at Beebe. Do you do quite a bit of casting? I’d love to find someone close by that I could watch and learn from.
    I cast about once a week, starting about the end of the winter and go up until early summer. I also smelt my years collection of lead about the same time. I usually have a buddy or two down for this. You would be more that welcome to come down and hang out. My bench is easily big enough for 2 or 3 guys so you could even bring a mold and a pot if you wanted to. Weather permitting, I'll start in a few weeks. Maybe as soon as this current cold spell ends.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by lightman View Post
    I cast about once a week, starting about the end of the winter and go up until early summer. I also smelt my years collection of lead about the same time. I usually have a buddy or two down for this. You would be more that welcome to come down and hang out. My bench is easily big enough for 2 or 3 guys so you could even bring a mold and a pot if you wanted to. Weather permitting, I'll start in a few weeks. Maybe as soon as this current cold spell ends.
    Thanks! I’ll send you a pm with my contact info. I can’t wait to learn from you. I have absolutely no experience casting

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    We all started off that way. Returning a PM with my contact info. Looking forward to it.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Boy that thing in post 14 looks like it would make a dandy moving Target with the runners on it. Is it for sale?

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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