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Thread: Is a bottom pour ladle worth the cost?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Is a bottom pour ladle worth the cost?

    Looking at a bottom pour ladle for making bulk ingots.5-10 pounds. Does it make a difference in the quality, purity of the ingots?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    I've never thought they were, of course I started casting when I didn't have a lot of extra cash too.

    To my way of thinking, all the bottom pouring ladle gets you is keeping any dross that forms in the ladle out of your ingots. If the lead is clean, as it should be by the time you are pouring ingots, where is the dross coming from?

    My ingot forming ladle is a one pint cast iron sauce pan that I originally bought to use on a coleman stove. Since I no longer cast on the Coleman, the pot got repurposed into something I can use.

    Robert

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The rowels ladles have gotten an excellent reputation not only from bullet caster but in the casting industry as well for a reason. They are very good, To me the bigger issues when casting ingots are. 1) a fast smooth pour thats controllable. 2) a ladle big enough to either pour 1 complete ingot with what it holds or several complete ingots in one dip. Here when casting bigger ingots with a angle iron ingot mould that drops 3 lb ingots and has 4 cavities being able to pour all 4 in one dip really speeds things up.
    The spout on most bottom pours gives a very nice easily controlled pour. The rowels are the best their spouts are large and pour accurately and easily with little splash. Rowel ladles are available from 1 lb up to 50lbs or more one man or 2 man.

    I agree that the smelt should be cleaned before pouring but how many times have you knocked crud loose with the ladle part way thru. The bottom pour is just good insurance when this happens.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I got a 25lb (7” I think) rowell as a gift from family earlier this year. It was a little tense using it the first time, but I’m getting comfortable with it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Thank you. That is whatI wanted to know.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I think I have pretty clean source alloy (mostly isotope containers), and I do multiple rounds of sawdust and wax and skimming. But I still get dross. It may just be clean oxides, but I still like to keep it out of the ingots. I use my Rowell #5 to pour 9-10# storage ingots and also to pour ~2# casting ingots, four at a time, and am very happy with it.

    One thing that often isn't mentioned about the big Rowells: the handles extend straight out from the side of the bowl, not angled upwards like a soup ladle. This makes it hard to fill completely by dipping into the top of a pot, especially when the alloy level drops. Ironically, the easiest way I can think to fill one is from a big bottom pour, in which case, ingot molds that fit can just be filled directly. Lacking a big bottom pour processing pot, I just ladle fill the Rowell then transfer pour into the ingot molds to get the advantages of enough clean alloy to pour big or multiple ingots and good control from the spout.
    Last edited by kevin c; 10-07-2020 at 02:49 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have a bottom pour but I got a smaller 3 pound cast iron ladle that I like using more.
    Boolit Master? Boolit Straw Boss is more like it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
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    They are the only way to go if you need to ladle cast. I use one on certain picky molds that will not behave with my Lee 4-20 pot.

    Nice clean alloy comes out the spout and the gunk (if any) is left floating.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    I used to be a lot pickier with my ingots being perfectly clean. I was loosing lead just to clean as close to perfect as possible. Now I’m not so picky. I only flux with sawdust and save the bee’s wax for the casting pot. Being a bottom pour pot, I feel any impurities I left in when pouring ingots will be at the top. I do aggressively mix and flux my cast pot.
    Some people starting out, have drilled a hole in a kitchen ladle and used it for filling boolit moulds. A little small for ingots though. I cast 2-2 1/2 pound ingots. I use a soup ladle and it fills my angle iron molds up to the top. One at a time. I don’t want to use anything that would be heavier.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I use a bottom pour but still have an old Lyman. For smelting, I bought a stainless steel long handled ladle. I also attach a pair of vise grips which makes the handle longer. Being two types of metal there is a lot less heat transfer.
    Common sense Gun Safety . . .

    Is taught at the Range!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master 44magLeo's Avatar
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    I built a couple ladles. I had some empty 1 lb. propane bottles. Both tall skinny and short fat bottles.
    Cut in half at the seam the short fat holds about 12 lbs. The tall skinny holds about 8 lbs. I have used both. The larger is a bit much to handle easily. The small er on is just about right.
    I have ingots molds that make 1 lb ingots and others that make 2.5 lb. ingots. On the 2.5 lb ingot I pour to cavities per pour. It can do three but the melt is starting to cool and two pours per mold has a good pace. On the 1 lb molds pouring all four per ladle works well.
    With enough of molds you can pour them full and have the first cool enough to dump out and refill. then #2 and so on till the big pots empty.
    Leo

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I use a Rowell Ladle for smelting and I wish I had bought it sooner. I use mostly wheelweights and I recently bought a large skimmer and I really wish I had bought it sooner. These are "buy once and cry once' types of tools that will last a lifetime.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    For ingots only, I don't see why it would make any difference. My smelting pot is a homemade bottom pour, but I don't see any difference in the ingots if I pour them with my ladle, which is a big steel spoon. The reasons I went with a bottom pour was for convenience, plus it allowed me to build a taller pot (rather than short and wide), not because I think it makes better ingots.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I ordered a Rowell #2 this morning. Small enough to handle for longer periods. Large enough to pour small ingots of various alloys. As with all tools, the price has gone up and I should have done this years ago.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist


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    I picked up a bottom pour for making ingots I like being able to pour a few ingots at a time with the bottom pour I flux heavy leaving ash on top of the pot. This keeps the air off the lead and when I dip out more lead and pour I just dump the ash back in the main pot. Fill on one side pour out the other works great when I am done I coat the ladle with old motor oil for storage. If you melt down a fair about of lead I strongly advise picking one up.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Does it make a difference in the quality, purity of the ingots?
    No, but it is a heck of a lot slower than making ingots with a ladle from a cast iron pot
    Regards
    John

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I had not really considered that the Rowell ladle would be that much slower than taking time to ensure the melt was clean with the open ladle. I guess I will find out after my ladle arrives.

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