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Thread: pay attention while smelting

  1. #101
    Boolit Master melter68's Avatar
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    yes molten lead does go all over the place, thats why i always wear gloves and long sleeve shirt

    TREAT LEAD LIKE A LADY, gently

  2. #102
    Boolit Bub
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    Tom Hermans idea of putting suspect lead in the oven to preheat is good. I usually make small batches and just heat it up with my mapp gas torch to see what comes out. I also had a blow up years ago, completely covered my coleman stove. You only have to do it once to gain respect. Good casting to Ya,
    Guy

  3. #103
    Boolit Man
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    Thanks to everyone for all of the horror stories and the wisdom that came with them. I just smelted my first batch of range lead and had these stories in mind during the process. It's a lot safer to learn from other peoples' mistakes.

  4. #104
    Boolit Master
    375RUGER's Avatar
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    I melted a 3/4 bucket of range lead last night. I recovered 68# of lead from it. I had 5 or 6 rounds go off in the pot.
    A while back I was melting a batch, I cool my ingot mould in water some. It dries pretty quick. This time I ladled some in and tinsle fairy was in there. It looked dry on the surface but there must have been a bit of water in the pores.
    Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats. H.L. Mencken

  5. #105
    Boolit Master Nocturnal Stumblebutt's Avatar
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    Thanks to these stories I have gotten in the habit of letting anything questionable heat up to about 400 for 5-10 minutes before cranking up the heat to actually melt the lead. I do not want to meet the tinsel fairy, especially since that would probably cause my wife to put an indefinite ban on smelting.

  6. #106
    Boolit Mold Evltwn's Avatar
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    I use range lead I "mine" from the local gun club. Smelting yields me an average of 85% into ingots. I am absolutely paranoid about a visit from the tinsel fairy, so I am as careful as I can be...does anyone else think it a bit strange to play with 700 degree lead and call it a hobby?? Count me as one of the strange ones! As for wheel weights, I can't get any out the local tire shops...they have all switched to zinc. But, harvesting 1000 pounds or so a year from the club keeps me in lead, so no reason for me to seek another source. Be safe and have fun, guys.

  7. #107
    Boolit Bub
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    Great warning for a someone new like me. Makes me want to get more clothes to cover every part of me.

  8. #108
    Boolit Master

    PatMarlin's Avatar
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    Simply learning proper techniques of casting and smelting, and paying attention to what you're doing like when reloading will eliminate a visit from the Tinsel Fairy (for the most part). I've been lucky and safe.

    ...

  9. #109
    Boolit Master


    DxieLandMan's Avatar
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    After reading stories like these and of one guy who almost was blinded by having sweat drop in the melter, is the reason that I use goggles, wear long pants and long shirts when I cast. It may be 100 outside but I'm not one to take any chances.

  10. #110
    Boolit Master The Real Doc Holliday's Avatar
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    I admit I have been a victim of the Tinsel Fairy, I was melting pewter to cast into small ingots to add to my alloy, I am very careful when smelting any metal and this day was not exception. I got smoke in my eyes so I turned and backed up a 1/2 step, took off my safety glasses to clear my eyes of smoke and when I looked up and towards the pot I got hit in my eye with molten Pewter.... Lucky it was a small piece or I would have lost the eye, I fully recovered but now wear a face shield. I never did find out what caused it.... Only thing I could come up with is maybe the squirrel in the tree above me wanted to punk me :takinWiz:

    Doc

  11. #111
    Boolit Master

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    Not Many years ago at work we had a furnace go up when adding scrap casting to it. Some joker had thrown a plastic water bottle in the scrap tub. This was molten aluminum and several were burnt a couple badly. Water on the surface does steam off Water that is encapsolated In metal or other container and coated with more molten metal turns to super steam and builds pressure rapidly creating a Bomb. Whenthat 50,000 lb furnace went it was heard thru the whole plant and felt thru most of it. was probably 100lbs of metal thrown out.
    When adding scrap lead lower it to the surface and hold it there for a few minutes allowing the pot to burn off any moisture before lowering it the rest of the way into the pot. I used to smelt alloy lead over a coal fire in the driveway so shutting the pot off wasnt an option. I used to get large quantitys of range lead from an indoor range and it had paper, copper, moisture, dirt, and the occassional live round in it. I was melting in a 25lb propane cylinder I had cut the top off of for a pot. Around 300lbs at a crack. I found that a scoop or ladle full of scrap rested on the top for a few minutes cured the moisture issue. All my ladles strainers and stirers had 4 - 6 ft handles on them. Melting any material is a dangerous proposal and you need to wear proper saftey gear and stay/work as far away as is posible. I would try and sort out as much crud as possible but some always gets by. Be safe even ingots can pick up moisture lower everything into the pot slowly at arms length or farther allowing it to heat and remove moisture at the surface or above.Lead transfers heat fast an a end in the pot will be 700* and 300* (est)a couple inches above that allowing moisture to burn off at or above the surface.

  12. #112
    Boolit Bub
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    If I have a batch that is a little damp looking it all goes in a cold pot and a low flame the moisture evaporates before the lead starts to melt..If you had an old oven it would be a good pre heat at 200 degrees ...stay safe Pat

  13. #113
    Boolit Mold
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    O.K asking my question. Can over heating lead be bad for casting later on from my ingots? I removed about 15 pounds of stuff after smelting and fluxing 128 pounds of same. Some of my pours turned blue/purple. Is it possible I skimmed off antimony or Tin? The lead was from roofing flashing and 5 pound plumbers blocks. thanks Dududad

  14. #114
    Boolit Master
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    It is possible to convert tin to oxide (which then skims off as dross) by overheating your alloy. Whether you did so, is hard to say.

  15. #115
    Boolit Mold
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    I can only say it was shinny and some type of metal but fluxing with saw dust did not put it back in the melt. thanks for answering. Waiting on my Elmer Keith 44 type mold.

  16. #116
    Boolit Master
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    I just started this hobby myself, but I learned in firefighting academy way in back in 1982 that water expands 1700 times in volume as it makes steam. Useful info for firefighting and lead melting.

  17. #117
    I have a lid on my cast iron pot that's the cut off bottom of an old propane tank. I use it to preheat the next batch going into the pot. I've seen steam and smoke come out that lid. It never quite gets hot enough to melt lead, just enough to dry off water. I don't add from this lid to a hot pot, I need a break between pots.

  18. #118
    Boolit Master

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    Thats a good idea and a good use of the otherwise wasted heat.

  19. #119
    Boolit Mold Benjamin Robert's Avatar
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    I had a visit from the tinsel fairy recently. A friend of mine gave me a bucket of lead duck decoy weights that he found metal detecting. Since the nature of a decoy weight is such that the weight is often underwater they certainly contain moisture. Even though they sat around and dried out for years when i melted them down steam came out and made a mess.

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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