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Thread: pay attention while smelting

  1. #21
    Boolit Master Ghugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    Daytona,
    Don't be afraid or ashamed to ask questions here. I GUARANTEE YOU, we all started this hobby without a clue. Some of us just started a lot longer ago than others.
    Amen brother!

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom W. View Post
    Bret, when I was working at the sawmill, I was in contact with molten Babbitt every day. We used the Babbitt for saw guides, and I had to mold , remelt and mold some more. The guides were sometimes wet when I put them back into the pot, and it was a big (maybe 800 lbs) pot. I quickly learned that I couldn't tell by looking if the stuff ready to be re-melted was really dry or no. I started to stack them on the edge of the pot and after warning the people in the area, poke them in with an old push broom handle and running like hell. Tinsel Fairy City....

    I found out that a person could pour water ONTO the molten Babbitt and, as you said, it would just steam up really fast, with no ill effect. Likewise, oil didn't seem to have any effect other than a lot of smoke and then it would burst into flame. However, water on the plates, when dropped so the water got UNDER the melt was a whole different story. And hot Babbitt will scar...


    I never had any trouble with bird poop,moths, wasps, grasshoppers, and other bugs. The never got under the surface, and all they did was stink really bad.
    So the ingots were falling UNDER the melt. And Fishhawks lead pipe would be ripe for that type of thing. I think my basic theory is right, but in practice I think I'll just be as careful as possible and try to avoid any events of my own!

  3. #23
    Boolit Master at Heaven's Range 2010

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    lead

    try making a mold out of plaster of paris.my mother was very forgiving of me.course I cleaned the ceiling.if I remember right it was a metal one in kitchen.
    In those days instead of reparing by plastering they had embossed plates they put up.lead came of easier on them.I learned.thats 70 yrs ago.
    WILDCATT

  4. #24
    Boolit Master cohutt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 357maximum View Post
    I will take the 2X4 smack to third degree burns any day of the week...I have had both the smack goeas away alot mo faster than the 3rd degree burns.
    Actually, they don't do "degrees" much anymore. They grade them by thickness now as in "partial "and "full" thickness burns.

    How do I know?

    Without event, I had successfully smelted almost 2 tons of lead. Then in September, I let my guard down for a few seconds after a small smelt in September.

    A full, graphically illustrated thread was promised to 45nut a few months back, to be posted once my treatment had run its course. I'll still do that, and will provide details.

    Until then, 69daytona, consider yourself fortunate.






  5. #25
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    Cohutt


    OUCH....hope it is healing well and without any complications....OUCH Heal fast and watch for infections.


    The originator of this thread thought I was being too harsh on him apparently...well now you know the why I was harsh (in your eyes I guess) and direct to the point....look at them pics..that sh*t hurts, and I would never want to see someone get hurt just because they were ignorant. Like I said...I will take the 2X4 anyday. I carry a nice scar on my right ankle from a lead burn when an aluminum pot I was smelting in let loose about 100 lbs of melt with no warning then filled my boot.

  6. #26
    Boolit Master cohutt's Avatar
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    I'm finally able to put on a sock without having to bandage or cover the (now) scars after almost 4 months. Looked like i was going to have to graft the instep wound but it finally came around. Watch for full thread in a few days.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master Lead melter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyEd View Post
    Could it have been a round of live ammo that caused the Tinsel Fairy visit? A nickle .45 round could make things interesting. Not much different from the scrap, visually...

    Amen to that brother! Somehow some 22 Shorts got mixed in with some range scrap I was processing. It was wintertime and I had my Lee pot covered with aluminum foil to help hold in heat. Those shorts really messed up the foil and sprayed lead splatters within a 2' radius. Could have been me and not the table.
    "Ignorance is the parent of fear."-Herman Melville

  8. #28
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    I certainly don't mean for anyone to think I'm advocating any careless behavior. I'm just trying to figure out the HOWS and WHYS of these events. Safety first, always!

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 69daytona View Post
    Thanks for those of you who are a big help and have increased my knowledge. the rest that have nothing constructive to say are just like my dad if I didnt do it right the first time even not knowing what I was doing I got smacked with a 2x4 or whatever was handy.
    This board, and the one it grew from, has always been about factual information and helping casters and shooters learn from, and avoid the mistakes of others. You blamed a mistake on someone else ("I'll never buy scrap lead from that guy again") and it is only natural that several people were going to catch that and call you on it.

    When you log in, look down at the bottom and note how many "guests" there are at any given time. Lot of brand new people to the sliver stream. Bad information needs to be straightened out quick, else it ends up on Snopes. Also keep in mind that what we do can be very dangerous if we do not do it correctly. So bad information (blaming a tinsel fairy visit on the source of scrap lead rather than the smelter) is going to get corrected muy pronto.

    Do this long enough, you're going to get some burns. How serious depends largely on you, the precautions you take and how complacent you allow yourself to get. All it takes is once. I'm fortunate. In the years I've been doing this, my burns have been minor. And guess what? Every single one of them was MY fault. Not the pot's fault. Not the lead's fault. Not the mould's fault. My fault.

    I didn't see anyone hitting you with a 2x4. I saw "glad you're okay, BUT . . . " type of messages. And those messages were not just for your benefit, but for everyone who visits here.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master cohutt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recluse View Post
    Do this long enough, you're going to get some burns. How serious depends largely on you, the precautions you take and how complacent you allow yourself to get. All it takes is once. I'm fortunate. In the years I've been doing this, my burns have been minor. And guess what? Every single one of them was MY fault. Not the pot's fault. Not the lead's fault. Not the mould's fault. My fault.
    Amen. My burns were my fault.

    God didn't briefly change the standing laws of physics and thermodynamics just to watch me hop on one foot.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by cohutt View Post

    God didn't briefly change the standing laws of physics and thermodynamics just to watch me hop on one foot.
    And He most assuredly didn't change those laws just to hear you or me or any of us add a four letter word beginning with "D" after His name, either.

    While difficult to look at (your pictures), glad to know that everything is going to be okay.

  12. #32
    Boolit Man
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    This happened to me last spring. I was melting a quantity of range scrap after the snow had melted. I had picked up a fair amount of fired boolits and had made sure they were dry. I had been melting lead and pouring ingots. The pot was about half full and I decided to add more to it. As I always wear gloves and a face protector I took a handful of scrap and dropped it into the pot. The explosion was instant and the visit of the tinsel fairy visiting was evident. It appears that a gas checked bullit had collected moisture between the gas check and base of the bullit caused the explosion. Thanks to my protective gear I wasn't burned. I did however learn not to add gas checked bullits to hot metal. They go in with cold metal at the start of a melt and even then I am careful and cover the pot
    It might be noted, the good thing about snow is, when spring arrives recovered bullits are reasonably clean and in good shape. I have also been known to recycle those nasty J word bullits and re-shoot them. Especially for my .45 acp. I have some that have so many rifling marks on them they would drive a T.V. Forensic specialist nuts.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master

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    Whoa- glad everyone's basically OK.

    I think some thought needs to go into designing a safety lid or confinment shield of some type over our smelting pots.

    Even a thick- an open bottom wood box with legs and solid top that stood over your pot. You could install a side door- so you load a ladle of scrape, stick it in the side door and dump it in the pot. Shut the door, and let the melt do it's thing.

    A top hatch lid could be put on the top of the box for processing your melt well after the danger period was over.

    Any explosion would be contained, or at least confined to protech from flinging tinsel.

  14. #34
    Boolit Master cohutt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatMarlin View Post
    Whoa- glad everyone's basically OK.

    I think some thought needs to go into designing a safety lid or confinment shield of some type over our smelting pots.

    Even a thick- an open bottom wood box with legs and solid top that stood over your pot. You could install a side door- so you load a ladle of scrape, stick it in the side door and dump it in the pot. Shut the door, and let the melt do it's thing.

    A top hatch lid could be put on the top of the box for processing your melt well after the danger period was over.

    Any explosion would be contained, or at least confined to protech from flinging tinsel.

    With my big 22qt DO i can leave the lid on but pulled maybe 1" towards me. Using a shovel, I add wheelweights by gently dropping them on the far side of the lid. The lid tilts just enough under the weight so that they slide in the crack. From 3-4 ft away and on the opposite side from the narrow opening I am protected from tinsel should any pops occur.

    Berm stuff ALWAYS starts in a cold pot; whatever fits in is all that gets smelted that day. Too much moisture is the dirt that in on the bullets regardless of what i might do to try and remove it.

  15. #35
    Boolit Bub Airweight38's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm glad I'm reading this. I melted down a partial 5-gallon bucket of this stuff just a couple of weeks ago and had no idea moisture could be that much of a problem with range lead... I'm still not sure what I can do differently than last time. I was dumping it into the pot 5lbs at a time with a little hand shovel so that I could stay on top of the dross, since my pot was only 10" in diameter. Maybe if I get a bigger pot I can do it all at the same time?

  16. #36
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    We have all been careless at melting at one time or another. This is a good thread, wakes us up again a bit....Buck
    NRA LIFER .. "THE CAST BULLET HANDLOADER IS THE ONLY ONE THAT REALLY MAKES ANY OF HIS AMMUNITION. OTHERS MEARLY ASSEMBLE IT". -E.H. HARRISON

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  17. #37
    Boolit Master


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    During cold weather, scrap stored outdoors and brought to a warmer area will condense moisture and bring a visit from the fairy.
    A water drop on top of the melt should just dance like an ice skater till it evaporates. However if something pushes it even slightly below the surface it will expand by about 3000 times its volume instantly.
    I lost 60# of melt in one big kabooooom. There is tinsel over 30' up in the tree over my smelting area. Luckily I heard it and ran out from under the silver rain.
    Anyone who has had a visit will be VERY cautious from then on.
    For that reason I smelt in the summer and cast with clean, DRY, WARMED ingots in the Winter.

  18. #38
    Boolit Man
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    This is what happened to me a couple of years ago. I was using Marvelux as a flux and was using a Lyman spoon to stir it in. I stirred and cleaned the melt as usual and poured some ingots. The next day I started up my Lee 10lb pot and without thinking picked up the Lyman spoon to stir it with. Apparently some of the Marvelux had adhered to the spoon and as it is hygroscopic it had absorbed some moisture and when I put it into the melt the tinsel fairy appeared instantly. Fortunately I had the bowl away from me and wasn't hit with the ejected material although some got on my gloves but not me. I don't use Marvelux anymore.

  19. #39
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    Bob, It was not the Marvelux but the spoon that had the moisture. My casting place is in a 12x24 outdoor building. Do I have to tell you that in Louisiana we have tons of humidity. I turned on my pot and when it came up to speed I inserted a large metal spoon that stays by the pot for stirring. The second it hit that lead there was a loud pop. Stupid me, the spoon had condesation all over it from the nights temperature change. If you see moisture on your vehicle in the morning you can bet it's on every other metal object. I don't use the Marvelux because it attracts moisture and rusted 2 of my previous casting pots. I also use Randy Marlins wood flux and the same thing happened early one morning when adding flux. Full of moisture.
    Shooter of the "HOLY BLACK" SASS 81802 AKA FAIRSHAKE; NRA ; BOLD; WARTHOG;Deadwood Marshal;Bayou Bounty Hunter; So That his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat; 44 WCF filled to the top, 210 gr. bullet

  20. #40
    Boolit Master

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    THAT's a good point-

    Specially when using Randymarlins flux... DON'T leave it uncovered outside in an area with moisture. As it is wood, and wood will absorb moisture out of the air.

    Feel it first. If it feels damp, dry it out in the house before using it. It drys out pretty fast. Also follow the instructions which say to "Set it on top of your melt and let it char before stiring".

    That insures the moisture content burns off quickly, and safely. Right now I've got batches here drying out that I milled off of frozen logs. You can feel it by the dampness, and weight. Very obvious. One cool thing though is the frozen wood makes big wide micro thin shavings. Good for flux.

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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