ADvertise hereRotoMetals2Titan ReloadingLee Precision
Inline FabricationStainLess Steel MediaGraf & Sons

Page 8 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678
Results 141 to 156 of 156

Thread: A myth about water and molten lead

  1. #141
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    92
    First of all, Happy New Year's to everyone!

    I've been fortunate, in that I've never had water get under the surface of the lead. I first cast bullets as a teenager, back in the 70s. My dad gave me his old pot, molds and about 30# of lead a couple of years ago, and I got everything working again (it hadn't been used since I last cast in 1976).

    I've been water quenching my bullets, but I use a 3# coffee can about half full of water, which sits about a foot off the floor, well below the level of the workbench. I float a piece of plywood on the top of the water and drop my bullets from the mold onto the plywood, and let them roll off into the water, so there is no splash. An alternative method I read about elsewhere was to stretch a towel loosely over the quench bucket with a 1-2" hole cut in the center. Drop the bullets on the towel and they roll down and drop through the hole into the water, and the towel catches any resulting splashes.

    I have an electric skillet I bought from a thrift store specifically for casting and reloading. Initially for wax lubing, but I've found that it works well for dumping my quenched bullets into when I'm done casting after I've drained the water from the can. Dump all the bullets, good, rejects, sprue, whatever that was in the water, into the skillet and turn it on simmer for half an hour or so with the lid off. Then let them air cool. Sort the duds for remelting and save the good ones.

    Also, and I guess I just lucked into this one, I always preheat any 1# ingots I'm going to add to the pot by setting them on the top for a while first. I was just preheating them to make them melt faster without dropping the pot temp. I never realized I was drying out any incidental condensation at the same time.

  2. #142
    Boolit Master FAsmus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northern Wyoming
    Posts
    813
    Gentlemen;

    Here in Wyoming it is cold. - Time to build inventory!

    I cast with a old cut-down turkey-cooker. This outfit is too hot to run much (if at all) during the warm months so until it cools down to 20 or less it stands idle.

    I water-quench from the mold so when I start the water is quite cool. Most times the temperature in my unheated casting shed is well below freezing.

    When I first began heat-treating from the mold I thought I might have to add some glycol to the water to keep it from freezing. This has not proven to be the case for even when I cast at "0" or so it never gets more than a crust of ice at the edges of the steel quench bucket.

    The deal for this thread is getting water below the surface of molten lead: Since I cast with an open flame what I've run into is the cold ingots collecting condensation as I pass them through the combustion gases on the way to the pot. This has not caused any explosive problems but at times it sure has "crackled" in a most scary way!

    My cure is to place the cold ingots alongside the pot until they get well above 200 degrees before adding them to the melt.

    Good evening,
    Forrest

  3. #143
    Boolit Master dkf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Pa
    Posts
    1,227
    I have been known to put wet water dropped bullets (didn't pass my QC) into a hot pot from time. A sizzle and a pop or two is all you get.

    This year I was pouring babbit bearing journals. Already poured the bottom half, cleaned it up and prepped it to pour the top half. I prehetated th ecap to about 2 hundred degrees before putting it on but forgot to heat the shaft and caps up more. (go to 350+ deg F preheat before pouring) My mistake resulted in a babbit geyser coming out of pour hole. There was residual moisture on the shaft (sweat) that did not get burned off because I forgot to the final preheat. If I was not wearing glass, gloves, heavy long sleeve shirt and pants I would have gotten burned.

  4. #144
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Michigan Lansing Area
    Posts
    3,559
    After reading this thread I have to say I have gleaned much valuable information. Never considered what a hot spill would do on concrete, or how cold tools might get condensation that would get thrust into the melt.

    Seems to me as with many other activities that carry some safety risks to be managed consistent safe routine is a good starting point, followed by knowing the "why" you do it that way. Several of the incidents reported seemed to stem from something being different in a way that normal routine that would be generally safe did not take into account. Temperature being different, older oxidized ingots, material melted being more porous etc. I would say that is where knowing the why is important to combine with a assessment of what is different this time.

    Adding steps to the routine such as pre-heat of materials or water drop barriers to splashing that several have mentioned seems a good idea too. I'm probably going to start looking for a counter top oven appliance at thrift stores or garage sales.

    Having and using the safety equipment seems a must too. I hate it when something goes wrong and the item I should have been using is hanging on the wall or sitting on a shelf. Most times when what I'm doing bites me in the butt it's because something different or unexpected enters the mix or I'm doing something trivial so I don't fully set up to do the job. A couple of news papers when touch up painting instead of a full drop cloth would be my most recent example. Dropped the can lid. Cleaning that up took a lot longer than the drop cloth would have.

  5. #145
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Northern MN
    Posts
    73
    I say that water getting into the pot while the lead is molten can lead to an eruption. I say this because it happened to me this summer when I was casting bullets. I was being impatient and hastily dried off some water quenched bullets and dropped them in the pot. I can tell you that I got a lot of lead that blew out some landing on my arm which did not feel all that great.

    I can see how water dripped on top would do nothing as it just goes to steam, but I think the water in the lube groves must have been carried down to the bottom of the pot with the bullets and then turned to steam sending lead flying.

    It does happen as I can attest to.

  6. #146
    Boolit Master FAsmus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northern Wyoming
    Posts
    813
    Jonk;

    Far out!

    Forrest

  7. #147
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    west central Illinois
    Posts
    3,746
    After 40 years of working in a heat treat department that used pots of lead as a heating element, I believe I am well acquainted with things that go pop and things that explode in molten lead.
    We always had some newbie who thought it would be fun to see the old guy jump when he threw his snowball at the lead pot. What newbie didn't know was that snowball would sink just below the surface and go off like a bomb. Twice I had over half the lead come out of that pot because some dummy tried to be cute. It held 1200 lbs when full. Fortunately I was able to doge both times as most of it went straight up.
    Mostly I was able to catch them at it before they actually threw the snowball. Those 2 times the newbie ended up draped over a work skid wearing bruises. When the boss found out what had happened he decided it was just self defense and didn't even write me up for punching the guy.

    The point being, water and molten lead don't mix well. You may get away with it a few times but sooner or later if you get careless it will bite you.
    Last edited by tazman; 03-01-2014 at 07:34 PM.

  8. #148
    Boolit Master FAsmus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northern Wyoming
    Posts
    813
    Jonk;

    Wow!

    Forrest

  9. #149
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Burien, WA.
    Posts
    12
    As a Cable Splicer trained in Lead work, using a Lead Pot to Wipe a Sleeve making joints out of Wiping Solder and Lead. Any water into the pot of 800 degree Lead meant the pot would blow and all the lead goes all over, over the tent if it was raining or all over you if you were in the way of the flying lead. Voice of experience as it has happened to me. I am very careful arround hot lead, in the pot while casting or melting lead to start casting. Don't wear rings, metal watches etc, as hot lead will stick to such items and burn like its on fire instantly. While casting I always drop the sprue into a towel, and the cast bullet into another towel, maybe sometime I will try the way of dropping the cast into water to cool fast. Vern

  10. #150
    Boolit Master midnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    East Troy, WI
    Posts
    935
    Yesterday I learned something about the tinsel fairy. I melt and clean my scrap lead in one of Davy Crockett's cut off propane cylinder pots over a 54,000 BTU fish boiler. I was cleaning some very soft lead from lead pipes so I could extrude it into wire for swaging. I melted a lot of smaller pieces & had about 4 in of melt in the pot. I then started melting some 4 foot sections of 1 in pipe. The pipe had been stored dry for years and I was sure it was dry. WRONG !! It wasn't a very powerful tinsel fairy but I still have several pounds of lead to scrape off my well weathered deck. Treat all pipe like a rifle barrel. Don't point it at anything you don't want to destroy.

    Bob
    Si hostes visibilis, etiam tu

  11. #151
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    California
    Posts
    264
    I can only talk from experience and have been casting as long as most of any here. Early on I was unfortunate enough to have spilled some water in a molten pot of lead. I don't know if I would call it an explosion but lead flew everywhere but luckily I escaped being burned. The amount was more than a couple of drops or "dew" on an ingot which I doubt would do nothing more than sizzle for a second or two. Call it what you want but I think the issue is the amount of water it takes to cause a genuine problem.

  12. #152
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Somewhere in the woods of Central Oklahoma
    Posts
    470
    Back in the 70's, when I was casting for my .45 cal muzzleloader, I was using recycled wheel weights. They were mighty dirty and figured I should at least wash all the oil and junk off them. Even though I understood the "tinsel fairy" problem, I often put them in the pot before they were absolutely dry. Needless to say, I learned my lesson. Now, some 45 years later when I'm getting serious about reloading and casting my own bullets, I've a good recollection of the dreaded tinsel fairy. I know that water spilled on top of a pot of molten lead will do nothing but produce steam. But I'm danged sure that none of my lead has any hidden moisture in it so when I submerge it in the pot it won't blow sky-high.
    Chris

  13. #153
    Boolit Mold VeryOldGuy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Fort Bragg USA
    Posts
    6
    But it works wonders for hardening!
    ​March to Cadence. HOOAH!

  14. #154
    Boolit Bub Surfdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    31
    Great thread. Now I understand how the tinsel fairy came to visit me...hopefully for the first and last time!

    Surfdog

  15. #155
    Perma-Banned



    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,727
    This really has nothing to do with the intent of the thread...but it IS interesting.

    Wet finger in molten lead.

  16. #156
    Boolit Mold
    ARMetals's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Farmingdale, NJ
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by shoot-n-lead View Post
    This really has nothing to do with the intent of the thread...but it IS interesting.

    Wet finger in molten lead.
    That's just about the craziest thing I've ever seen them do.

Page 8 of 8 FirstFirst 12345678

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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