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Thread: Preparing Lee molds

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Preparing Lee molds

    I have seen that some talk about sanding down the top side of Lee molds to remove any imperfections or gouges. Will doing this cause any issues as the vent lines will be removed? I do sand the sprue plate with 600 and higher to remove any on it but not sure about the top of the mold.
    I have a couple of Lee molds that I first started casting with that are really gouged on the tops but still cast decent bullets.

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    I have Lee mold that are the same way and I touch them up just because the looks bother me .

  3. #3
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    My opinion only, but if it still casts decent boolits, I wouldn't mess with it.

    Robert

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Just got these two but someone forgot to finish them

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Try casting with them first. Most of my Lee stuff is from years ago so maybe it has changed because I don't know why so many people crap on their stuff.

  6. #6
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    Almost all of my molds are Lee and I haven't had any problems with them in the years I've had them.
    This is not the end. This not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning! Winston Churchill, Nov. 1942

  7. #7
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    There are no vent lines anywhere on those two molds so I can’t see how they are going to work. I’m not crapping on Lee at all as I have lots of their stuff. The six other Lee molds I have cast really nice bullets and have very little amount of scratches or gouges but the two I first got when starting out casting are really rough.

  8. #8
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    Of my 24 Lee molds, I have never had to do anything to a Lee mold except fill it with lead. Any "finishing" you may do will void the warranty. I did replace a sprue plate on one that had an imperfect cutting surface. Cost me $4. I can live with that.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master Tatume's Avatar
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    I wash Lee molds in hot water and dish washing detergent. Then I produce excellent bullets.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrier View Post
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    Just got these two but someone forgot to finish them
    Interesting.
    While there doesn't seem to be any vent lines, there does look to be a "relieved" horizontal band that should act as a vent. Before I would modify a new Lee mold, I would clean them with Hot water, dish soap, and tooth brush...and then preheat the mold, then cast some to see if the mold is functional. If it proves to be troublesome, I'd call Lee first before decided on any modifications. If it needs better venting, that is easy to do. If the sprue plate scores the top of the mold, I'd search for the burrs on the plate and remove them. I can't imagine a case where I'd ever "sand" the top of a new Lee mold.
    Good Luck.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Wash in Dawn and hot water and try the mold. It might surprise you. Lee has come aa long way over the years.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master JoeJames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lesharris View Post
    Wash in Dawn and hot water and try the mold. It might surprise you. Lee has come aa long way over the years.
    After that I have found that it does not cast real good boolits until the second or third bout of casting. In other words don't give up after the first or second casting session. I reckon it is kind of like seasoning a cast iron skillet.
    Britons shall never be slaves.

  13. #13
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    I don’t think I should have put I the picture of the new molds. I originally was talking about two molds for 45/70 that I have when I first started casting. Needless to say I didn’t treat them very well and they have gouges on the top of the blocks.
    My question was will it hurt if I sanded the gouges out as the vent lines will also be sanded down.
    The picture is two new molds I had just received and there are no vent lines anywhere.
    Lee has been contacted and I’m waiting for their reply.
    JonB there is no vent or relief in the blocks it is just the angle of the picture.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    my lee molds just get washed and used ,they all work fine.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master Tatume's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrier View Post
    JonB there is no vent or relief in the blocks it is just the angle of the picture.
    Jon is correct. The vents are in the faces of the mold halves. They are clearly visible, and work very well. I have many similar molds; no trouble with any of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carrier View Post
    My question was will it hurt if I sanded the gouges out as the vent lines will also be sanded down.
    If the gouges are interfering with the fit of the sprue plate, remove them. If the mold casts bullets with good bases and no flashing or finning, leave it alone.

    If you sand the tops just enough to allow the sprue plate to sit flat, it is unlikely that you will produce an airtight seal. If you do make an airtight seal, add a vent. It is easily done by scribing a line or two from the edge of the cavity to the edge of the block. I doubt you will need to do so.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I would clean them with alcohol or lacquer thinner or acetone, then smoke them with a butane lighter. I don't know if the sprue plate should be removed or not. I think I remember taking one off and it didn't seem like it was something to do very often. The Lee molds I used did well with smoking. Butane lighter is better than a candle.

  17. #17
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    Wash them up and let them dry. Find an old pencil with a wooden outer and go over every mm of it with the graphite tip. Break the tip off then burnish it well with the wooden part of the pencil. It might need some occasional lube from a Q tip and synthetic 2 stroke oil but that's all.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrier View Post
    I don’t think I should have put I the picture of the new molds. I originally was talking about two molds for 45/70 that I have when I first started casting. Needless to say I didn’t treat them very well and they have gouges on the top of the blocks.
    My question was will it hurt if I sanded the gouges out as the vent lines will also be sanded down.
    The picture is two new molds I had just received and there are no vent lines anywhere.
    Lee has been contacted and I’m waiting for their reply.
    JonB there is no vent or relief in the blocks it is just the angle of the picture.
    Oh, OK.

    I wouldn't worry about "gouges" on top of the mold, UNLESS...it's galling right at the sprue pivot screw area, as this will cause a sprue plate to not sit flat or bind or lift. Of the 40+ lee molds I've had, I did have to remove galling in that sprue pivot screw area on two molds that I received from someone else...apparently they didn't use any sprue plate lube.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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    ― The Dalai Lama, Seattle Times, May 2001

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonB_in_Glencoe View Post
    Oh, OK.

    I wouldn't worry about "gouges" on top of the mold, UNLESS...it's galling right at the sprue pivot screw area, as this will cause a sprue plate to not sit flat or bind or lift. Of the 40+ lee molds I've had, I did have to remove galling in that sprue pivot screw area on two molds that I received from someone else...apparently they didn't use any sprue plate lube.
    Thanks for the information Jon. I received an email from Lee stating that the two molds that I’m talking about not having vent lines like the other Lee molds I have say there are fine and to go ahead and use them. However they did not answer my question about them being a old or new design.
    Those of you who have Lee molds like JonB and Tatume are these an old design? You are both right they appear to be vent lines but they sure are small.
    It just seems odd that if they are an old design that they would still be in stock.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tar Heel View Post
    Of my 24 Lee molds, I have never had to do anything to a Lee mold except fill it with lead. Any "finishing" you may do will void the warranty. I did replace a sprue plate on one that had an imperfect cutting surface. Cost me $4. I can live with that.
    Iíll bet you keep a Phillips screwdriver handy when casting though.


    Iíve had lee moulds that work perfect out of the box. Iíve also had some that didnít drop easy and needed burrs removed. Iíve also had spruce cutters that needed sharpening to keep from tearing or jumping the bump. And Iíve had spruce cutter pivots strip out and require repair. Iíve had handles come loose during casting, Iíve had handle pivot pins drop out during casting and require restaking. And Iíve had the old style alignment pins back out during casting. And, finally, like everyone else... I remind myself what a ďgood value for the moneyĒ they are. Guess I like activation, cause I keep using them.

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