How to pour lead sinkers, my version.

Mahigeer

Active member
#1
A friend (non-member here) has started to pour sinkers, so I am posting this so he can see the pictures. Perhaps could be useful to members here too.





HOW-TO-POUR LEAD SINKERS AND JIG HEADS 8/8/2012



This How-To information is based on the author’s own experience.

It is intended to be a helpful instruction for anybody who wants to pour lead sinkers, jig heads, or other items using a mold and molten lead.



Lead fumes are harmful to breath. Lead has a melting point of 621.5 F.

It can be dangerous to work with.

By following this instruction the users take full responsibility for their own safety.

Author is held harmless from any damages whether physical or to the property.



Use the information below at your own risk.





General concept; melt lead. Pour lead in a mold. Remove and use. If the pour is not good, put it back in the molten pot. It is very forgiving!



However, the way that the above can be done is important. Most importantly for safety sake and the outcome of the work.







SAFETY



1-The tan mat under the items is a welding mat. Somewhat fire resistant.







The melting operations MUST be done in a WELL ventilated area. I work outdoors on a work table.



The work surface area should be fire proof. I use a ¼” concrete board, known as Hardy Board which is used as a tile backer to install ceramic tiles. Then I put on a welding mat.

http://www.jameshardie.com/homeowner/products_backerboard_quarterInch.shtml



I have one fan blowing at a low speed toward the melting pot, and one with a higher speed close to the melting pot, pointed the other direction and removing any fumes from the pot.

Use of a proper respirator is also recommended. I work outdoors and with the two fans and melting pot I did not needed the respirator.



A pair of safety goggles should be worn when working with molten lead.



A pair of gloves also should be worn. I use a pair of welding gloves.

http://www.harborfreight.com/welding-gloves-39664.html



Long sleeve shirt and/or welding sleeves should be worn. A long pants and leather shoes are also recommended.

http://www.harborfreight.com/18-inch-split-leather-sleeves-40206.html



I also wear a welder’s apron to cover my chest and front torso.

http://www.harborfreight.com/split-leather-welding-apron-45193.html



A pair of needle nose pliers is good for removing the hot cast.

A bucket of ice water will help reduce the heat of any accidental lead splashes and burns. Depending on severity, a Dr. may have to be consulted.







EQUIPMENT



Here is a picture of some of the equipment:



2-Various ways to melt lead. I use the smaller one for softer lead to pour removable split shots.



The electric hot plate is to warm up the mold and small parts. It is not for melting lead.



Lead melting pot

There are many ways to melt lead. You can put the lead ingots in a metal pot or a ladle and use a heating source.

It produces a lot of fumes and handling a hot ladle full of molten lead can be dangerous.

If the lead I receive from Ebay is too big and odd shape, I first melt it using the ladle and the stove.

I use fluxing compound to clean the lead and then pour it in the ingot mold for future use.



I use the larger size Lee electrical melting pot on the left.

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=2055



First I got the smaller version, because it was cheaper. However, it did not have the volume to make a good pour for the larger sinkers or cast.

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=4_188_2056



Since it pours from the bottom, it is much cleaner lead. Also there is very little or no fumes, particularly if you use the two fans setup like I do.

Since the nozzle is under the pot, it can be positioned very close to the mold sprue cavity. Thus, the safety margin is much greater than using flame and ladle full of molten lead.



Another benefit of having the mold cavity so close to the pot nozzle, is that the lead is not exposed too much to the outside air. Consequently, it stays hotter while being poured.



Molds

Do-it Molds is the best known company who makes molds.

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=1_10



With every mold comes a form to be sent in for a free catalog. They also sell molds with no cavity in them. Purchaser can have a machine shop route the desired shape. It could be cost prohibitive if one does not own a milling machine.



I got most of my molds from Ebay. There are lots of used ones on sale at Ebay. Some molds require an additional item to allow production of the proper item.

Be sure to consult the mold manufacture’s catalog before bidding on Ebay.



For example without the “T” copper rod, the egg sinkers would not have a hole in the center of them for the fishing line to go through. The “T” copper rod is shown this way for illustration. During actual pour the mold is closed and the “T” handle is at the hinge side of the mold allowing to be pulled out of the mold after the lead has solidified.



3-The removable split shot sinker mold needs a flat bar to produce the proper sinker.





However, the mold on the bottom of the picture for making another kind of removable split shot does not require any additional parts.





Hilts are another one, though not as well known.

http://www.hiltsmolds.com/



4-A claw sinker, a 1oz. torpedo sinker and a lead head made by Hilts Company.





There is even an $8.00 DVD on Ebay that shows how to make your own molds. I bought one and was not impressed by it.



Lead ingots

I got mine from Ebay. If you get some lead wheel weights (it is outlawed in California for the tire stores to carry them), you can melt them and by using the lead fluxing compound, you can have some clean lead.

To pour some sinkers like the removable split sinkers, a soft type of lead should be used.



5-Some of the lead I bought on Ebay came looking like these.





6-Some of the tools I use.







Lead ingot mold

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=2066

It can be used to pour clean lead after fluxing in it to be used later in the Lee pot.





Lead fluxing

Follow the instructions on the label.

I use a small amount in the pot. Stir and scrape the top layer with an old fork.

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=4_188_2068

This process removes any impurities in the lead. It should be done several times during pouring particularly if a new piece of lead has been added to the pot.





Mold release

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=4_188_2069

You can also use a candle to blacken the mold. It coats the mold with a thin black sooth. Sometimes it is not needed. Just experiment without it first.

I have even read about using PAM cooking spray as a release agent.





Lead is very forgiving. You don’t like the result; just throw it back in the pot. If you have a non-lead item such as a hook or a brass eye, use a pair of long nose pliers to hold that item.

Cautiously then push the lead part in the molten lead. The lead will melt and the “foreign” item is left naked.

Gloves are mandatory for this operation.





Gate cutter pliers

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=4_187_1003

It is used to cut the portion of the cast where the lead is poured in. It is called a sprue. You can also break it free depending on the sinker type.





Metal file

I like to file the area after removing the sprue.





MAKING LEAD SINKERS/JIG HEADS



The first step is to put the lead in the Lee electrical pot and while it is trying to melt the lead, you can prepare the mold/s.

Set the thermostat on the highest setting first, and once the lead is in the liquid form, you can lower it.

When starting the casting operation, increase the setting to make the lead flow easier.



It is best to plug the Lee pot to an electrical outlet with a 20 amp receptacle, connected to a 20 amp circuit breaker.

If you have an outlet outdoors, and it is close to your electrical panel, it would be best.



Plug any fan/s and/or other electrical items to other outlets, connected to other circuit breakers.



It is imperative that the mold and any metal object in the mold, i.e. hook, swivel and brass wire eye be hot before pouring lead.

http://do-itmolds.com/shop/index.php?route=product/category&path=2_118



You could lay the mold on top of the Lee pot, changing sides several times. It works, but only small portion of the mold is in contact with the pot.



You can also use any heat source to heat the mold.



I use a small electrical hot-plate and heat the mold by placing it on the electrical element. Turning the mold over to make sure it heats evenly. I happened to have one, and it worked great for me. You can also position the mold and the inserted none-lead items like hook, eyelet, etc. on the Lee pot to warm up before the first pour and in between pours.



I also use an electrical metal box snap style knockout seal more commonly known as “KO” cover to hold within it the brass wire eyes, or hooks.



The KO cover sits on the heating element, and its’ prongs keep the eyes from falling out.

http://www.platt.com/product.aspx?zpid=152956



7-Any small metal container could be used as well.







Before each casting session, use a small amount of engine oil, or similar lubricant with a small brush to lube the hinges of the mold.

It could help opening and closing the hinge when it is hot and the aluminum mold has expanded.





After inserting the brass eye for sinker, or hook for the jig, heat the mold again for a minute or so.



Another way is to pour some lead in the mold several times without any hook or brass eye. The hot lead will warm the mold. Then insert the hook/eye and heat the mold again.

Keep the mold firmly closed to make sure the hook or the brass eye does not shift from its position.



The newly poured item will be much better if everything was warm and the lead was hot.



When pouring the lead, position the mold under the Lee pot as close to the pour spout as possible.

Lift the knob of the Lee pot and pour molten lead into the first sprue cavity.

Once you see the lead exposed in the sprue cavity, stop. Move to a new sprue cavity and pour again.

When all of the cavities are full, wait for a few seconds, then open the mold.



The lead sets very fast and the mold can be opened right away. Use the needle nose pliers to pull the casting off of the mold.



LET IT SIT UNTOUCHED FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE HANDLEING. IT IS HOT.



If you are making several, keep casting and removing the casts, without touching any of the casts.



Once the casts are cooled to touch, the sprue is then cut using the gate cutter, or side cutter pliers and put back into the melted lead. You can also twist the sprue to break it loose. A little touchup with a file will make the broken “wound” clean and professional looking.

A 10-12” section of a metal pipe can act as a “chute” to drop the sprue into the molten lead with hands away from the hot pot.





Stand back and enjoy your creation.



Since it does take some preparation and wait time to melt the lead, I usually make extra casting in one session, rather than many smaller counts during several sessions.

As you get more involved, you may choose to do the process differently than I do. Just remember;

Once you pour one sinker, it can become addictive. I am up to (18) eighteen molds as of this posting.





SAFETY FIRST----- Use the information above at your own risk.

It is most important that at no time any moisture or water be in touch with the molten lead.




Lastly, I do not have any connection to the sellers of products mentioned above. They are just but a few who provide the items listed.
 

mav

Active member
#2
Good post! I mostly just pour egg sinkers and the larger jigheads. My brother has other molds but I don't have any personal use for them.
 

DSRTEGL

Active member
#5
I am a little more primitive in my set-up.....Butane Camp Stove....Cast Iron Pot from the dollar store to melt the lead in.....Stainless Sleel Ladle with a bent lip to pour from.....My lead is roofing lead (very soft) from a salvage yard......My Molds are Do-it.......I use lamp black to coat the insides of the mold........A heat gun to warm them up.......recycled copper wire for the eyes........and Personal Protective Equipment much like yours

Here is a trick you can use if you are on a budget and can make do with pencil weights......Make tubes out of aluminum foil or even heavy construction paper with masking tape holding a barrel sinker in place on the bottom...I make the tubes by rolling the foil or paper around a mandrel of the diameter of weight I want and holding the tube together with masking tape ...pour the lead into the untaped end and there you are......and dirt cheap compared to expensive molds......I use this trick a lot as I prefer pencil weights for many applications........Tubes can be different diameters and lengths.......MAKE THEM THICK.......I have also made tubes in the past out of steel foil and aluminum cans but the sharp edges you end up with on the metal are a PIA....... I am looking into Plaster of Paris Molds for spoon sinkers and pyramids and I need to get a Do-it Mold for Egg Sinkers like yours.......NEVER USE WOOD.......and make sure ANY mold is 100% DRY.

I presently have 2 Do-It Molds....One for No Roll Sinkers in 1, 1 1/2, 2, 3oz and one for In Line Trolling Sinkers........Both can be used several ways.

The No Roll Sinker Mold is pretty much a nightmare to use as is......the Pull Wires to make them Sliding Sinkers as you get them with the set are crap and bend WAY too easy. I use Polished Stainless Steel Rods with Wooden Handles so I can get a good grip on them and I Oil them before every use. If I want to make them into sinkers with Eyelets....I just use scrap Copper Wire from my local salvage yard in place of the Stainless Steel Pull Rods I made.

The In Line Trolling Sinker Mold can also be used in a variety of ways.......Eyelet at both ends....Tolling weights......Eyelets at both ends and cut the sinker in HALF and you have 2 casting weights...........Eyelet on one end and you have a torpedo weight........Just cut off the lead from where the other eyelet would have been.

I have even seen people that use a flux brush with powder coat paint on it to paint the hot leads as they come out of the mold......
 

Mahigeer

Active member
#6
Good writeup.

The benefit of pouring from the bottom of the special heaters is that the lead is cleaner.
I use the chemical mentioned above and remove slag from the top even though I pour from the bottom.

There is even a blank mold sold by Do-it, that one can have a machine shop mill it to what you need. Not a cheap process, but you get exactly what you want.

The reason I started pouring sinkers, was to make a special one for catching bonito. A unit that would sink and make rattle noise on retrieve. However, once I had the lead, heater, a mold and other items; then it was matter of just adding molds to make other types of sinkers.
 

DSRTEGL

Active member
#7
I want to get a bottom pour lead pot for sure.......I use sawdust for flux......free at my local home depot and works just fine........When I get my lead I pay a little extra for the roofing lead because I know it is pretty pure and nice and soft.......I mix the other scrap lead with it and flux it in fairly large batches.....then use old salmon or tuna cans for ingot molds.......I then weigh and label the ingots.....I tend to pour my lead on damn windy days to help control the fumes.......and I can't stress strong;y enough you need to make sure your molds are 100% dry and hot before pouring the lead
 
#8
I used to re-load all my shotgun shells and I have about 120lbs of lead shot still in the bags and another 100 lbs of reclaimed lead shot if anyone wants it.
 

DSRTEGL

Active member
#9
I used to re-load all my shotgun shells and I have about 120lbs of lead shot still in the bags and another 100 lbs of reclaimed lead shot if anyone wants it.
I would be more than happy to take some of that off your hands......can pour some weights for you in return.....happily....I am sure Mahigeer would be happy to take some of that off your hands as well
 
#10
I'll add my experience on pouring large jigs (8 oz or more). Don't use a Lee Production pot. The pour is too slow. You need something like this:
https://www.barlowstackle.com/Palmer-Lead-Melting-Hot-Pot-2-P352.aspx
Make sure the mold is hot before you pour. I usually pour 5 times without jig hooks in the mold just to warm up the mold. Also, pouring in winter time is not recommended, unless you have a good hot sunny afternoon. Put a baking pan under you mold and pour fast and don't worry about over flow, that's what the pan is for.
 
#11
I would be more than happy to take some of that off your hands......can pour some weights for you in return.....happily....I am sure Mahigeer would be happy to take some of that off your hands as well
DSRTEGL, you're welcome to all you want. But, it looks like you live in southern california and I'm up in the bay area. It would probably cost too much to make it worth your time to get it.
 

DSRTEGL

Active member
#19
If any of you are in the North Bay Area we should get together for a casting (lead) session.......I'll bring my molds....you bring yours......and I'll take any donated lead.......refine it....and return it to you in ingots or weights
 

DSRTEGL

Active member
#20
The weather is cooling off...….Getting close to weight pouring weather for me...…….Going to try cardstock paper tubes for drop shot and pencil type sinkers and plan to pour a lot of no roll sliding sinkers in 1, 1 1/2, 2, and 3 oz as well as my modified ones........I will NEVER use wood molds again and warn all the YouTubers that post wood molds about them...….I have looked into Plaster of Paris and Silicone Molds....But they are only feasible if they are for a custom shape or size...…..Sand Casting works pretty well for Pyramid Weights but Bentonite Clay works better and the casts are not so rough as the Sand Casts...….For production level casting commercial molds are well worth the money