Author Topic: Lead Pouring Safety  (Read 1422 times)

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Offline Kdog

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Lead Pouring Safety
« on: April 23, 2015, 08:49:51 AM »
Sometging we frequently overlook is our safety and the safety of others when pursuing our hobbies. So I thought I would post my general safety guidelines and maybe prevent an injury somewhere. This is by no means complete and is not a guarantee of complete safety but I have been doing this for over 30 years will no ill effects.

1. Safety Glasses, Goggles or even a face sheild are adviseable and a bare minimum is safety glasses, Lead spatters and even smoke from fluxing/cleanining lead can do serious harm and is quite painful. Gloves are adviseable as is a long sleeve shirt.  I rarely wear either and frequently wish I had. I do however wear an oversize shop apron that keeps me clean.

2. Ventilation is a must.  Exposure to lead and related chemicals is cumulative so you should never breathe the stuff. A minimum is a small fan that blows the toxic stuff away from you and your work area. Outdoors is even better but not always practical.

3. Cleaning/breaking down scrap lead. Always do outdoors and aways from kids and pets.

4. Keep materials dry. Molten lead and water do not mix.

5. Protect your investment such as your bottom pour furnace by fluxing your scrap in a pot or other vessel to prevent oxides from collecting on your pour valve - clean lead will save you countless hours of aggravation.

6. Your pouring station should have a way to catch lead if a leak occurs and IMO, sooner or later it will. I use a cookie sheet and place my melter in the center of it.

7. Collect a few small cans, I'm partial to cans from Tuna fish. Place these directly under your pour spout to catch little drips. Hey, they happen as do overpours.

8. Buy, make or otherwise  obtain an ingot mold. I made mine from a piece of 1-1/2" square tube, cut one side off, bent two side out about 1/4" and welded ends on. Gives me a nice chunky ingot that fits in all of my melter. Great for preparing scrap and equally good for reducing metal level in your furnace at the end of a session.  Here is the least expensive way I know of http://www.midwayusa.com/product/361222/lee-4-cavity-ingot-mold-with-handle?cm_vc=ProductFinding
Also. a release agent such as http://www.midwayusa.com/product/763758/frankford-arsenal-drop-out-bullet-mold-release-agent-and-lube-6-oz-aerosol?cm_vc=ProductFinding is handy to have,  I use talcum powder but the previously noted product is great for all molds and is very neat.

9. Keep your lead clean.  Wax can be used as a flux but is quite messy/smoky.  I prefer a commercial product similar to these
    http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/general-gunsmith-tools/solders-flux/marvelux-bullet-casting-flux-prod1132.aspx
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/593033/frankford-arsenal-cleancast-lead-fluxing-compound-1-lb
They don't smoke or produce funky smells (wife does not approve of odors emanating from the basement). THere are several brands available and all have pretty much the same performance characteristics.

10. Keep your pouring area as clean and neat as possible and do your pouring when you can be free of distractions.

Be safe and sensible. If you are uncomfortable with the process, seek help. There is no sense in trying to do something that you are afraid of doing. There are a lot of people casting both fishing lures and lead bullets. Ask around and sooner or later you will find someone willing to help you get started.

Be safe and have fun

Offline plateboater

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2015, 05:11:30 AM »
Maybe change to the flux from brownells!    been using wax.    What danges occur when you use the flux.     I assume spoon full over into the pot but is there immediate reaction?   And if so what are you doing for safety?

Offline Ketchn

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 06:20:55 AM »
interesting and informative read  :clap
some think money makes you wealthy . yet others know the truth, your actual wealth isn't measured in this manner !
KABOOM

Offline Kdog

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 11:21:51 AM »
Maybe change to the flux from brownells!    been using wax.    What danges occur when you use the flux.     I assume spoon full over into the pot but is there immediate reaction?   And if so what are you doing for safety?

I have a dust collector made from a bathroom fan and some 3m furnace filters that will supposedly remove all the gunk from the air. Using wax, just too much smoke for my dust collector to catch.

The Brownells and Frankford arsenal products are no smoke just keep them dry. sprinkle on top, give a quick stir, skim off and repeat. Once my metal is nice and clean, I leave a layer on top to prevent oxidation of the metal bath. For breaking down lead scrap, I still do it outside over an open fire and use wax (its much cheaper) and it does work, just smokey, I think the commercial products do a better job but there is a time and place for everything.


Offline Pepop

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 11:43:19 PM »
K, I have a 30# brick of lead that definitely needs cleaning. I have the perfect heat source in a propane turkey fryer rig. My problem is I don't have a "vessel" to melt it in. Would something like a cast iron Dutch oven be appropriate? I thought I'd look on eBay to see if I could pick one up cheap. Any tips would be appreciated.

Offline plateboater

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2015, 05:20:47 AM »
Pepop.....I use a #10 dutch but a #12 used would be better

Offline Pepop

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2015, 09:11:48 AM »
I'm gonna see if any of my kids still go "Garage Sale Hunting" & have them keep a look out. Thanks.

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2015, 04:45:52 PM »
K, I have a 30# brick of lead that definitely needs cleaning. I have the perfect heat source in a propane turkey fryer rig. My problem is I don't have a "vessel" to melt it in. Would something like a cast iron Dutch oven be appropriate? I thought I'd look on eBay to see if I could pick one up cheap. Any tips would be appreciated.


I use a cast iron skillet for melting my lead and then poor small amounts with a large spoon and for the big river sinkers, I use an old steel ladle

Offline Pepop

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Re: Lead Pouring Safety
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2015, 08:53:57 AM »
Thanks guy's. I got me a 10" skillet & a large spoon. Now to get the time to melt the thing! I'll post pics when I do as I'll probably heat up the Lee pot while I'm at it & cast some jigs.