Sinker Casting Questions

Discussion in 'Terminal Tackle Review' started by Grits, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. Grits

    Grits New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Arknasas
    Hello Everyone!

    My sinker molds are on the way but I have never cast sinkers. If yall don't mind, I have a few basic questions.

    First, is the a DVD on casting? If not, is there something good to read on the subject? I feel like I know the basics and I have seen bullet casting. I feel like I will not have much trouble but I know there have to be a million little tricks I do not have a clue about.

    What is the best material to use. I have been told a mix of pure lead and tire weights. I believe tire weight contain quite a bit of either or antimony or tin. I do know they are fairly hard and not a dense as lead.

    I plan using a fish cooker and a cast iron pot to melt the lead. When I make sinkers, I plan on making a bunch at a time. What size pot is good. I think the largest Lee Melting pot is ten pounds. That seems small to me if I plan on casting a lot of sinkers. I would appreciate comments from those of you that use the Lee pot or a pot on a burner.

    I have "Do-it" molds on the way for egg, bank, and no roll sinkers. I hope this is good equipment. What do yall use?

    Thank you for your help.

    Grits
     
  2. Ulikedew

    Ulikedew New Member

    Messages:
    1,821
    State:
    Georgetown IN
    I just go to the recyleing place and buy lead from the them used tire weights once took awhile to mess with.As for a pot I use one I got from Bass Pro that came with a burner.It aint big but it does the job.Also gives the mold time to cool down.
     

  3. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    i went cheep, cheep hot plate cast iron skillit and ladel from wallmart. tire weights for lead. there is more than enough info on here to get you going do a search and im shure you can get all questions answered.:wink:
     
  4. AwShucks

    AwShucks New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    Guthrie, Oklaho
    Its like any tool. You gotta pull maintenance on them molds. Oil the hinges before/after each use of the mold. Oil the pull pins for the egg/no roll sinkers about every three pours of the mold - keep them lubricated and you will make better sinkers. Take a welding torch (or a candle) and using straight acetylene, put a heavy coat of carbon inside the molds. Never, Never use melted lead around water. Have some first aid material for burns readily available. Use two pliers. A welders apron and gloves would be nice. Those Lee Productions pots with 10 pounds are sufficient. Think mine holds 20. You have some of the pots with a spout on the bottom and a handle which controls the flow of lead - real nice and easy to use. Make sure your lead is "HOT", which is different from just melted. If you have wrinkles in the sinkers, the mold is too cold, allowing the lead to cool. Warm up the mold. I figure, what the heck, a 5 ounce sinker with wrinkles weighs the same as a 5 ounce sinker without wrinkles. So I am not concerned about making pretty sinkers to loose. Melt the lead in a well ventilated area. Think this will get you started.
     
  5. catfisherman60

    catfisherman60 New Member

    Messages:
    1,348
    State:
    Greenwood AR.
    AwShuchs is right.do that and you will do fine.On large sinkers I use a burner and pot.Just a little faster.
     
  6. BLKCLOUD

    BLKCLOUD Member

    Messages:
    378
    State:
    Pulaski Tn
    Do it outside
    wear safety glasses
    long sleeves
    make sure the lead is completely dry.
    your first few will be deformed because the mold is not hot,throw them back into the mix,,well dont throw but gently slip them in..haha..
    make sure there are no kids around..
    and dont breathe the fumes!!
     
  7. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    I've never had one of those fancy bottom-pour lead melters; when I started pouring sinkers, I couldn't afford one, and later I was satisfied with the way I was doing it. I melt my lead in a large heavy-duty saucepan rescued from the garbage can. Open ladles are easily available, and do a good job, but I found one that's kind of square, has about half the top covered, and a pour spout at the corner of the top cover & side. This skims off any trash or slag as I pour. I've used just about everything for a heat source from the kitchen stove to an electric hotplate bought just for the purpose, to a fish/turkey cooker burner, which works better than anything else so far. IMO, you're right about running into problems using a small supply of melted lead; I've run into them using a small open pot. That's why I now use a large open pot. To me, having a small pot is like having dial-up for your internet connection. Every time you start to do something, you have to sit and wait. Depending on your heat source, when you add lead to your pot, you're out of business for 5-10 minutes. It's not a big factor when I'm pouring 1/16-1/4 oz. jigs or sinkers smaller than an ounce, but the larger the sinker, the quicker you run out of melted lead. At max capacity, a 10# pot will let you pour 20 8-oz. sinkers before having to start over from scratch. New lead seems to melt faster if it's dropped into melted lead instead of being dropped on the uncovered bottom of a pot, probably because heat is reaching the new lead all over instead of just at the points where it's touching. If you're like me, you never want to make up just one kind of sinker; I can just about always use a few more of these or those. So, when my mold does get too hot, I open it up and set it aside to cool while I pour sinkers from a different mold. Tire weights do contain a good bit of 'alloy' material, some of which will float to the surface when melted. This needs to be skimmed off. I've always used a large spoon; the handle gets hot, so I screwed a short piece of wood to the spoon handle. That gives me a handle that won't burn me. I've had to do the same thing with some of my older, cheaper molds. The suggestions you've read on the board about lubricating the mold hinges and pull pins are excellent...too bad I never heard of them till I had been pouring sinkers for almost 50 years. Same thing with putting candle smoke on the inside of the molds, although I've never had much trouble getting the sinkers to just drop out; my experience has been that when the sinkers start sticking, the mold's too hot and needs to cool down a little. Likewise, if you open the mold after a reasonable time, drop the sinkers onto your worksurface and some of them crack apart, your mold's too hot. Lead alloys, like tire weights, are generally harder than lead, but work just fine for use anywhere you don't need fine detail; alloys tend to not fill in small voids very well. So, if you ever plan to pour your own split-shot, or small crappie/skipjack jigs, keep any pure lead you have separated for that purpose only. Some folks like to just pile their newly poured sinkers up on the worksurface and let them cool there; I've always dropped them into half a 5-gallon bucket of water. But the one thing I never, never, never do is to retreive them, cut off the flashing and then drop that into the melted lead. The little bit of water clinging to the pieces will instantly turn to steam, and if that happens under the surface of the lead, you will get an explosion that throws melted lead everywhere. And until it happens, you wouldn't believe just how little water it takes.
     
  8. Grits

    Grits New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Arknasas
    Does anyone use a thermometer? What is the ideal temperature for casting lead?

    Does anyone use any of the molt release agents used in casting bullets?

    I did a search but you can imagine how many hits you get when your have "casting" in your search?

    Thanks,

    Grits
     
  9. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    theirs no real trick to it melt the lead skim the top with a spoon so you have a mirror like substance scoop out some lead with your hot ladel and pour it in the hole. if you have a pull pin pull it out, open the mold and theirs your weight if it doesent look good enough for you put it back in the melt and try again:big_smile:
     
  10. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    alright search may have not been the best route the archive link at the bottom would probally serve you better:embarassed:
     
  11. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,744
    State:
    Murray Ky.
    Try not using the word casting in your search, type in making sinkers or pouring lead instead.
     
  12. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    No thermometer. After you've skimmed the slag off the surface of the melted lead, let your spoon cool off, then stick it down in the melted lead and bring it right back out. The lead shouldn't stick to the spoon at all; if it does, the lead needs to be hotter before you start pouring. DO NOT---NEVER, NEVER, NEVER---COOL OFF YOUR SKIMMING SPOON OR ANYTHING ELSE WITH WATER THEN PUT IT INTO MELTED LEAD!!!!! I've peeled lead off my glasses, off my arms, and can still show you a 10' high ceiling with spattered lead on it. Unless you preheat your molds, the first few sinkers you pour will have to go back in the pot anyway.
    I once came up with a can of silicone mold release. I gave it a try, and it did seem to help a little, but I wasn't having that much trouble with sticking anyway, so I really never bothered with it....just tried it enough to see if it worked. I don't really have any trouble with sticking; as soon as the sinkers have cooled enough to be really solid, I open the mold and tap the sinkers that don't just fall out on their own. Putting candle smoke or something like that on the inside of the mold is supposed to work as a release agent, but since I've never tried it personally, I can't comment on it's effectiveness. You can read a number of posts by people who swear by it, though.
     
  13. canebreaker

    canebreaker Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,311
    State:
    Southaven,MS
    With any pot, scrape the bottom and sides with a spoon to remove the trash, not all of it floats. If using a production pot, melt your lead into ingits first. Then you'll have a purer lead without trash to mess up the production pot.



    Need lead?
    Let me know, you pay shipping, I'll send what you want.
    wheel weights, battery lugs, 50/50 solder mixed.
    Check with you local post office or UPS for weight cost.
    Payment first please.
     
  14. catfish kenny

    catfish kenny New Member

    Messages:
    6,064
    State:
    Iowa
    Giong thru here always clean your lead before putting it into your pot.I use a castiron skillet and a campstove (1 BURNER) take out all the metal if your using wheelweights..skim the top of it if nessary.My uncle told me while cleaning the lead throw a small chunk of wax in your lead...be ready and do not freak out cause it smokes like heck and flares fer a minute but what this does is suppose to bring the immpuriteys out...I think it helps...My lee will pour 20lb shots.....If your making alot of sinkers that realy isnt alot it can make fast work .You have any questoins or need help Pb any one of us I know I'll be glad to help you.OH BE CAREFULL HOT MOLTEN METAL ....It has a tendancy to fight real hard when on ya:wink:
     
  15. Big Sam

    Big Sam Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,385
    State:
    Booneville AR
    Name:
    Sam
    Check out the BOC library. There is some info on pouring lead there. Follow Awschucks and Jtrew's advice and you will be ok. NO WATER AROUND....and do it in the open so ya dont breath the fumes...not good for ya at all:eek:oooh:
     
  16. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    My suggestion is to try it both with and without the wax. Maybe the wax causes the impurities to come out faster, but I've never bothered using it. Nothing wrong with either method, just a personal choice.
     
  17. Zebco 33

    Zebco 33 New Member

    Messages:
    90
    State:
    Illinois
    Go to Lee Precision Inc. they have alot of usefull info about their pots, and you can carry it over to your set up.

    Just get your alloy good and hot, until all the alloy is smooth. It will get to about 850-900 F.

    Good luck on getting cheap alloy. Wheel weights are alot harder to come by and you can buy alloy and have it shipped about as cheap. I have less than 500 pounds of bars left. I use to get a five gallon bucket of WWs for $10, then it went to $25, then to $35 if you can find it. The last time I check, last year, junk yards were buying up WWs for $1.25 a pound.

    I started to go to the shooting range, both at work and public. I got about 200 pounds of used bullets, and I only got 25 pounds of good alloy bars from it! Alot fo ammo is lead and lead alloy free nowadays. EPA and all.

    Good Luck,
    Jerry
     
  18. Grits

    Grits New Member

    Messages:
    119
    State:
    Arknasas
    Thanks again for all the info. I purchased a 20 pound Lee pot and molds for the sinkers I use.

    I have been an avid handloader since I was around twelve which was over forty years ago. I would choke when shot was over ten bucks a bag. Small caliber bullets were less than a nickle each. Those days are over. Lead is a commodity and the weak dollar makes lead cost even higher.

    I found a deal on a bucket of wheel weights and I puckered up and bought some pure lead from the junk yard. Now, I just need to find and/or take the time to start pouring. I am going to briefly list what I have learned and yall tell me if I am off track.

    Safety, no water, gloves, glasses and good ventilation.

    Clean your lead before melting. Then melt in something like an iron pot and take out impurities before casting ingots. The inside of the molds should be smoked.

    Melt a 9-1 ratio of pure lead and wheel weights to around 850. Skim the impurities from the top of your pot.

    Pour molten lead into sinker molds. Remove after cooling.

    GO FISHING.

    One last question. How muck cooling time do you need? I know with bullets it is only a few seconds. I would think a two to four ounce sinker would take longer.

    If I am off track, please tell me.

    Thank you all for all your help. I hope to see some of you this weekend at Toad Suck.

    Grits
     
  19. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    with the do it molds it only takes a few seconds for a 4oz to turn solid a few min. to get cool to the touch. one thing that i didnt see mentioned is removing the excess lead. the smoothest imo is to grab the excess with pliers and twist, file it a little if needed.
     
  20. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Generally, the lead will harden enough to remove from the mold pretty quickly, but after pouring a bunch of big sinkers, the mold will sometimes get so hot that it seems to take forever for the lead to cool down. That's when I set that mold aside (open) to cool down a bit, and pour some sinkers using a different mold. Once the sinkers are out of the mold, you can either set them aside to cool or drop them into a bucket of water. Folks who prefer to set them aside to cool are just being super cautious, which is fine, but I've always dropped mine into water, with never a problem. But, if you drop them into water, DO NOT cut off the excess and drop it back into the melted lead. That's when you get an explosion. By the time I get around to cutting off the excess, the whole pot of lead has cooled down, and I simply drop the scrap pieces into the pot to be melted down next session. Yes, they rattle around loose in the pot. Yes, if I should turn the pot over, they'll all scatter everywhere. Yes, if I turn the pot over and it lands on my foot, it will crush it. Got no business putting a 20#-30# pot of lead where it can fall or turn over.