Sinker Making: Turning Wheel Weights Into Ingots

Discussion in 'Sinker Making Institute' started by Whistler, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Original post made by Jeremy Rich(Cats4uandme) on November 28, 2004

    Turning Wheel Weights Into Lead Ingots

    Use this article at your own risk. Don't do anything you don't feel completely comfortable with. The Brotherhood Of Catfisherman accepts no responsibility for any harm or damage that may arise from following these instructions.

    Melting, handling and using lead can be hazardous at best. Take what you're doing seriously and take precautions at all times during the process.

    Melting lead can expose you and anyone in the immediate area to lead and lead fumes. Caution should be taken to minimize the risks associated with lead contamination. Always work outdoors or in a highly ventilated area and warn others of the risk.

    Always wash hands and clothes immediately after working with lead and don't eat until you do.

    Lead can cause birth defects and reproductive harm as well as many types of cancer.

    Molten lead also puts you and anyone in the near vicinity at burn risk. Always take the extra precaution of wearing a heavy apron and eye protection and suitable gloves for the task.

    First gather items you will need. I used a simple $20 single burner stove that screws atop a 1# green colman propane tank. That will melt the lead. Or a turkey fryer propane burner will work as well for larger project.


    Now set up the stove somewhere where little dribbles of lead cannot catch things on fire. On concrete or a worktable of some sort without sawdust of course.

    Now you will need something that will sustain high heat to melt the weights in. A cast iron pan or pot of some sort is ideal. Now on the lil burner something small is best. Lead is real heavy and this small one can become unstable with to much weight. A 6" pan would be about the limit. Now here is what I used. A small 4" cast iron spoon rest.


    Now if ya use a turkey frier a 8-10" pan can be used on that. Keep in mind ya got to lift it. Or scoop it out to be safer.

    Now get the burner going and place pan on top. Start dropping weights in. Dont over do it. The metal clips in them need to be removed and overfilling can keep the ones on top from melting. Now wait. As the lead begins to melt pull out clips with a pair of needle nose pliers or a long peice of wire to be on the safe side.

    I started to clean them first. No need. Dirt, paint, greese, and the clips will all float in the dense lead. See the last pic. The spoon with the holes is what I used to clean the lead.

    Slowly run it across the top and pull of the floating debris. Sometimes it will catch fire. Let it just burn out. Slowly pull off all the garbage off the top. And all the little clips. You want to end up with nothing on top but smooth chrome looking metal. This is what the pile will start looking like. Put all this junk in a coffee can or something disposable and fire proof.


    Now you need to make ingots (like gold bars) for your pot. Make sure the size you pick will easily fit in the pot ya are using to pour sinkers. If ya have to drop them in they could splash lead at you.

    To make ingots I have heard that a mini muffin pan works well. I'm sure it will. I did not use one but here is an examlpe. If you are doing a turkey frier and larger pot it would be best. Available at most dollar stores and walmart. I would suggest one without a non stick coating. The lead will prob mess it up.


    Now I used the small steel catsup cup in the pic with spoon and pan and pliers. We got them at big lots for the kids BBQ sauce and stuff when he eats supper.

    Now when ya get the lead melted and cleaned off it should look like liquid chrome. Now ya got to pour. I used the pliers to firmly grab the little spoon pot by the handle and slowly pour into the cup. If ya are using a bigger pan and a larger burner dipping out with a soup ladle may be best. That is when the muffin pan comes in handy. Then ya can do more than 1 at a time.

    After ya fill the cup or pan wait for them to cool and dump out. Also if ya notice a little scum on top after pouring into the ingot cup quiclky skim again with spoon. This will further help clean lead. I had no trouble with it sticking. If ya do tap bottom with a hammer. I took the lil cup and placed it in a pan with an inch of water to speed the proccess up. Now REMEMBER something very important. Dry the cup inside and out with a towel before ya do it again.


    This is very important for safety. Water and molten lead DON"T mix. It causes it to jump at ya. Even sweat. If using any water for any reason keep it away from lead.

    Also remember liquid lead isn't like lava that rolls slowly along. It will splatter like milk if dropped and pour fast. It's not thick.

    This is what ya will end up with. 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket of weights got me 45 of these 2# ingots.


    Now if your using a pot like this, this step is necessary to keep the lead clean as well as your pot in good working order.


    Now if ya use one of the type that is just a pot with a heat coil that ya pick up. Ya can clean the lead in it to save time. I would reccomend not though. It will stay cleaner and last longer if ya mess the other stuff up and keep the melting pot full with clean lead only. That is prob why they don't reccomend it.

    Always remember to do this type of work out side. Lead fumes are poison. And also anything that ya use in the lead process should be retired to lead and never used back with food. Lead is dangerous. Also some good leather gloves is a great idea.

    Put the molds on the pot to keep em hot as it helps speed process. After pouring into the molds they can be opened in a few seconds. The lead sets almost instantly. It will stay hot for several minautes though.

    Happy Pouring.