hawnjigs

Best Lead Melt Flux?

115 posts in this topic

it will look like a slug or slurry on top, different than dross. If you pour from a ladle it is still like the slurry. Hard to get it out of the lead.

That makes sense zinc melts at 784F lead at 620F. The Zinc wouldn't be hot enough to become liquid and would make the batch thicker.

I saw a lead batch after someone left an aluminum dross tool fall in. It must have been in for 24 hours and was mixed with the lead. The lead resembled a thick cake frosting.

If Zinc got in my lead I would raise temp and mold sinkers until it was all gone.

Edited by fshng2

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Yes, but it depends on the jig.

Wheel weights are not good for small jigs or those with intricate parts but for my bigger saltwater stuff it isn't a problem.

You do have to sort them first tossing the steel and zinc ones. Then clean out tons of dross and clips after it is melted.

I have a big pot just for melting scrap. I also have a magnet on the end of a bent piece of all thread for removing the clips from the pot.Once fluxed and cleaned they are ingotized.

Only clean fluxed ingots go into my shop to be made into jigs and sinkers.

They are also good for bigger sinkers.

Iv'e used a few hundred pounds of wheel weights over the years. Anymore I only use them if they are free.

Around here wheel weights are hard to come by as so many people make saltwater sinkers out of them.

Thanks for the info regarding wheel weights. One of the local shops here said I could have as much as I want for free.

I will be molding 3/4 to 3 oz bucktail jigs.

Current soft lead inventory is about 150# which I can mix. I have read others use as much as a 25% pure lead to 75% W/W mix. What are your thoughts about mix ratio?

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Thanks for the info regarding wheel weights. One of the local shops here said I could have as much as I want for free.

I will be molding 3/4 to 3 oz bucktail jigs.

Current soft lead inventory is about 150# which I can mix. I have read others use as much as a 25% pure lead to 75% W/W mix. What are your thoughts about mix ratio?

For the biger stuff like that the ww by themselves should be fine. I never mix my alloys for jig casting. Never found the need.

Just use what I have for my saltwater stuff.

I buy Drop Out mold release by Frankford arsenault. Love the stuff. Tried the Home depot stuff and was not impressed.

The drop out sprays thinner and solidifies faster. The other stuff left thicker lines of graphite in spots in the mold as it takes a bit longer to solidfy and comes out much faster.

I ordered enough drop out to last me quite awhile. For the most part the graphite stays on the mold surface and lasts many many pours. No need to clean the jigs afterwards. Clip the sprues file them smooth and powder paint.

Edited by Kasilofchrisn

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I cast for fishing weights, scuba weights, jigs, spinnerbaits and bullets for reloading. Fluxing is essential to getting the lead to flow reliably out of the pot or ladle and into the mold. It becomes more critical in bullets, since the inclusion of impurities creates unbalanced projectiles that wobble in flight. Alloying pure lead with a small amount of tin really aids immensely in the fill out of mold cavities. Hardening is accomplished with the addition of arsenic and antimony. if you're recycling clip-on wheel weights then they have it already alloyed so no addition is necessary. Fluxing also helps bring the other good elements back into the alloy as they float to the surface in addition to preventing oxidation. I've used Marvelux, paraffin, sawdust, broken crayons, tallow,  and beeswax for fluxing. My preference is aromatic eastern red cedar or beeswax simply because they smell good when you toss them into the melted lead.

Edited by Big A
added material

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Cheap vegetable shortning is about as good as it gets. Gulfwax is also good, but the smoke is kind of gaggy. Shortning smells like French fries.

Sawdust is OK...the Cast Boolets guys love it, but I think shortning is better. The cheaper brands are the best because they are partially hydrogenated

Avoid Marvelux at all costs. The crusty residue it leaves behind will attract water and rust your pot. It’s the only bad product Brownell’s sells.

Edited by Elkins45

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I flux with "20 Mule Team Borax" it's available at any dollor general store and cheap for how much you need. And works really well. Stir it in to molten lead and spoon out oxidation and debris. It clumps it all up realy well too.

13315486.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Diybassfishing said:

I flux with "20 Mule Team Borax" it's available at any dollor general store and cheap for how much you need. And works really well. Stir it in to molten lead and spoon out oxidation and debris. It clumps it all up realy well too.

13315486.jpeg

 

If you are spooning off the oxides then it really isn’t acting as a true flux. It’s just helping with cleaning the metal. A true flux actually reduces the oxides back to the elemental metal and back into the melt. That’s why cheap partially hydrogenated shortning or rosin- heavy woods are good—they have an H+ available to pull off the O. That reminds me: rosin makes a really great flux and it smells good too. It also helps protect your pot from rust.

Also, I’m not all that enthusiastic about inhaling boron fumes.

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7 minutes ago, Elkins45 said:

 

If you are spooning off the oxides then it really isn’t acting as a true flux. It’s just helping with cleaning the metal. A true flux actually reduces the oxides back to the elemental metal and back into the melt. That’s why cheap partially hydrogenated shortning or rosin- heavy woods are good—they have an H+ available to pull off the O. That reminds me: rosin makes a really great flux and it smells good too. It also helps protect your pot from rust.

Also, I’m not all that enthusiastic about inhaling boron fumes

Thanks for the help!...how well does the heavy woods or rosin clean the metal of contaminants? 

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I don’t love sawdust, but if you leave it in and keep stirring until it completely chars to powder then you can spoon all the junk off with the powder. Rosin is the best because it melts into a gummy goo before it burns and all the junk sticks to it. If I could only have one flux it would be rosin. But if I’m just cleaning dirty wheel weights or plumbing lead I do it over a burner outside and I will use any old garbage like old experimental bullet lube sticks, sawdust, Crisco or even used motor oil. Indoors in my casting furnace rosin or shortning are all I use because the work best and stink least.

The best judge of how well your flux is fluxing is how heavy your dross is.  I keep a soup can to catch it and it used to be that a full can felt like it weighed 10 pounds. Once I switched to rosin the can got a lot lighter—-I’m skimming off more junk and losing less good metal.

I cast about 500 pounds of bullets a year, so I do a lot of fluxing.

Edited by Elkins45

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On 6/6/2015 at 8:26 PM, fshng2 said:

Thanks for the info regarding wheel weights. One of the local shops here said I could have as much as I want for free.

I will be molding 3/4 to 3 oz bucktail jigs.

Current soft lead inventory is about 150# which I can mix. I have read others use as much as a 25% pure lead to 75% W/W mix. What are your thoughts about mix ratio?

Good luck!

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Ratio is not really important for jigheads...just try to keep zinc out as it can weld itself to aluminum molds and ruin them! I test all the wheelweights with an old pocket knife that's pretty sharp. if it cuts into the weight easily, its lead. if it resists I look close for an fe or FE stamp to identify it as steel, or a zn or ZN that designates the zinc. If you know anyone who casts bullets, thet can give you pointers here. The reloaders take lead alloys seriously and have elevated alloying and heat treating to a science for bullet casting. The cast bullet handbooks have a wealth of info on fluxing, alloying, and safety on lead casting

 

 

 

 

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