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smallie42

Migrate from lead to lead free in Lee production pot

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Hi Everyone, 

I used to fish tournaments and stopped for about 10 years for the kids...  I made my own jig heads with a lee production pot for many years, but here in New England lead is worse than the Taliban...  I would like to know if anyone else has tried to go lead free and still pour with their pots that had lead in them.  I have bought some tin and bismouth and an alloy from Rotometals that is "lead free".  My plan is to pour the remaining lead I have into egg sinkers that are above the lead restrictions, then start pouring smaller jigs with the new metals.  I know the pot will probably always have some lead residue...  Has anyone else gone through this process?  Any tips/tricks, suggestions?

 

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I live and fish in Massachusetts and have been pouring lead free alloys since 2012 when MA prohibited the use of lead under 1 oz. in freshwater.

The alloy I use most of the time is from rotometals.com:

https://www.rotometals.com/lead-free-bullet-casting-alloy-88-bismuth-12-tin/

Set the pot at "3."

Do NOT heat the mold. DO coat the mold liberally with:

https://barlowstackle.com/Casting-Release-Spray--P361/

Bismuth expands as it cools and this must be used to remove the finished casting from the mold. Depending on the mold, you can reasonably expect 2- 6 dozen castings before you need to spray another coat. I've been making Do-it's Poison Tails, ball jigs and Midwest Finesse jigs. Football jigs I cast from pewter but you could probably use the 88/12 as well.

I powder paint at 325º for an hour for a fully cured finish. Again, you can experiment with this too, but all of the above works well for me.

Feel free to post or PM for more specifics.

 

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HI Will, 

Thanks for your input, much appreciated!  I usually coat my molds with soot from a candle.  Do you think this will be sufficient, or is the spray worth it.  I already bought some of the lead free 88/12, as well as some tin as I already bought pure bismuth.  I will pour a 75/25 to use up what I have, then stick with the 88/12.  I have about a thousand 3/o Owner needle point round jig heads I have been sitting on for years. I modified my do it molds to handle them or gami's. I also hand file my ball head molds to produce a longer keeper barb.  One of my favorite molds is a 1/8 oz ball head with a 3/0 owner hook... fish get hooked just looking at it, lol.  I also had a custom spider jig mold made, not sure of weight,  I use it in 25ft+ vertical jigging for smallies.

I had a conversation with Keith Kline the other day, we talked fishing and when I talked about pouring he really came alive, I think he misses it.

Edited by smallie42

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smallie42,

The release spray is worth the investment. Try it.

I don't know if there's a formula for determining the melting point of an alloy, but the post below is about results from using Rotometals'  281 bismuth/tin alloy (58% bismuth/42% tin):

https://www.bassresource.com/bass-fishing-forums/topic/162966-six-degrees-of-separation/?tab=comments#comment-1844299

I'm assuming that you're powder painting. If so, let me pass on a source that smalljaw generously recommended to me:

https://www.tjstackle.com/

I use both their fluid bed and powder with good results.

When I first made the transition to lead-free, the question arose, "How do I match a 1/8 oz. jig head with existing molds when my alloys weigh only 85% (88/12) or 62% (pewter) of lead's weight?"

My approach has been to match rod/reel/line to make a balanced presentation. I'll leave you with a pic of a pewter, hair and hackle football jig from a 1/4 oz. cavity:

IMG_3548-M.jpgIMG_3545-M.jpg

I don't think much anymore about how POed I was initially about having to make the transition to lead-free.

 

 

 

 


 

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i switched over my pot from lead to lead-free. i emptied it out, took it apart and scraped it as clean as i could. did end up buying a new valve rod because it was heavily caked in lead that wasn't easily removed.

i buy bismuth and tin separately and mix them myself. anything between 75% to 85% bismuth will work just fine. the tin is added for strength, otherwise the bismuth is too brittle on its own.

buy the drop out spray. you need it 100%.

when curing the powder paint in the oven you need to reduce temp and extend duration. trial & error

 

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Thanks guys, next question.  With these new alloys, does the slag break off like lead, or does it need to be cut off?  I have ordered the release spray...

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On 7/17/2019 at 5:56 PM, ipt said:

i switched over my pot from lead to lead-free. i emptied it out, took it apart and scraped it as clean as i could. did end up buying a new valve rod because it was heavily caked in lead that wasn't easily removed.

i buy bismuth and tin separately and mix them myself. anything between 75% to 85% bismuth will work just fine. the tin is added for strength, otherwise the bismuth is too brittle on its own.

buy the drop out spray. you need it 100%.

when curing the powder paint in the oven you need to reduce temp and extend duration. trial & error

 

 

On 7/17/2019 at 5:56 PM, ipt said:

i switched over my pot from lead to lead-free. i emptied it out, took it apart and scraped it as clean as i could. did end up buying a new valve rod because it was heavily caked in lead that wasn't easily removed.

i buy bismuth and tin separately and mix them myself. anything between 75% to 85% bismuth will work just fine. the tin is added for strength, otherwise the bismuth is too brittle on its own.

buy the drop out spray. you need it 100%.

when curing the powder paint in the oven you need to reduce temp and extend duration. trial & error

 

Hello, new to the forum, where can I purchase bismuth & tin?  I too need to provide a "lead free" alternative.

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Just a quick search of Rotometals website shows a casting alloy of 88% bismuth and 12% tin. I know some of our members use these guys to purchase metal. 

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Welcome to TU, DWYMAN,

I've been using this alloy, above mentioned by Apdriver, for several years and it works fine. Set melting pot at "3".  Cure powder paint at 325º.

https://www.rotometals.com/lead-free-bullet-casting-alloy-88-bismuth-12-tin/

Coat the mold cavities thoroughly with mold release because the bismuth in the alloy expands as it cools.

https://barlowstackle.com/do-it-molds-and-lead-molding-supplies/lead-melting-pots-ladles-and-accessories/?sort=featured&page=2

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Rather than chance it, I just bought a new pot and stopper rod.  Its about a 10 minute change over and no worries

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