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WidowMaker

Bubbling Lead.

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From day one ive always premelted my lead in a large flat skillet. But some wise guy opened the valve on my LP tank so i had to use my bottom pour pot. It was due for a cleaning anyway so i thought what the heck ill use it.

Ive never had lead to act this way before (possibly because ive always premelted using the skillet) but when i put a piece in it would bubble to the point of almost erupting out of the pot. It wasnt blowing up but the lead was breaking free of the surface, three to four inches into the air, and periodically a few drops would come over the side.

Could it have been because the lead is old. This particular batch consisted of sewer pipe that had been sitting in a barn since 1961.

Could it have been because it was cold? Or a combination of both?

That pot was pouring out smoke worse than a freight train.

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Ditto. Hot lead and cold lead. I get the same thing and have for the last 15 years. You just have to adjust to the fact that it is going to happen.

and protect yourself.

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I use a lead pot that will pop and spit when a chunk of lead is added to the hot stuff and has a lot of impurities in it. You can lift all that crap off the top with a putty knife after its melted and has stopped popping and bubbling. A little moisture will cause it to blow off too.

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Boom 8O . That's what keeps it entertaining.

A friend supplies me with 5gal buckets of lead, in the form of used sinkers (mostly catfish and snagging). He has a couple of friends who noodle catfish, and while they wade they pick up any old weights they find. Only problem is, you just can't quite guarantee that all the water is dried out of them. Great lead source otherwise.

I should note: picking up old snagging rigs in rivers while trying to grab catfish with your bare hands can only happen south of I-70, in this case down near the KS/OK border. No yankees need apply.

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I had a full face shield, a cotton jacket, insulted bibs, leather gloves and was holding an old metal garbage can lid between me and the pot using it for a shield. I went into it with the attitude of expecting it to blow up.

IM NOT RECOMENDING THAT ANYONE MELT LEAD IN THE MANNER THAT I DESCRIBED. I used to work in the remelt department of an aluminum die casting plant and aluminum will blow in much the same way lead will. Aluminum is hotter than lead and also much lighter which means it will fly farther through the air. I know this from experience because ive had it happen numerous times.

So just in case an unexperienced jig maker reads this let me make it clear that getting "blasted" with hot scaulding lead can cause serious physical injury and possibly the loss of eyesight.

Im thinking about building a stationary wooden box shield with a thick piece of plexiglass and hand holes so i can set my unmelted lead down in front of the melting pot and then reach through with sleeved gloves in order to put the lead in the pot. Kind of like a sand blasting box but much larger.

Years ago (long before i was born) there used to be a guy some where close to Paducah Ky who exclusively used lead snagging weights pulled from the tailwaters of Kentucky Dam. He had a large steel box with a propane burner set up underneath it. It had shutes on top of it and would let the lead fall down the various shutes and into a huge cast iron pot. The lead would blow all over the inside of the box. I was told it sounded like shotguns going off inside the box.

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