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sagacious

lead melting safety and techniques

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Hello. I'm new here, but not new to pouring. I've got a few small scars here or there, but I've got a nice nasty one on my stomach from over a year ago. It was stupid, and I was obviously NOT being safe, but what happened was I was making jigs, and had a lot of crap on the top of my lead in the pot. Well, I decided to clean it off with a spoon that I use just for this purpose. I got the spoon, and started scooping. I sort of "squeeze" it between the spoon and the side of the lead pot to drain out any good lead, and I guess when I did it I moved the spoon just a hair. As I went to relocate the spoon with the bad stuff in it the stuff slid off of the spoon. It landed on my workbench on a ledge, which then directed it at my body. My dumb *ss wasn't wearing a shirt, so when it splattered onto me it just burned the crap out of me.

Oh well, that won't ever happen again. I always wear full clothing now, shoes included, and always take extra care when cleaning off the top of the molten lead, making sure it stays over the pot and not over my workbench.

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I just invested in a respirator for the 1st time. I don't pour enough very often to probably have to worry but I still got one. I got one @ Menards that is rated for lead. I also wear long sleeves, safety glasses, and a ball cap I just leave in the garage.

I used to work in a battery factory and once got a high blood lead level. Not a good time!!!!!!!!!:boo:

All the info that has been posted here is good ideas and I learned a few things that I will start doing.

Thanks,

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We pour 20-40 tons a year in lead so i have seen a lot of things happen.Maybe 4 years ago when new lead was cheap we bought in lead pigs & melted the bars,very simple.Now with new lead at nearly 2 dollars a pound we buy scrap.Now your talkin lots of dangers & problems.

One post i seen somebody said have a fire extinguisher near by.Never ever spray a liquid on molten metal.It will blow up in your face.Either smother the fire with a steel top as i sometimes do or pour DRY sand on it & that usually ends the fires.

In our shop now i have old plumbers lead,roofing lead,pipes you name it & it all catches on fire or can go boom in a heart beat.We have a roof ventilation fan that draws out all smoke & fumes.i see some small stores that do this in their back rooms,crazy.

One problem using scrap lead is the consitancy or make up of the lead is always changing & that affects my employee's when they pour the lead into silicone molds.Most times you have to make adjustments to speed,pressure or heat.

One good thing about lead if you get hit by some it starts cooling as soon as it leaves the pot so burns are not that bad.We pour zinc & that stays 800 degree's for a while & it will burn you bad.Tin & Bismuth also not bad to deal with.

For do it molds most guys i know having troubles is the lead is not hot enough.Might need to be near 900 degree's.Also i hear a lot of smoking your mold.When we have problems we just dust molds with talc.Very simple helps the lead flow better but just turn the heat up.When we pour small 1/100oz or 1/64 oz jigs heat must be 930 degree's...

If you have questions on lead email us.There are a lot more things i can say.........

One question what do you use to core out worm sinkers to make the hole.i tried wire,nickeled wire,black nickel wire it all sticks.Teflon is best but i have none in the shop...........

Dave

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...

One post i seen somebody said have a fire extinguisher near by.Never ever spray a liquid on molten metal.It will blow up in your face.Either smother the fire with a steel top as i sometimes do or pour DRY sand on it & that usually ends the fires.

In our shop now i have old plumbers lead,roofing lead,pipes you name it & it all catches on fire or can go boom in a heart beat.

...

Dave,

Thank you for the feedback.

A fire extinguisher suitable for having in a shop or garage is B and C rated. B (flammable liquid) and C (electrical fire) rated extinguishers are generally dry chemical extinguishers, and safe to aim at anything that's on fire in your shop-- and that would include flames in the vicinity of molten lead.

However, note that controlled flame is often of considerable benefit during the refining and fluxing of lead, and all lead-melting and refining should be done in a location where these flames will not present any hazard of a structure fire (your example of refining lead in a back store-room is an excellent example of unsafe practice). But as always, even in the safest of situations, mistakes and accidents can happen-- and having a fire extinguisher available can prevent property damage and risk to life and limb. A small fire can spread to a building, and a dedicated fire extinguisher is needed to stop the spread. Just this week, I heard of an incident where a man melting lead burned his barn to the ground and lost tens of thousands of dollars of equipment. Common sense and a fire extinguisher goes a long way-- even these days. Never pour lead, use open flame, or operate an electrically-heated furnace without a BC-rated fire extinguisher nearby. Forewarned is forearmed.

One question what do you use to core out worm sinkers to make the hole.i tried wire,nickeled wire,black nickel wire it all sticks.Teflon is best but i have none in the shop...........

Dave

You have one answer in your post above. I dip the polished stainless core-wires in powdered mica before putting them in the molds. That prevents the lead from gripping the wire. A post in the wire-baits forum relating your query will undoubtedly attract more responses, as this is a thread is restricted to lead melting safety and techniques.

Hope this helps, good luck and stay safe.

sagacious

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I dont generally wear leather gloves when i pour due to them being bulky. I wear a cotton work glove on my left hand and dont wear a glove on my right hand. Im always holding the mold in my left hand while both loading hooks and operating the pour lever with my right hand.

I try to load hooks into molds as quickly as possible while keeping the molds hot so i dont really have time to take gloves on and off my right hand between pour cycles.

Ive found that with practice it is possible to hold the mold handles on the ends as opposed to gripping them in the middle. This feels a little akward at first but once you get used to doing it it takes a lot of the worry out of getting splashed. Ive had a little lead splash back onto the cotton glove and yes it is hot but ive never had it blister me or burn through the glove. The simple fact is that if you work with melted lead that sooner or later you are going to get a little bit on you and you will also get blistered from time to time. The main thing im concerned with is eliminating the possibility of larger amounts of lead from being splashed.

I have a seperate table set aside for pouring lead and i have only what is necessary for pouring on that table. The more miscellaneous junk that cluters up the table means more of a possibility for something to go wrong. The table is built of heavy wood and is bolted in a stationary position to the floor in such a manner that it cant be bumped or knocked out of position. My lead pots are bolted to seperate pieces of plywood and the plywood is c-clamped to the top of that table. The power cords going to the pots are zip tied to the surface of the plywood in such a manner that nothing can snag on the cord in such a manner as to move the pot.

I do not have a fire estinguisher because i have removed all potentially flamable materials and chemicals well beyond the area i am pouring in. Ive dropped melted lead with a spoon onto ply wood several times and about all its done was smoke and scorch the surface of the wood.

I keep several four inch sections of cardboard paper towel insert tubes handy so if the pot starts leaking out the pour section i can place them under the leak to contain the lead splashing. When one fills up i put it the entire piece cardboard lead and all into the pot and let the cardboard burn off.

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Thanks for your input fellas. I just bought a lee pot with pour top for making wire harnesses for muskie baits. I have never worked with melting lead but I'm making a list from all your good ideas. I have a bag of lead shot for reloading, will this be fine to melt? I am using the lead to tie in the hook with the harness and for weighting. I will read on the flux issue but do I need to worry about it? Using .051 stainless wire. Thanks guys, Rusty

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Here is the hazard of getting too comfortable/taking lead for granted

IMG_1426.jpg

third degree burn,I wearing shorts was. I tried sitting down because my back and legs get sore after pouring for a while. The benefit of standing though is you can move quickly to get out of the way if lead splatter. Since I was sitting I couldn't move quickly when the lead poured out of the mold. What happened was the mold was extremely hot as well as the lead so it didn't set/cool quickly like when I opened the mold have of the lead was still liquid. It ran right of the edge of the table and right on my leg and stupid me wearing shorts. I usually pour wearing pants and bbq apron gloves mask/respirator and goggles.

hope this helps

rob

Edited by orionn1
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Hey guys I have been doing some research on mask and lead safety. I contacted 3m and got the following email response back from them:

The 6000 with P100 filters would be recommended for lead dust and fume (from melting and pouring). The facepiece selection is based on airborne concentration. The 6000 half ask with the P100 filters will reduce your exposure by 10 times when the respirator has been properly fitted, used and maintained. Without the exposure concentration I cannot confirm that the 6000 is the proper respirator.

For technical information you may call 1-800-243-4630

Craig E. Colton, CIH | Division Scientist-Regulatory Affairs

3M Occup Health & Env Safety

3M Center, Building 235-2E-91 | St. Paul, MN 55144

Office: 651 733 6297 | Fax: 651 736 7344 cecolton@mmm.com | www.3M.com | www.3M.com/Occsafety

Also on lead safety and cleanup I found this info from niosh

http://www.skcinc.com/prod/763-001.asp

it is the only approved clean up kit approved by the cdc and niosh

there is also a lead detection kit on the same site

Hope this helps guys

robert

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Hey Guys, New here - great forum, don't make a lot of baits - but I'm posting because I'm a toxicologist by training and just happen to run a state childhood lead poisoning prevention program. There have been some very good posts about what to worry about for lead poisoning here already. The only thing I have to add is that it take very little lead dust to poison a child. We've had cases of dust being brought in from work sites or hobby sites and contaminating a house and poisoning a kid. Having coveralls you use when working with lead and leaving them in your workshop is a good practice.

Secondly, depending on what state you live in, you may have access to lead dust tests. You can call your state lab and see if they have them. They are cheap (<$20 up here) - it is basically a like an alcohol wipe that you rub on your workbench (or whatever other site you want to test). That can act as a validation of your practices - are you REALLY doing all the stuff that you say you are doing?

Finally, if you work with lead, you should do a blood lead test every so often. Don't remember what the recommendations are - yearly or so - but the upshot is that the effects of the lead depend on dose. Like booze - a little makes you drunk, more makes you very drunk, more makes you vomit, enough will kill you. Catching lead when the levels are low in your blood will allow you to modify your techniques to reduce your exposure. You don't want your family discovering you had lead poisoning when they are burying you. Not particularly fair to your family or useful to you at that point. It is cheap, docs do it all the time, and it is a simple test.

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Im curious as to what types of ventilation setups everyone uses to exhaust lead fumes to the outside of the work shop. Right now im using simple cross ventilation with two open windows and a high volume fan in one of the windows in order to pull the fumes out of the room and into the open air.

I do plan on installing something similar to a vented range hood with an electric fan like unto that which would be found over the top of a stove in a commercial kitchen.

Edited by WidowMaker
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i keep to the basics and taking all precautions you can is best. i only pour in the outdoors ( garage or driveway) if it is warm outside i will use a fan to draw away airborne contamination, i will also wear a 3m style mask with disposible cartridges rated for lead. the last 2 years i have had my lead levels checked when i have my yearly blood test for my pysical and i have been on the lowest end of the spectrum and my doctor says it is lower than most that come into regular daily contact with lead.

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Does anyone have a link to the type of respirator one should get?

 

Thanks

Well this is a subject I know well. I have made thousands of jigs and I have thousands of hours wearing respirators including in heavy lead(Lead processing building at a lead/zinc mine) enviroments.

First off a respirator is not always required. Proper ventilation is a must though. As is proper hygeine such as hand washing and not eating, smoking, drinking, or using chewing tobacco while working with lead.

I wear FRC (fire resistant nomex)coveralls only used for making jigs as well as safety glasses leather, footwear, leather gloves and often times a faceshield.

The other thing you need to be fully aware of is the temp of your lead. I Always use a thermometer in my pot. I made a bracket to hold my thermometer near the side of the pot. If you keep your lead below 900*f you should not have it giving off excessive toxic fumes or many fumes at all for that matter.

That is for clean lead.

I run my lead between 650*f and 750*f. Any hotter and I turn the temp down quickly.

I always melt scrap outside and if it is dirty such as wheel weights I let it go for longer than needed to melt the scrap to burn off all of those contaminants. I make sure the wind is blowing the fumes away from my house and anybody else including your neighbors if you have close ones.

Then I flux it with Beeswax and stir it while the wax is burning. Your wax should burn while fluxing as this will draw up the excess dross trapped in your lead.

After fluxing remove the dross again and you should have good clean lead you can use in your jigs or to be made into ingots.

only clean lead ingots such as this are allowed to be melted in my shop.

If you still feel you need one a good half mask should be sufficient. Buy a brand you can get parts and cartridges for locally and keep it clean inside.

You should also get fit tested to insure your mask fits your face properly or you will still be exposed to fumes and dust. A respiratory medical also is nice to be sure your not going to have other medical issues from wearing one.

The HEPA filter is made to protect you from dust and particulate. This is what you should wear if creating lead dust. I avoid creating a lot of lead dust by carefully hand trimming all flash and hand filing all jigs clean rather than using power tools.

If fumes are a concern of yours then you need an Organic Vapor (OV) cartridge. You can also buy the stacked defender cartridges that do both.

Keep in mind OV cartridges are only good for ~ 12 hours once the package is opened regardless of how tight you seal it back up. After that you need new cartridges. Hepa cartridges are good for a longer use as long as you are carefull not to get the dust inside the mask during strorage.I recommend you use masking tape to seal off the end and prevent dust from falling out during storage. Also always store your respirator in a sealed plastic bag per OSHA regs and keep it clean. 1 gallon ziplocs work good.

If you are careful and have good ventilation you might not need a respirator at all for jig making.

If you want you can PM me with any more questions and I can answer your questions or point you in the right direction for more info.

 

Edited by Kasilofchrisn
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I have some supplies ordered and waiting for them to arrive. I appreciate all the great advice given here and plan to be cautious when I pour. One question I have is, I couldn't get a Lee pot so I ordered a Palmer hot pot 2 .... should I have some type thermometer to check temp ? After reading about having the lead at a certain temperature got to wondering about the Palmer Pot. I ordered ingots from Lurepartsonline.

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1 hour ago, JustJim said:

I have some supplies ordered and waiting for them to arrive. I appreciate all the great advice given here and plan to be cautious when I pour. One question I have is, I couldn't get a Lee pot so I ordered a Palmer hot pot 2 .... should I have some type thermometer to check temp ? After reading about having the lead at a certain temperature got to wondering about the Palmer Pot. I ordered ingots from Lurepartsonline.

That's a tricky one there.

There really isn't a good way to mount a thermometer to a hot pot.

And the hot pot doesn't have a way to adjust it yourself other than unplugging it if it got to hot.

I suppose you could take periodic temps with your thermometer just to be sure your not getting to hot.

I have a lee 10# bottom pour pot and a lee 20# bottom pour.

I also have 3 different sizes of cast iron pots I run on a 60,000 btu turkey fryer style burner.

One is 20#, the next 50# and the biggest holds ~196# with several style/size ladels.

I also own a Palmer hot pot.

The hot pot imho is the most dangerous and the one I worry the most about spilling lead all over myself if it ever were to happen.

I really only use it when I cast in tin as I don't have to clean my bottom pour pot and I can utilize all the tin out of the pot.

But I do feel it gets a bit hot for the tin which melts at temps lower than lead.

I'm usually just casting a few tin jigs anyway so it isn't on too terribly long.

If you can get a bottom pour pot later on I would do so.

They are much better for stuff under 3oz.

And a ladle and burner are better for the big stuff.

But if your careful the hot pot is ok.

This is just my opinion so take it for what it's worth!

 

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Thanks appreciate the advice. Wonder if the point type infrared temperature guns would work ? Temperature range on one I looked at goes to 716 degrees Fahrenheit .... I know it be showing surface temperature only. I only plan on doing a small number of jigheads less than 1 oz

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8 hours ago, JustJim said:

Thanks appreciate the advice. Wonder if the point type infrared temperature guns would work ? Temperature range on one I looked at goes to 716 degrees Fahrenheit .... I know it be showing surface temperature only. I only plan on doing a small number of jigheads less than 1 oz

They are hit and miss with lead.

If your lead is clean and shiny on top they don't read well. I'm guessing it's a reflection issue?

That and if your over the 716 range then you wouldn't really know and that's when you really need to know.

I often cast at 750*f.

But if I get to 850*f+ I quickly turn down the heat. Usually that's more of an issue if I'm running on the propane burner.

Start at full blast and turn it down once it's all melted. But if you forget it gets too hot real quick.

 

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