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lead melting safety and techniques

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If you are considering mass production numbers then I totally agree with you, stay clear. But, if you are making short runs for your own use, then taking the right precautions, you will do fine. If you are an environmentalist then you will be looking for an alternative.

I have poured slugs for my crankbaits without any problems, very low production.

I have a 3D print design which will use standard ball bearings.

Dave

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1 hour ago, Dinkerblue said:

Lead Pouring: Undecided?

Ok here I go , Yes there are many who work with lead. And many items are made out of lead. As a fisherman I totally understand we all want to save money on all the tools (tackle, our own, borrow, want, buy, make. I too have purchased many items I call it my addiction an obsession. I'm always interested ,willing to learn something new about this sport.  For the longest time I have been on the fence regarding working with lead especially casting lead lures, weights. I even have spent hours designing items in my head about what I could make. Then this hits me The more I read about lead and it's toxic properties the more I don't want to go there. I think and weight out the pros vs cons. I not trying to bash anyone or anything here. I just am trying to understand if we know the danger why do we choose to go there. I feel since it has taken me a long time to decide I don't think, or see pouring lead would be one of the things that I would want to work with or try. I guess I have answered my own question. Even though it looks like alot of fun to be able to make, create, save money, make money there really is nothing safe about pouring lead. Again This is my opinion and I'm in no way trying to disrupt, discourage anyone from doing whatever works for you. 

I've been casting lead for 15 plus years.

During part of that time I also worked in a lead mine. I cleaned lead tanks that were coated in 18 in thick lead concentrate on all the walls and floor.

We also shoveled literal tons of lead dust out of the concentrate storage building that had accumulated in areas it was not supposed to.

I literally ended many days covered head to toe in lead 

Yes I wore a respirator while doing this as well as other PPE.

We also showered in the locker room before heading back to camp and took various other safety precautions.

Our blood lead levels were tested every 3 months.

My lead level currently sits at 3.5 mcdl as it is part of my current job to get a full physical every year including lead testing.

3.5 mcdl is not very high.

Back in the 1970s the average Americans lead level was over 17 mcgl. That of course was due to the use of Tetraethyl gasoline particularly in our major cities.

If you take basic lead safety precautions while working with it at home you are not at serious risk of lead poisoning.

Personally I'm more worried about burning my fingers while loading hooks into a hot mold or splashing lead on myself then I'm worried about getting lead poisoning.

Obviously you are too scared to work with lead and should not do so because of that. If you cannot trust yourself to work with lead you certainly shouldn't be working with it.

But a person can safely work with lead a fact many of us have proven.

I know that I am smart enough to safely work with lead and that's why I continue to do so. But I understand not everybody can trust themselves or be smart enough to safely work with lead. 

We have had members of this forum whose lead levels became seriously elevated because they did not take proper safety precautions. As I recall one gentleman was smoking with lead coated fingers and that was the cause of his elevated lead levels.

When I've let kids make jigs in my workshop I do all of the casting and all they do is paint them.

So long story short some of us continue to work with lead because we're smart enough to do so safely in a manner that produces some amazing tackle unavailable anywhere else.

Lead casting isn't for everyone though.

And if you don't feel comfortable or can't trust yourself to do it then don't!

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I thought about this and felt I should add to what I said above.

And that is that not everyone should work with lead.

For instance if you live in an apartment or someplace where it isn't safe to work with lead then you shouldn't.

If you have young children and you cannot separate them from your lead casting area then you probably shouldn't work with lead.

If the only area available to you to work with lead is on your kitchen stove then I recommend you don't work with lead 

The ability to safely work with lead means you have an area you can work in that is free of pets, young children, etc.

One that you can properly ventilate.

For me it is my garage.

Others may have a dedicated space in their shop, a work shed, or what have you.

So having a proper place to work with lead should also be a consideration on whether it is safe for you to work with or not.

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Yes lead accumulates and it contaminates all areas once you start using grinding, sanding carving handling and melting it. Just because you don't see it (dust, fumes, particles) doesn't mean it's not there. That's the main reason why I am not risking my health or would never risk exposing anyone else to the toxicity of pouring lead. For me personally the risk outweight the benefits of pouring lead.

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17 hours ago, Dinkerblue said:

Yes lead accumulates and it contaminates all areas once you start using grinding, sanding carving handling and melting it. Just because you don't see it (dust, fumes, particles) doesn't mean it's not there. That's the main reason why I am not risking my health or would never risk exposing anyone else to the toxicity of pouring lead. For me personally the risk outweight the benefits of pouring lead.

I guess you just have to be smarter than your average bear to work with lead.

Probably the reason most of us on this forum who haveworked with lead for years are not dead yet.

When you talk about grinding, sanding, and carving here's my take:

I have never used any electric tools with my lead. I don't use an electric grinder of any kind I've never sanded on the lead and I dare say my arms aren't strong enough nor my knives sharp enough to carve the stuff!

What needs cleaned up is done with knippers and a hand file only.

The filing is usually done over an old cookie sheet and is then dumped in the pot for reuse.

As far as fumes go that is mitigated in a few different ways.

1) opening a window and cracking a door to get the proper cross flow ventilation. Sometimes a box fan is used if needed.

2) I use a lead thermometer to keep my temperatures down below the point at which lead throws off toxic fumes.

3) all scrap lead is melted outside where all the dirt and gunk can cook off before the dross is skimmed and then triple fluxed before being made into clean ingots.

Only clean ingots are allowed to be melted in my workshop (garage).

Since I know that I'm smart enough to safely work with lead and I trust myself to follow the proper procedures in doing so as well as annual blood test to verify that I'm not poisoning myself for me the benefits definitely outweigh the risks.

It's a very fun and rewarding hobby that makes custom tackle that works better than anything you can buy at the store.

But if I was not smart enough to properly handle this or I did not trust myself to follow proper safety procedures then I would agree with you.

I have to wonder why you don't trust yourself to follow basic lead safety precautions?

Why Is it that you feel that you cannot safely accomplish this task?

It seems to me that that's what you are saying is that you don't feel that you can safely work with lead. Which sounds to me like you don't trust yourself to follow basic safety precautions and/or that you don't have an appropriate place to safely do this. 

Thank God I know how to follow safety precautions or I'd have been dead a very long time ago. 

Of all the things I do on a regular basis there are a lot of things that I consider more dangerous than working with lead!

 

Edited by Kasilofchrisn
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