melting Lead

A bit OT but as you are all engineers What is the melting point of lead? If I melt it are the fumes poisonous?

What is the best vessel to melt lead in?

Reply to
Colin Jacobs
Loading thread data ...

full melt or liquidus?

It goes soft (depending on alloy) about 525, and is liquid (depending on alloy about 575F. It generally needs to be about 600-650 to cast any detail.

The fumes can be toxic if you lean over and sniff them for long periods. Melt outside or with a fan going. Ventilation.

Anything with a melting point higher than 700F. for a container.

Be advised..lead is HEAVY. So the container needs to be Strong and rigid and easy to handle when its filled with molten metal.

If you have specifics. I can help


Lathe Dementia. Recognized as one of the major sub-strains of the all-consuming virus, Packratitis. Usual symptoms easily recognized and normally is contracted for life. Can be very contagious. michael

Reply to

Find an OLD plumber (about 55 or older) that knows what a lead oakum joint is. He should still have his lead pot and ladle and maybe even his propane tnaker and burner for the leadpot.

Reply to

619°F IIRC

Marginally; uncommon sense says to stay out of the fumes...

Tin can.


-- "California is the breakfast state: fruits, nuts and flakes." Website:

formatting link

Reply to
Tim Williams

Remember these?

formatting link
They were in every toy store when I was a kid, before the wusses and the liability lawyers drove them to near extinction.

I dragged mine out last year to show a grandson how we had fun fun in the pre-videogame daze. Truth be told, he didn't seem very impressed....(But I sort of liked reliving it again.)

Thanks for the mammaries!


Reply to
Jeff Wisnia

Hey Colin,

I use a babbitt ladle. Of course, that's because I have one. Holds

10 pounds worth, maybe 3 cups worth maybe, with a pouring lip on either side, and a long "D" handle. We melt old wheel balance weights, and for what we're doing, we don't care too much about the temperature, so I can't tell you degrees. Certainly not too much hotter than it takes to char a small pine sliver/chip. Not so hot it would catch the sliver on fire. When it's hot enough, we just scoop the floating steel clips off . Dross comes away with the clips, and its ready to pour.

Take care.

Brian Lawson, Bothwell, Ontario.

Reply to
Brian Lawson

A small cheap cast iron cooking pot is excellent.

Reply to
Nick Hull

Yep! What Brian said. Add a little paraffin or bees wax to the heat just before you skim off the steel pieces and it will clean up the metal very nicely. Smokes a lot, but you can light the fumes and that goes away. It's a good thing to do if you want clean metal.


Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos

It depends on the alloy.

They're hazardous, yes. You could google for "lead MSDS" and get a lot of good information.

I usually use an electric lead melting pot. Outside. If you could tell us what you're trying to do, you could probably get a lot of good information.

Reply to
Dave Hinz

I melted a lot of lead in my lifetime. Much more than I should have!

It is perfectly fine to use an aluminum vessel with a handle, such as the ones they sell for cooking. Lead is very heavy, so care should be taken not to overload the vessel. But it works just fine. Aluminum is nice because after cooling, lead peels off and does not stick. You can use a steel food ladle from walmart also.

If you have an outdoor gas grill, with a gas burner, you can cook lead on that. I did just that.

Reply to

You melt lead OUTSIDE. I've done literally tons of it and I'm still here. If it's a one-time thing, don't worry about inhaling fumes too much. Yes, you can get poisoned by it after extensive use, wash your hands after handling and don't each your lunch next to the firepot. Stay upwind, too.

There are electric bullet casting furnaces available for $30-50(Lee) if you want to do smallish casting jobs, much larger ones for more bucks. These are probably the most convenient for repeated use. From there, you can go to the old Coleman stove with a plumber's lead pot, these are cast iron crucibles with bails. I've seen them in a particularly well-equipped hardware store, but you don't want to pay those prices. Look around for auctions and such, they usually go cheap. Sometimes you can get a gas-fired or gasoline-fired lead furnace cheaply, poured lead joints aren't much used anymore. Go with propane, if you can, the gasoline-fired ones are a pain to use.

If you have just a small cast to do, look for a cast iron ladle, these hold from a half-pound on up to several pounds, you can melt your alloy right in there.

For makeshifts, small amounts can be directly melted using a stainless steel spoon. For larger amounts, a large pipe cap could be welded/brazed onto a shank and that used for melting and pouring. My dad used a freebie cast iron dutch oven for melting wheel weights down using the plumber's furnaces. If you use any kitchen utensil for melting lead, make sure you mark it or otherwise make sure it's never used for food service again. Leaving a heel of lead in there after casting might do.

You need protection when melting lead, high-top leather shoes, cotton pants, long-sleeve cotton shirt, welding gauntlets and a full face shield at a minimum. I like using a welding leather apron and a welding cape as well. There's nothing like getting spatter down low-top canvas shoes to brighten up your day.

Reply to

Or a live primer in the scrap you just dumped into the pot.......

That makes things really interesting.......


Leftwingers are like pond scum. They are green, slimy, show up where they are not wanted, and interfere with the fishing.


Reply to

I worked with a guy who seemed to be more concerned with how cool he looked with his boot laces all dragging and the uppers and tongues sticking outside his trouser legs than with the possible results of it.. I remember him sitting and screaming "Get it off!" as a big guy pulled on his sock (I didn't know tube socks would stretch so far), he'd gotten about a quarter-cup of molten aluminum down his boot and it really did a number- burned the bones on the top of his foot, put him in the hospital with a major blood poisoning. He was a miserable boy for a long time, just about died from the blood poisoning.

The metatarsal boots are a little heavy but they sure do a good job of protecting your feet from such stuff, saved me some pain a couple of times in that shop.


Reply to

Due to ISP problems I could not follow the entire thread.

About burns from molten metal - I have been in the foundry business for about 30 years and have had some serious burns twice and have seen some nasty burns. Nearly always the burns are the result of either carelessness, or because somehow proper drying of molds and tools was not done. In the case of carelessness it is often not wearing proper equipment. Polyester or nylon materials should not be worn. Most recently a burn in our foundry was because an iron pourer was wearing a dew rag and did not have his helmet on. A spark from the furnace caught the polyester material on fire quickly and he was burned on the scalp. We insist persons working with molten metal on the melt deck and iron pourers wear welder's greens. These are cotton. Also the proper gloves and leggings, and of course eye protection and proper footwear.

One of my own burns was when I was a greenhorn with 2-3 months experience. Iron got into my boot while I was carrying a 20 pound ladle of metal to pour some small molds. Luckily I could get rid of the iron quickly nut the top of my toe was badly burnt. I did not go to the doctor because the burn was about the size of a quarter. I did get a tetanus shot. It took a long time to heal. I was lucky. On the second instance (12 years ago at another foundry) I was looking down the open riser top of a large mold when it blew up. Molten aluminum blew as high as 30 feet towards the foundry roof. Some of the aluminum blew into my face. I was not wearing saftefy glasses and fortunately I closed my eyes just before the metal hit. I peeled the aluminum from my eyelid and eyebrow quickly but the burns were still 2nd degree. The doctor could do nothing for me, except to give me a tetanus shot and give me silvadine cream for the burn. It took about 3 months to heal. Luckily again no permanent scarring or loss of eyesight. Other burns I have gotten over the years have been minor.

In both cases the splaching metal was due to moisture being where it should not be. When a drop of water is heated by molten metal it turns to steam instantly, expanding about 60,000 times it's original volume. This sprays metal everywhere. Secondarily in both cases I could have been wearing better personal protecive equipment. In the first case it was no leggings and the second case no safety glasses (as a minimum) and no face shield.

In some cases the aluminum burns can be worse than iron burns, it depends on how moist the skin is (sweat) and how the metal hits you and where it hits you. Iron does not tend to stick like the lower melting point metals.

Y'all be careful out there when handling molten metal and take precautions that all your molding material and tools, and work areas are dry.


Reply to

I missed the staff meeting but the minutes show "Colin Jacobs" wrote back on Sat, 26 Mar 2005 16:52:46 GMT in rec.crafts.metalworking :

Around six hundred degrees Fahrenheit.

Yes. Not immediately, but prolonged exposure to the vapors will give you lead poisoning. So will handling the lead with your hands, and then eating (or smoking) with those hands. Wash first.

One which won't melt. Iron is cheap, aluminum will work. After that, it depends on how much you want to melt, and all other factors.

Company I worked for would melt ingots in an iron pot over a propane burner, then pour the lead into a piece of angle iron to make counter weights. Did this either outdoors if it wasn't going to rain, or next to the open roll up doors when it was.

tschus pyotr

Reply to
pyotr filipivich

621 degrees to melt, to be precise. Advice I've heard from all directions over the years agrees that even if it's melted at 621, it's stupid to even attempt to pour lead at under 700 unless you're working with super-small, ultra-simple molds.

Taken from a beginner-level "hint booklet" packed with a sinker mold, in a section discussing "How do I know it's hot enough?":

"Using a long-handled pair of pliers or similar tool, poke the stick end of a regular wooden kitchen match into your melting pot and start counting "one thousand one, one thousand two", and so on. If the matchstick isn't on fire by the time you hit "one thousand seven", your metal isn't hot enough. When you pour, it is likely that the lead will "freeze" before completely filling the mold cavity. Should this happen, simply put the malformed piece back into the pot for remelting and try again with a somewhat higher temperature."

Reply to
Don Bruder

I missed the staff meeting but the minutes show Don Bruder wrote back on Wed, 30 Mar 2005 18:28:05 GMT in rec.crafts.metalworking :

Good advice. Just like water and ice. You can get liquid water at 32 degrees, but when it stops moving, it solidifies.

tschus pyotr

Reply to
pyotr filipivich

Yup. You can get liquid water below 32 degrees, depends on th' saline content. Think brine tanks or th' Bering Sea. Worked in a cannery where finished product (King Crab) was run submersed through about an

80' long brine tank. When it came out (100 lb boxes) it was frozen solid. There was a pretty substantial recirculating pump in that system.


Reply to

Heck, you don't need brine for that. It was around zero F around here this winter and there were still streams flowing. Not that I'd want to go swimming in them or anything!



Reply to
jim rozen

Thanks, but no thanks Jim, tryin' to quit. That's why I moved to a place where th' water coming out of th' sky is almost always wet .

There was an artesian(sp) well in Fairbanks, AK that ran 24/7 in temps

*way* below zero F. I can't remember it ever freezing. Best tastin' water I can recall. We used to stock up on drinkin' water there every week since our well was rather sulpheric in content. At least that's what it smelled like.


Reply to

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.