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Lead lures, safety and poring

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Oldfart9999

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Lead lures, safety and pouring a new thread for those interested in making their own and, hopefully getting help from experienced pourers on the site.
I would like to start with some basic safety measures, they are easy and in the long run make the hobby more pleasurable.
1. Pour the lead in a well ventilated area, if recycling old lead I would do it outside with some air movement, a breeze or fan, to move any fumes away from you. Inside I use a small vent bathroom vent fan to suck up any fumes. The main reason being any impurities given off by residue on the lead, the temp to vaporize lead is quite a bit higher than to melt it.
2. No liquids should be in the area you are pouring in, if they get into a mold the splatter can do a lot of damage, specially to you.
3. Keep the area neat and keep flammables away from where you are working.
4. Wash your hands before eating and drinking and after you are done for the day.
5. If you are cleaning flash or the sprue clean it up, it it easy to get the dust or small chips into other stuff, like food.
6. If you are powder coating do it in a well ventilated area.
7. You should pour wearing long sleeves and gloves in case of splatter.
These are actually much easier than they sound and they do make the hobby more enjoyable and safer.

There are good reasons to want to make your own jigs, spinnerbaits, etc. I started as a way to maybe save a little money, not sure how that has worked out lo and to come up with colors I couldn't buy. I looked around and did some reading and decided to make some Flateye Arkie jigs, a decent all around design and IMHO an excellent skipping jig. Not having any equipment I dropped the wad and bough 2 molds for the different sizes, 100 hundred of each size hook needed, a bunch of runner for skirts and a passel of silicone tabs in a bunch of different colors along with weedguards, I alos pout a Lee melting pot. Now I had poured ball head jigs in the garage melting lead I scrounged and I thought I was a pro, wrong. I started a learning process that is still going on and am enjoying more as time goes by and there is a lot of satisfaction catching fish, including trophy size fish with something my own 2 hands made on a dreary winters day. I've also had the pleasure of sharing some of these with folks I know and like. The only problem; it can be addictive. lo
Rodney
Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 12:55:07 PM by Oldfart9999
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.


twocold

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Thank You! for the information I'm just starting this new addiction and can use all the tips I can get. I have a question, I know that the molds have to be heated before you pour. Can you heat them in a toaster oven before hand, or will that hurt the handles on do-it molds?

Oldfart9999

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I wouldn't the handles are painted wood. Most of my molds get heated by placing them on top of my melting pot while the lead melts, a heat gun or plumbers torch can be used also. Some folks make several blank pours to heat up their molds, it's all good.
Rodney
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

Oldfart9999

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I should mention, I forgot, Oldfartness lo, I know some will put the hooks they using in a metal cup on a hot plate to and for them it helps. What are you pouring if I may ask?
Rodney
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

bigjim5589

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Rodney, thanks for posting! Your experience with pouring is always welcome! I've learned what you've posted the hard way.

To add to what you've said about safety & health concerns, my extra tools, such as bowls or spoons I might use are only used for pouring, never for food preparation. I also have a respirator I wear when pouring with a filter that blocks the fumes & dust from lead & the contaminants that might be on or in the lead.

I do recycle lead, such as wheel weights, which can be fine for some things I pour. Softer, purer lead is usually better, particularly for small jigs, but wheel weight lead is often easier to obtain & less costly. Unfortunately, some wheel weights are painted & that paint has to be removed before the lead can be used for pouring. Nasty stuff when it burns, so I do that outside only, well away from any buildings.

I've added a leather welders apron to my pouring setup too, just as an extra precaution against splatter, plus always wear leather welders gloves when pouring. Accidents can happen, and hot lead can cause very serious burns, so IMO, it's better to take all the precautions one can, rather than deal with a burn later on.

I don't bother with preheating hooks, but to help keep my molds hot during pouring I have an electric hot plate I place them on. I'll make pours with no hooks to heat up the molds initially, but like the hot plate for keeping them hot should I have to stop for a short period. My hot plate has 2 burners, so I can pour multiple molds at a time too & keep them all hot. I set the controls on the hot plate to keep them hot, but am always careful not to over heat them, which might damage the molds.

I've found it also helps to lay out my hooks before hand so they can be easily picked up & placed in the molds.

A lot of this I learned back when pouring to sell lures, where time involved affected the cost, so I had to develop a technique that saved me time & effort. Rodney may have something else he can add in that regard.

twocold, a toaster oven is not a good way to heat up the molds as Rodney as said because of the likely damage to the handles, but can be a good way to re-heat & cure the paint on jigs & other lures you might pour if you intend on using powder paints. However, again it should only be used for that purpose and not for food prep too. Powder paints are chemicals, and not something you would want to ingest.

I can wholeheartedly agree with Rodney on the addiction part! I've collected almost 300 molds for pouring!  lo

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twocold

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Gentlemen thanks for the information. I'm going to start with jigs and drop shot sinkers

Oldfart9999

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Jim, all good points, the tools I use for pouring are only used for pouring, safety is paramount, easy but details are important. As far as efficiency goes, I agree, have everything ready and at hand. I have the different size hooks in separate cups for pouring jigs and I have a small area for the jigs as I take them out of the molds so I'm not mixing jigs and hooks and base pins in a mess.
I'd like to talk base pins for a bit. Molds that take weed guards will accept base pins, some come with pins. The base pins are so you don't need to pour with a weed guard in making it easier to paint or powder coat, then tie a skirt on, if you've ever tied a skirt with a weed guard in place it can be a pain. The base pins that come with molds are metal, the cheap ones you can buy are metal, I don't like them because they are difficult to pull out of the jig. I spent the money, about 10 dollars, for 100 teflon pins, they work great, you can pull them out of the jig with your fingers. The pins are for 1/8 inch thick weed guards, nobody makes base pins for 5/64 guards that some jigs take, so I had some made when I worked and I could get them for free(always nice), they were made out of drill rod and work as well as the teflon pins for the larger guards. Drill rod is not expensive and you should be able to find it at a metal supply house in your area, if not then Graingers. Mine are about an inch long.
One thing you will find with pouring is, as with lure tinkering, you'll do mold tinkering to do things the way you want to.
Rodney   
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

Oldfart9999

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Let's talk a bit about sources of lead. I have hundreds of pounds, all free. Now most won't have that kind of deal happening so will have to look for the best deals. If you know a plumber, or a maintenance person in a hospital you may have access to a source of good lead, check craigs list in your area, wheel weights can be good source, we'll discuss it in a bit. Ebay can also be a good source of lead. If you are given old lead pipe be sure you recycle it outside and not in your pour pot. Linotype is good lead, it's an alloy with antimony making it harder, it can be mixed with pure lead to make jigs more durable. Wheel weights, wheel weights come in steel, lead/antimony, and lead and zinc, it used to be easy to get it for free but now you'll pay for it, throw away the steel weights and the lead zinc weights, if the weight doesn't have Zn stamped on it or can't be cut with side cutters throw it, zinc will ruin a pot of lead. The last source would be a junk yard.
Old lead pipes and other pieces that can hold moisture should be dried thoroughly before melting, moisture and melted lead equals explosions of very hot melted lead that will ruin your whole day. Recycle all lead outside and flux it at least once, better is twice. After you do it once you'll be surprised at the amount of smoke.
Pour your fluxed lead into something that'll make an ingot you can use later. Every time you pour the lead should be fluxed, it'll pour much easier then. For fluxing pieces of old candles, paraffin, or flux will work well, there are other things that will work also but these 3 are the easiest. Wax will flame up, after the flames die back(just a few seconds) stir the lead with a dedicated long spoon or screwdriver and scoop off the crap that comes to the surface, if doing wheel weights the clips will float, if the temp is low enough zinc alloys will float before they melt.
I wouldn't pay over 2$ a pound for clean lead, if it comes from ebay especially. The pro pourers, for the most part, get their lead in bulk from a lead supplier like Rotary Metals, they'll sell pure and alloys.
I know this sounds complicated and I'm sorry for that but it isn't, it's just part of the processnad keeping safety in mind is actually simple. I'm hoping Bigjim steps in on this.
Rodney   
 
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

Oldfart9999

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Let's discuss equipment. I started doing ball head jigs with 1 mold, several packs of different size hooks, a stainless ladle I bent for a long handle and a propane camping stove. I have 11 molds, Lee Production Pot 10 115 volt for pouring. Pour pots can be simple, needing a ladle for pouring the lead to very expensive digital controlled pots that cost hundreds of $$. You can go with 1 mold that makes several different sizes of style of jig or weight to hundreds of molds(it is addictive), the choice is your's and your's alone.
I paint my jigs with powder paint, you can just buy the paint in the 4 ounce jars if you are doing just a few or you can buy it by the pound. Just grab the jig by the hook eye, heat it up and dip, pull out of the powder and tap the loose powder off and cure. I use a homemade fluid bed, lots of places to find instructions to make one on the net. 4 ounce jars can be had at BPS Cabellas and other places, I bought it by the pound at Powder By the Pound, others go to CS Coatings. I started with the little jars and went from there(it is addictive). While I make just for my use I do give away quite a few.
Rodney   
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

bigjim5589

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Rodney, again thanks for posting this awesome information!  ~c~

I'll have to digest it all, but can't think of anything to add except a little bit about other metals.

Zinc melts at a much higher temp (787.2 F) than lead does (621.5 F), so that's why it ruins a pouring pot. Most lead pouring equipment doesn't maintain temps that high to make zinc use practical.

However, Bismuth (520.6 F) & Tin (449.5 F) are both viable options if a lure maker doesn't wish to use lead. Unfortunately, both are also more difficult to obtain as scrap so they would have to be purchased and are usually much more costly. They're also less dense, so a lure poured with either will weight less for the same size of a lead lure. Both are also considered more environmentally friendly and have less health issues associated with them. Bismuth is commonly used to make shot for shot gun shells, particularly for waterfowl hunting. Tin is commonly used as a corrosion resistant plating on saltwater type carbon steel fish hooks.

They are heavy metals, so safety & health precautions should still be strictly adhered to should they be used.  ;)
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Oldfart9999

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I've started my pouring for this year, started with my drop shot weights, they are simple to pour and go quickly so I get them out of the way. I went through a pack(100) swivels for them and need to get more and I only poured 5 different weights. ~roflmao
I'll be pouring ball head jigs next, screwed up and forgot to order my #6 hooks so I'll order them and some more #1 hooks, I'm thing of getting Eagle Claw LIL NASTY'S, they are identical to Barbarians but not as pricey. From there I'll go to my Poison Tails, I have 20 or so hooks of each size for those and with the ones I have already I'll be set for quite a while.
My ball head will be non weedless and 2 types of weedless, 1 type will have standard fiber weed guard, the other will be a fine wire weed guard., I bought the wire guards from Jann's but nobody makes a mold for them. lo I have several molds so I took 1 and touched it with a jewelers triangle file just enough to accept them, took about 3 swipes.
When I coat them I'll be using my homemade fluid bed, a fluid bed "fluffs" the powder giving a better, more consistent coating with less waste. As I said earlier there are several excellent places on the net for instructions on making 1, the one piece of advice I would give is to make a 3 inch bed, I made a 2 inch and sometimes it is a bit difficult.
Rodney     
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

bigjim5589

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Rodney, sounds like you've been busy! I need to do some pouring too. I like those Lil Nasty EC hook hooks for my panfish jigs. I've used the similar Matzuo Sickle hooks, but the EC's work as well & are usually a bit less costly.   :-*
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Oldfart9999

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I was pouring some Poison Tails this afternoon, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 ounce. I have had a problem pouring this mold, no matter what I did, I always got an incomplete pour. I was thinking I would have to polish or modify the mold to make it work right. While the pours weren't complete it was on the shank, they would work and I only pour for myself so I lived with it but today as I was getting ready to pour I remembered what bigjim wrote about using a hot plate so I tried it, after getting the mold hot I made a pour. The first pour wasn't good so I reloaded the the mold and held it on the plate so the heat went up the sprue holes, it worked, complete pours, no voids. Thanks for the idea Jim!
Rodney
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

bigjim5589

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Rodney, I'm glad that little detail helped you!  ;D
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Oldfart9999

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I was pouring 1/4 ounce ball heads yesterday using a mold I haven't used before, I had an issue. Out of 8 cavities only 2 would give me a good pour, tried everything and didn't get any better. I looked the thing over closely and it seem the sprue(pour) hole was small so I compared it to a couple of other molds I have and indeed they were small. I pulled out an 11/64 drill bit, mounted it in my drill press and opened each hole up, it worked.
Moral, don't be afraid to modify if needed.
Rodney
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

bigjim5589

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Rodney, good advice! I've had to open up sprue holes on a few of mine too to get them to pour correctly. I used my Dremel & a grinding bit, and that worked fine also.

Gotta do, what you gotta do sometimes!  lo

Quote
Moral, don't be afraid to modify if needed.

Just don't get too crazy with removing metal or you could ruin the mold!  ~shade
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Oldfart9999

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just don't get too crazy with removing metal or you could ruin the mold!  ~shade
Or get a lot of practice with JB Weld and a Dremel. ~roflmao
Rodney
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

bigjim5589

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Quote
Or get a lot of practice with JB Weld and a Dremel. ~roflmao


 lo
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bassmaster893

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Great thread, ive been pouring for 3 years now and it is a fun way to save some money, and when someone asks me what i caught my fish on in a tournament its always cool to brag about using my home made stuff!
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Oldfart9999

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Great thread, ive been pouring for 3 years now and it is a fun way to save some money, and when someone asks me what i caught my fish on in a tournament its always cool to brag about using my home made stuff!
There really is satisfaction catching with your own handiwork. One of the other things I enjoy is making skirt colors that work and I can't buy.
Rodney
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.

bigjim5589

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I don't know about the saving money part, with what I've invested in molds & pouring equipment I could have bought a lot of lures!  lo

However, I agree with it being a lot of fun & satisfying when you catch fish on lures you've made yourself. Particularly if it's something that's different from what everyone else is using!  ;D
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bassmaster893

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I actually punched the numbers on what it cost to make a 1/2oz jig, i have saved money, i only have 4 molds, but ive got a billion jigs And shakey heads out of em, at almost 5 dollars per jig at the store VS it costing barely over a dollar to make my own. Just one 3600 sized box full of jigs ive got at least 80 bucks worth of jigs if store bought, and ive got 6 boxes  ~roflmao  i guess it depends on how many molds/ baits you use to make it a "money saving option" i actually just bought a soft plastic mold and am gonna start pouring them, hopefully gonna keep me from buying stuff i dont use! And have a lot of the 5-6 colors i do, with the certain couple baits i actually use, we will see if that venture saves me money, im thinking long term it will
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bigjim5589

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Yes, always a matter of perspective. I have almost 300 molds now, plus all the other stuff that goes with them, so not likely saving much!  lo

However, hard to put a price on fun & satisfaction!  ;)
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flowerjohn

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There really is satisfaction catching with your own handiwork. One of the other things I enjoy is making skirt colors that work and I can't buy.
Rodney

Rodney and all. This is a great thread. Making lures for me has become over the years about not saving money but making lures that are mine and what I want to make to think what will catch fish. I got hot on floating rats and it took me almost a year to find someone who would skin them tea them and send them up. Put on a carved cedar form that I figured out and with eyes and a wire tail I came up with one hell of a bait that works great up here. I look at it as a craft. Love makin those ones. Cheers. J.

Oldfart9999

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I just got a Do-It 1/16 ounce pro mold, a worm head mold and about 600 Eagle Claw black nickel Lil Nasty hooks. :toot: :toot: ~flag(all American made) WOOOO HOOOOO!!!! I'm a happy camper!!
Rodney and all. This is a great thread. Making lures for me has become over the years about not saving money but making lures that are mine and what I want to make to think what will catch fish. I got hot on floating rats and it took me almost a year to find someone who would skin them tea them and send them up. Put on a carved cedar form that I figured out and with eyes and a wire tail I came up with one hell of a bait that works great up here. I look at it as a craft. Love makin those ones. Cheers. J.
Wouldn't a baby musk rat work just as well? lo
Rodney
Old Fishermen never die, their rods just go limp.