Lead Lead Everywhere

DougCasting, Keels, Steel Boat


1000 pounds, the first of 20,000 pounds.  Besides a small leak in the old melting pot our Harbor Freight dual burner propane stove converted to lead smelter was doing good.  1000 pounds ready in 5 1/2 hours having burner 14 pounds of propane.   So now we know we are going to need 280 pounds or about 66 gallons .



Once the pot was completely molten the plan was to heat the drain pipe up to melt the lead plugging it and then let the entire contents flow into the keel.  The problem was that there was not enough flow and heat to overcome the chilling effect of the 8 feet of 1  1/4″ pipe that the lead had to flow through.  So after about 10 seconds of flowing, it choked off at the bottom of the 6 foot pipe dropping down into the keel.  It then quickly filled the pipe and started over flowing at the top, as the down pipe was only hanging on the end of the pipe from the melting pot.


So then it became a beautiful waterfall of lead.  It really was something quite interesting to see.  1000 pounds of molten lead cascading into the keel and freezing instantly as it came into contact with the steel as it splattered.



Cleanup begins tomorrow night.  Fortunately the lead has no interest in sticking to the steel.    We think the best plan going forward is to put a pour spout on the pot as the pot is already designed to be tilted.   So once it’s melted we will simply pitch the pot over and very quickly pour the entire contents before it has any time to cool.

Actually clean up began tonight.  It tool me an hour to pick the majority of lead splatter off my pants and boots.  🙂