Make Your Own Sinkers

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    Posted: 15 Sep 2021 at 10:02am
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Titanium
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Yep getting back to the transom height stuff soon
Yrs ago the old man used to have a dry spot in the back of our bike shed, that was pretty much dry clay.
Impress a spoon , or table spoon, depending on how heavy he wanted, into the clay. Stick a wire in one end, pour molten lean into the impressions.
The lead was melted in an old pan with an old white spirits , pump up blow torch.(that also could be used for soldering with the big solder head attachment.) Go to for plumbers and copper pipes back then .



Just before lockdown a m8 leant me his Lee  Electric Melter
Was getting bit low on 6oz reefs... and had a bucket of bits of lead, old soft bait jigs etc.
I wanted a mold that is a bank of 6oz, but could only get a bank that had section going upto 6oz Looked tentatively into making molds, and came across making them out of a mix of silicone sealant mixed with cornflour into a  'baking like doe Thumbs Up
Down side check the shelves and using hig end , including marine grade sealants was just going to be real expensive...but had an idea from that.
So brought a bank of 8oz.
De-greased and infilled the sides of each of the moulds a different amount , estimating how much lead  displaced would give 6 to 7 oz.
 Now the Lee Melter... it has a plate under the pourer nozzle, and not enough space to slide the 8 oz mould under. So removed  and turned the base around, put a big weight on it.. all on a slab of wood ..now have good space including if bit crap stops flow, can put a bent bit of wire up easy... with a bake been tin to catch spillage.
The Lee melter is impressive..fast , gets to temp, back off the dial a little and holds temps.. Make sure its clean, other wise the pouring hole can get a little blocked.

I was told to heat the molds.. So as I do , I didnt , just to see actually what happens. You end up with the lead solidifying as pours on top of its self.. looks as if could easy break, or fall apart... thats if the pour hole dosent block up 1st..

Was told to heat the molds over something like a lpg stove burner.  OK out with the 1" diameter LPG blow torch.. Clamped sides together , and give heaps during the few minutes the lead in the pot melted.
All good ready to pour, pours well, break up mold and sinkers ugly showing deep rings where lead solidifies on its self  before the next stuff going in on top.. thu better than a cold mold

Im not doing all this in 1 day, so each 'stage' has bit of over night thought, and every stage is cold start.

Yesterday,"right I have got it this time.."
 The silcone strips in the molds , bit brown but damn they are holding up surprisingly well. Thumbs Up

So now drag down the 2 burner camping cooker, fill the pot for 2  and 1/2 repeats of the 4 X 8oz mold. The 1/2 is to make sure have enough to pour , pop out , follow directly with the next pour.
So pour the weighed lead into the pot, turn on the 2 burner camp cooker, and lay each 1/2 of the mold on each burner.. reconed med heat would be enough..and was.

Still how do I tell if molds hot enough?
Had an idea.. if a bit of core solder melts when touched to the sinker mold, should be.. yep worked perfect. I also tried bit of stick solder, takes longer to absorb enough heat, so would end up hotter than need... touch with core solder way to go.

Anyway molds hot enough , and the lead melted down around the same time Thumbs Up. Flip 1 1/2 of the mold onto the other, clamp together with a small G clamp.. that also acts as an excellent hot  mold holder. Put under the pot, open the plug, and lead pours in , flows nicely...
 Thinking and watching, poured the 1st 2 sinkers, going into both at the same time. Maybe best to pour into one sinker at a time, down the side of the pour hole, then the other side. So did so on the 2nd 2 sinkers in the mold.

So now how long to wait before splitting the mold open?  
This could turn bit tricky with potentual to go wrong, quickly.
Im doing this on my filleting bench in the shed.. the sink everything is dry.. no water around.. made sure of that before starting anything.
30 sec , opened the mold in the sink, screw driver gentle levered them apart, couple sinker fell out, other 2 fell out with a gentle tap.
 1/2 back together, clamped, 2nd pour...
In those few minutes thinkingLamp I can throw a few more bits in the pot and do a continuous/ endless pour (?). So pour and top up at the same time. lead melts as soon as hits the molten stuff, even lumps.Thumbs Up
 So 2nd pour done, count to 30, pop out the sinkers , re clamp, 3rd pour... decided thats enough sinkers for now...

and the continuous pour thing works Thumbs Up
 Now cleaning the dags.
Electrical side cutters cut the joiner part easy
 File.. ok but tiny bits lead fillings around , harder to recover..
 So spy the old burnsco bait knife on the knife rack.. yep slices the dags off the mold join nicely... And the drill will bit cleans out the hole at the top of the reef sinker...
All on a bit of corrugated cardboard  that folds easy to pour back into the melting pot for next time.

End results.
The pouring both sides as against pouring one side the the other, makes very nice smooth sinkers... Thumbs Up
30 secs is enough time, maybe would extend little longer if pouring 16 oz plus.
 The cored solder test if molds to temp works excellent..

I only poured 12 X 8oz sinkers, 3 of the 4 in the mold, less weight because of the different amounts of  silicone spacer used
No silcone about 7.98 oz after de daging. The others from 6.5 oz  A  7 oz and a 7.5 oz.

When drifting / stray lining I hook a reef on the clip at the end of the main line and very tidy baits so dont spin up.. Weight, and changing weights quickly is critical... had 1/2, 10z then 2oz , 3 oz etc... I needed 1 1/2 oz, so I used to cut the bottom off a 2oz.

Now this may give the option of rather than fill in with silicone, simply pour 8 oz sinkers and cut the bottoms off later to required weight? Once sorted where to cut for given weight, over all very well possibly and also makes the best use of the lead available, less waste.

Was it worth it?

Well the lead is just old sb jigs, (hooks/nails separate out easy, pick out with long nose pliers.) few old nail heads , flashings collected over the yrs.
 Set up, to clean up  well under 30 mins
 So poured say 12 X8 ox sinkers, quick look on line thats around $70 odd worth.

So there is my yesterdays play around, experiment, do stuff just to see what really happens for myself. And  the end results of a play around over several days.

Hope
1/ I have written so can follow
2/ find helpful .. if 1/ works Cool
3/ If 2/ doesnt work and 1/ does,  find informative or at least interesting.Thumbs Up




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Titanium
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Damn looked back up thats longHug
 Oh well its L4 lockdwn in Auckland still.. JAFA s still got time to read it all Big smile
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Titanium
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Grief You should have labeled the start “Genesis”. Haha 

You reminded me to get a few sinkers made too. Yip 6 once my go to 
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Titanium
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Grief You should have labeled the start “Genesis”. Haha

Did you actually read it all? Wacko I havnt

Well so much of stuff I do I actually read instructions.. yeah found and download the Lee melter manual.
Ppl tell me stuff, dont do this or that , must do this.. Like smoking fillets will dry out.. they dont done right..
My solo launching hand free, bungee painter...
The electric drill to pull the boat up.
list goes on and on , 50/60 yrs of it.. gardens, built kitchen, weed free lawns cheap and 2 to 3 hrs over 6 to 9 months..strip wall paper with a hose. recycle water to toilet using water bed bladder..(90s drought)

Anyway weighed the sinkers..pulled the silicone out of the molds, and laid in new layer  a bit thicker to get around 7 oz.
 Hacksaw off the bottom, easy , but if sinker slightly thinner, will be easier to get any weight from .. well  2oz to 8 oz

Also putting silicone in, I have left for at least 2 to 3 days to fully or near full cure...have no idea if silicone not cured what it will do...
Damn forgot to mix in cornflour  see how that effects it..
next time if need to re do it........and rem.

I had the thought, these will look real nice if touch on the wire wheel.. and touched one on.
 Comes up real nice.. very fast,  well that spot.
 Then had the thought that this is a very bad idea... fine lead dust floating around landing on surfaces, just a mask doesnt do enough.

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When I mould sinkers I just leave the hot ones in the mould till ready to make the next lot that way mould stays hot enough. 
I use a LPG cooker and a ladle. I put the mould I'm going to use on top of the ladle on the first melt to warm it. Doesn't need to be hot enough to melt solder. I don't continuously add lead as it makes the lead only just melted and will not poor as nice and you'll need the mould really hot as the lead is only just liquid. Rather make a ladle full at a time. clearing the scum off the lead each melt. I use a teaspoon for this. Once melted and ready clear the mould of the last batch and make the next one or how ever many you can with the current melt. Very rear to open a mould and find the lead still liquid. It sets bloody quickly even if well above melting point. By the time you put the ladle down and come back to the mould they will be set. I've only ever opened a mould to have it poor back out when doing the a run of larger sinkers like 32oz and above.
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Titanium
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Long time ago when watch the old man melting /pouring out of a ladle.
 I think it was a small aluminum stove pot (??)

I put the mould I'm going to use on top of the ladle on the first melt to warm it.
 I tried that initially, but when sinkers where poured one could see the big rings where lead solidified early.. was told moulds not hot enough...

Doesn't need to be hot enough to melt solder.
I used solder because molds just laying on the cooker where very hard to get an idea of how hot they are..then looked around and there was a coil and a stick of solder on the shelf.
From the Lee instructions sheet, lead is about 650 deg.. from memory solder about 450 / 500 so used as a ball park temp gauge knowing around there chances getting a good finish and clean pour would be ok.

I don't continuously add lead as it makes the lead only just melted and will not poor as nice and you'll need the mould really hot as the lead is only just liquid.

Yeah can see that.. with the Lee pot , continuous heat on the pot upto around 900 deg and the pour from the bottom of the pot at the same time enabled feeding lead in all the time... and the scrum not an issue as floats. Also I think the Lee pot maybe heating the lead quite a bit hotter, faster.

It sets bloody quickly even if well above melting point. By the time you put the ladle down and come back to the mold they will be set
 Yeah that really surprised me , just how fast can turn the mold around...and how long the sinkers retain heat laying on the benchWink

Think I have been spoiled for 1st time round using the Lee electric pot.. Same as link below, except older model with a rectangular  vertical rear stand part.
https://leeprecision.com/production-pot-iv-220-v.html

 just tying something below see if links a pic



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Pcj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Sep 2021 at 4:15pm
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Whats wrong with the old pot on the gas ring,and pourer hammered out in in pot. When I was making model yacht keels it was a bake bean tin and just grabbed with vice grips and poured,and then the filing startered. Never thought of a mask for the little bit we were using,same as air rifle pellets,lead.Do 20 or shots and have a sandwhich.Dont worry to mush about lead poising you need to eat a ot. In your younger days how lead soldiers did you suck on and that enamel lead base paint.

Walking to/from school how much lead did we breathe in??Playing with old cars in the garage or firing up outboards.

And we still here.
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Brings back a few memories this thread.  My grandfather and father used to make our sinkers.  My grandfather made molds for running pyramid and fluted pyramid sinkers.  He worked for the NZ Railways and could make anything with steel.  A brass rod formed the hole.  Rectangular ladle was again homemade and the heat source was a Primus burner.  I experimented in my early teen years using aluminium channel and spoons as molds.  Silver plated teaspoons don't make good moulds.  The lead doesn't release, mother wasn't happy.  I found lighting the Primus burner was always a challenge.  No youtube to show you how to those days.  
Even found a few sinkers lying around.  These would have been made 55-60 years ago.
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Originally posted by Fish Addict Fish Addict wrote:

Brings back a few memories this thread.  My grandfather and father used to make our sinkers.  My grandfather made molds for running pyramid and fluted pyramid sinkers.  He worked for the NZ Railways and could make anything with steel.  A brass rod formed the hole.  Rectangular ladle was again homemade and the heat source was a Primus burner.  I experimented in my early teen years using aluminium channel and spoons as molds.  Silver plated teaspoons don't make good moulds.  The lead doesn't release, mother wasn't happy.  I found lighting the Primus burner was always a challenge.  No youtube to show you how to those days.  
Even found a few sinkers lying around.  These would have been made 55-60 years ago.
The old primus kero stove and "no pricker" cough and splutter. As we did as children wait till the old boy at work eytc and play,how we never hurt ourselves is beyond me.Now days we be yelling at junior leave it alone,times change.
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Originally posted by Pcj Pcj wrote:

. Never thought of a mask for the little bit we were using,same as air rifle pellets,lead.Do 20 or shots and have a sandwhich.Dont worry to mush about lead poising you need to eat a ot. In your younger days how lead soldiers did you suck on and that enamel lead base paint.



And we still here.

Hell, that bought back some memories Pcj.
As kids, we kept our ammo supply ( lead pellets) in the gob because trouser pockets were full of other important stuff.
...like marbles, pocket knives, magnifying glass, bits of string, emergency rations ( peanuts, rasins, biscuits, & bubble gum~~used~~but back in the wrapper & myriads of other bits & pieces that a determined the difference between life & death)

& my grandparents gave me close on a whole regiment of lead soldiers, lol.
They also gave me a pipe, some sort of early plastic, & filled it with tobacco .
Lit it up & laughed when I did my best to be like them.
those were the days
LOL







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Originally posted by Pcj Pcj wrote:

The old primus kero stove and "no pricker" cough and splutter ... how we never hurt ourselves is beyond me...
I recall on one occasion I filled the primus with either white spirits or turpentine rather than kero.  Nothing happened, once again I couldn't get it started but the potential for bad s..t to happen was never too far away. 
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Titanium
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The old primus (and the old pump up blow torches, just needed to give the meths ring to nearly burn out... Wink
 Yep slug pallets inside the bottom lip.. pewter soldiers.. every kid had a pocket knife..
 Maybe it was the DDT fly spray that neutralised each other Cool

Even found a few sinkers lying around.  These would have been made 55-60 years ago.

 Thats about the time I refer to above, and that fluted sinker on the left, brought back lot of  forgotten memories   Thumbs Up
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So had a more serious 'play' today
 lot good info and stuff above...

I dropped about 40oz in the melter .. about 1/3 full, and these are good sized lumps.
 All melted down  just over 12 mins. Faster than the 5 /6 mins molds heated up on the double burner camp stove..

Have decided the core solder is easiest way to check mold temps for best results..no guess work.

G clamped the  2  halves of the mould together, using the G clamp as a handle...

 Then dropped a tin can with flashing lead on one of the burners , see what and how long would take.

Poured out the 1st 4 X 8oz, checked the can cant see anything melting yet..
 Popped open the mold , dropped out the 4 X8 nice looking sinkers...
 G clamped up again , dropped in more lead, and started to pour and other 4.

 Checked the tin can on the cooker, can just see abit melted down inside.. lefted it up and a seam on the can leaks... put to one side with molten lead in the bottom of the cooker and on the shed floor...
 Modern plastic lined , synthetic seals rather than old school tinned and soldered ...not a good idea.

Popped the 2nd  4 X 8oz from pour above out, and the G clamp is getting hot.
Lamp Have 2 G clamps when doing continuous pours

Poured the next 2 4 X 8ox.

Thats 16 X 8oz sinkers, set up to clean up except de dagging them in just under 30 mins...
 About 17/18 oz lead inculding what left in to pot plus the scum also left in the pot

 Havnt used a pot.. so dont know how long to melt out ... and since dont need to pour, (tap bottom of the pot) no issues with scum.. hooks , nails etc.

 Tin cans well not going that route again..

Electric melting pot certainly the way to go.. from safe handling of molten metal , ease and speed.
Molds do not heat up enough if laid on top of the pot... to cold get 'joins' thru the sinkers.

So there my screw ups , play , experiment with stuff.
 Hope helpful.





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One more tip with the mould. I don't know what yours looks like but rather than clamp I have a couple of heavy weights (blocks of steel or lead). One each side of the mould and the two 1/2s will hold together enough to poor then just pick up the mould and remove new sinker hold back together and jam back between the 2 blocks. 
I wet my heavy duty leather gloves as heat can still get through if you hold the mould too long. 
Under my two piece moulds I have protection for the work bench (bread board or similar) and on top of that an aluminium plate because any spilled lead won't stick to aluminium. 
I have my system fairly down pat. The off cuts from the poor hole are snipped off with side cutters while still hot and added back to the new mix so melt back in quickly. Not the mix I'm using but the next poor. 
Sounds like your electric pot is more efficient than my gas cooker but I'll work with what I have. 

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Kroc - very close to your system but I hold the two metal moulds with wee G clamps. I have 3 lined up and pour out of my bean can heated on a cheap square gas cooker. Works well just need 20 and I’m good for a few months. Have to flick a few to the builder who supplies me with lead. Old pipes cut with an axe are the best.
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Sounds like your electric pot is more efficient than my gas cooker but I'll work with what I have.

Maybe, think depends how much lead one is putting thru.. I didnt realise you had 2 pots melting at the same time... thats a lot of lead...
 And its not my pot Wink m8 lent it to me just before lock down to have a play.

One more tip with the mold. I don't know what yours looks like but rather than clamp I have a couple of heavy weights (blocks of steel or lead)

The block each side, works using a melting pot like you do that you pour from.. Im moving the mold under the pot , open tap and fill.
On the cooker, pre heat, I just flip one side onto the other, slide to the edge and 'grab' it with the clamp... makes a good mold handle.

I dont need  use gloves at all.. not moving pots lead around..
 And yeah unless have steel benches, I use a scrap sheet of ply under the work area.

  This Thread is not about best method..
 Its about I was lent a electric pot to play with just before lockdown....having a play.
 And letting ppl know who have considered using the nail heads and old SB jig s laying around ....And considered if one of these electric melters work/ worth it.
 Damn I dont even know how much they are or who stocks them in NZ  Ermm

What is good is the info by others who use the old school tin/ pot method also explain how to.Thumbs Up

Just thinking out allowed here...
The melting pot inner is metal.. think maybe stainless, its only thin... bit more than a tin can
 If had a melting not electric pot on a cooker as described in posts, and set up a pouring 'tap' in the bottom.
Melt on cooker, lift to a stand, slide the molds under and fill.
There would be no issue with the scum floating on the top?
Tap would have to be a plunger / plug type..
Tap would be .. bit crudely explained.. bash a round cone hole from the inside of the pot...and a tapered rod that fits down into it..bit of a brace at the top to hold it straight, and a bit of wood to grab and open so dont burn the fingers.

Feasible? worth setting up for large volumes lead or a lot molds/sinkers on a regular basis?



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just a wee side step from thread. The use of copper to make the line hole in sinker. I have used bright nails and just claw hammered them out will mold is still warm. Success ranges from easy to at times very hard and fiddlie. Does copper pull easier?
The gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent on fishing - Assyrian Proverb
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Originally posted by Reel Deal Reel Deal wrote:

... Does copper pull easier?
We used brass rod.  As the lead was being poured into the mold (single) we would twist / turn the rod.  Most times the rod would pull out easily but occasionally a bit of force was required. 
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The use of copper to make the line hole in sinker.
You just mean the hole thru, say ball sinker  or spoon sinker in the dirt ?

Back in the day the old man used steel , non galv nails...good smooth shaft.  They pulled out easy and from memory even when cold... need a bit of a tap with  small hammer to start

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For the hole in ball sinker moulds I use as above just nails in the poor hole. I've cut the nails flat and bent them at the other end at 90 degrees. Once pored and before opening mould use pliers to twist and pull the nails out. 
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