Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cooking Lead...

It was like a cross between an episode of "Breaking Bad" and "King of the Hill".  Fired up the fish fryer today with a brand new bottle of propane (Hank would be proud) and dress liked the guys from "Breaking Bad" to do the lead smelting for the keel and centerboard ballast.  Fumes from lead smelting are nasty and I don't want to catch cancer so I dressed like Jesse and Walt.  All went well and finished before I lost my shade from the garage.

The heat was intense!  The outside temperature was 104 degrees.  It felt hot enough to melt the lead without the aid of propane and fire. According to the internet (and it must be right it is on the internet) the melting temperature of lead is 621 degrees American that's 327.5 degrees Celsius, so a little aid from the gas was needed to melt the lead, but not much.  The cast iron handle on the skillet was really hot even with welding gloves, oh and heavy too.  I stuck with melting small quantities of lead at a time due to the weight, giving me better ability to control the pour.  If I had it to do over I would have found a cast iron kettle with more capacity than my skillet and a nice spout for pouring.

I was done before noon!  It does take a lot of preparation for this step in the build process.  Finding the lead is one of the hardest parts with the EPA regulations.  I bit the bullet (pun intended) and bought a large portion of the lead in the form of lead shot sold at the gun stores to the reloader guys.  It is expensive but clean.  Safety glasses, respirator, fire ire extinguisher, fish fryer, cinder blocks, clamps, propane....the list goes on.

Lead in place and cooled. Shavings at the left in the picture are from the over pour.

I poured a little too much lead the the forward section.  A sharp chisel removes the lead very effectively.  I read on the internet (so it must be true) that for luck you must put a coin in the keel and later a coin under the mast.  So I did before glueing the cap on.

Abe is going for a ride!

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