Melting lead in a kiln?


September 23, 2008, 08:36 PM
I might be able to acquire a free kiln. I don't have any specs on it yet. If it is big enough I was thinking of using it to make lead ingot from used wheel wieghts. Has anyone used one? Any thoughts good or bad?

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September 23, 2008, 11:25 PM
I don't cast, but I think if the thing has precise temperature control it would work fine. You could set it up where it would melt the lead and leave the zinc floating. I don't know how it would handle exhausting the fumes.

September 24, 2008, 02:39 AM
Fluxing and stirring the lead might be an issue as well as the flareup potential when fluxing.

September 24, 2008, 07:25 AM
If you're melting down wheel weights, be sure and use a thermometer to keep your temperature around 725 to 750 degrees F. Some wheel weights are zinc and other materials you do not want to melt into your bullet lead mix. Keeping the temperature just above the melting point for lead prevents you from getting up into the temperatures required to melt the zinc, etc. and you can simply skim those weights off with the steel clips.



September 24, 2008, 02:26 PM
lead melts around 621 F, and boils at 3150 F.

I don't know how hot a kiln gets.

September 24, 2008, 03:32 PM
You can melt lead in a pot (preferally like a Dutch Oven) on the burner of an ordinary gas or electric stove.

September 24, 2008, 04:06 PM
Hopefully not the one you use for cooking.

September 24, 2008, 04:30 PM
Well, Cosmoline, (((grin))) when I was melting the lead a few on the kitchen stove.:uhoh::uhoh::uhoh: But the room was well ventilated, and it wasn't the food cooking pot!


September 24, 2008, 05:21 PM
A fellow around these parts was doing quite a bit of bullet making in his house and ended up with a lead level so high he almost died.

The stuff is cumulative, so you have to be careful esp. if you are also shooting a lot. My suggestion is to assume any indoor home space is NOT sufficiently ventilated and do it all outside or in an open shed with mask, gloves, and zero cross-contamination with anything that goes in your mouth.

September 24, 2008, 05:30 PM
Wow just read that article Cosmoline. ya i think i will stick to doing it outside

September 24, 2008, 06:56 PM
I have experience with 3 kilns. One was a small one for enamelling copper pieces for home jewelry making. The other 2 were larger, and intended for firing ceramic pieces.

None of the 3 would be convenient, or cheap to use with lead. All 3 of these kilns would reach much higher temperatures than necessary with lead.

I have made ingots in a pot over charcoal, and also on an old Coleman gas stove. The last method has definite drawbacks. The charcoal actually works pretty well, and can be fed home made fuel, with the highest cost being labor. Definitely an outdoor process, however.

Back in the day, a lot of bullets were cast over a campfire.

September 24, 2008, 07:47 PM
a lot of bullets were cast over a campfire

There's a scene from the series "John Adams" where Mrs. Adams and the kids are making roundball on a little pile of coals next to the hearth. It seemed a wee bit more accurate than the one from "The Patriot" where Gibson drops the things right into his naked palm! OUCH!

September 24, 2008, 10:51 PM
Well just what kind of kiln is it? And most kilns are rigged up for the 1,000 degree clay most people use for figurines and the like. Not good for melting lead.

And most currently made kilns have a safety feature that doesnt let the lid open up untill the unit is absolutely COOLED down inside to a temperature that wont incinerate the user.

September 25, 2008, 12:57 PM
Keep the temperature as low as you can.
Even playing a flame over lead to 'sped up melting' will produce excess lead vapor.
Overheating during melting will up the lead vapor produced quickly.

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