Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pouring the Lead Pigs

This morning, the wind was calm, so I decided to pour some of the lead pigs. I made the forms out of 1/2 inch ply for the sides and bottom and 3/4 inch solid lumber for the ends. I made two 8 inch long (20 pound pig) and two that are 12 inch long (30 pound pig).

I took the lead ingots that were made from wheel weights, placed them in my 10 inch Dutch oven and started heating them up. In order to hold the pot with both hands, I clamped vice grip pliers on the back rim. This is necessary, because the pot wants to tilt uncontrollably with 20 or 30 pounds of liquid sloshing around.

The first pouring in each of the forms, was very bubbly. I assume the moisture in the wood caused this. The second pouring was not as bubbly and the pigs came out looking cleaner. The forms are not holding up very well. They are very dry and cracked... okay, charred would be a better word. I hope they hold up for 2 more pouring. But, it's doubtful.

After the pigs cooled off, I took a file and cleaned up the edges. I now have 4- 20 pound pigs and 4- 30 pound pigs. Not bad for my first try at making lead pigs.


  1. Make sure the molds are dry (You've doubtless heard this at least a dozen times)

    Paint inside of molds with waterglass (google it - it is sodium silicate (very thick solution); can find it in stores catering to the home farm folks who use it to preserve eggs), Amiosh stores, etc. Maybe stores used by folks with horses - not sure about that one.

    I've also heard drywall compound works, but haven't tried it.

    Make sure molds are dry. Bone dry. Lead is hot (600F +) and if the inside of the mold has any moisture at all, it will explode into steam and spatter molten lead all over the place as soon as the lead hits the mold.

    Wear full - and I mean FULL - protection, and stand upwind so that fumes blow away from you.

    Pour lead.

    Wash hands thoroughly and remove all clothes, boots , gloves etc before entering house.

    My two cents (have poured pigs and centerboard weights).

  2. Hi Lezlie,
    I just finished casting lead ingots for trim ballast for my boat. Your blog entry and video were very helpful. I linked to your entry from my site as reference. Nice work. Thanks again.


    1. John, glad it helped. Visited your site, NICE.


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