Hard Lead vs Soft Lead Lure and Tackle Builders Making Fishing Lures
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7-13-2013

SUBJECT: Hard Lead vs Soft Lead

Submitted by GCChamp from ALABAMA on

Excuse my ignorance but I've just started pouring my on lures and noticed that there were several post on here saying to be sure and get soft lead vs hard lead. Why does it matter? Does one perform better than the other when pouring or when fishing?


  1. Jim H (71.206.56.110) from MARYLAND says Pouring Lead
    Soft lead is generally easier to pour, especially in molds with small cavities or those that use wire forms or other inserts. It really depends on the mold. I have over 200 molds and have used various hardnesses of lead, and prefer it a little hard for some of the things that I make. For example spinnerbait or buzzbait heads, if the lead is soft, they sometimes will bend too easily.

    Pure lead is soft, harder leads usually have antimony, tin or bismuth added.

    As far as fishing with it, doesn't matter one bit.


  2. GCChamp from ALABAMA says Thanks Jim!
    Thanks for the information. I've just started pouring my own shakey heads, spotstickers, jig heads or whatever you want to call them. I'm using a Do-it 3/16 oz jighead mold with 570 4/0 hooks. The hooks barely fit in the mold, but I've been pretty successful in making some decent heads. I ran out of lead over the weekend so I went to Lowes and bought some lead vent flashing to melt down(they were damaged beyond use so I bought them cheap). The flashings are made of very flexible lead that was easily cut, but noticed when I started pouring that the lead was spilling outside the mold and leaving "fins" on almost all the jigheads. I turned down the temp on the lead and added some wheel weights (hard lead?) and the jigheads seemed to pour better. I'm new at this and will take any words of advice you might have. Thanks again.


  3. Jim H (71.206.56.110) from MARYLAND says Advice
    Those "fins" are what we call flash, it happens when the mold won't close completely. The hook you're using is probably causing it. Either the wire diameter is too large, or there's not enough recess for the hook, perhaps at the point. I've modified a few of my Do It molds with a Dremel tool, so I can use different, or larger hooks than the ones specified. The trick is to just remove enough metal to make it work, don't over do it.

    I prefer a better quality hook, like Mustad Ultra Points, or Gamakatsu, both in black nickel finishes, but that's a matter of personal choice.

    There's other tricks that helps in pouring, pre-heat the mold, a hot mold will pour better than a cold one, coat the cavities with soot from a candle, this sometimes helps with difficult molds, just hold it over the burning candle & let it get good & black and keep the lead at a hot enough temperature so it pours properly. Even though your lead is melting, it may lose heat too fast when you pour, having your lead at a the right temperature will help. Also keep the slag that forms on top of the lead spooned off so you're not getting it into your molds. I use a large stainless steel spoon for removing slag. This "slag" is actually a combination of impurities in the lead, and lead oxide.

    Be sure you're doing your pouring in a well ventilated area, the fumes from lead is bad stuff. Also be sure your lead is completely dry, any moisture will cause the molten lead to literally explode. Because molten lead is so hot, moisture turns to steam & tries to escape very rapidly, it will push the lead out, just like it exploded. Bad situation, so be very careful. A good pair of leather gloves, like welders use is a good investment in safety.

    If you have any problems, feel free to email me. Jim


  4. GCChamp from ALABAMA says Thanks for the advice!
    I've put it to good use! Got over 300 jig heads hanging in my garage, just got to find time to go and use them!!


  5. Munkin (24.170.251.127) from MARYLAND says Lowe's?
    What am I looking for at Lowe's? The lead I have I bought at BPS for like $8 for a 5lb bag.

    Allen


  6. GCChamp from ALABAMA says Lowes
    You're looking for lead roof flashing. It is located in the roofing aisle here. The lead is soft enough to bend around a vent pipe going thru the roof of a house. The ones I bought weighed about 3# each. They were damaged so bad Lowes couldn't sell them for $9 plus. I talked to the manager of the department and he sold them to me for $2 each. I probably could have found some lead somewhere else cheaper, but I was in a hurry to try pouring some heads. The flashings looked like these.

    http://www.maycoindustries.com/flashings.htm


  7. G (68.205.203.113) from FLORIDA says Buying Lead
    I have not purchased lead in a while because I bought so much the last time I needed some. I looked in the yellow pages to find a place that buys and sells scrap metals. I went there and was able to look around and found old lead plumbing pipes. The lead was very soft so I think it was good pure lead and was very old. If you live close to a city they probably have a scrap metal yard too. I think I only paid about $.35 a pound but my memory is a bit foggy on that because it was several years ago. Note:When I melted the old pipes down they produced a strong stink because I believe they were old drain lines. They also produced lots of slag (impiurities that float to the top)but they produced great lead!


  8. Jim H (71.206.56.110) from MARYLAND says Buying lead
    Since my last message I've gotten a few emails with questions, so I'll add the info here.

    I had a tackle business for 15 years, so I bought all my lead as cheap as I could. I bought scrap & pure ingots. If you need a source for lead, here's a few places that you can check.

    Plumbing supply dealers sell plumbers lead which is often nearly pure or soft lead, same with hardware stores who sell plumbing supplies. Of course tire dealers will have scrap wheel weights, which are lead alloys, but are still good for many types of jigs, spinnerbaits or buzzbaits, and sinkers.

    Scrap metal dealers who sell lead will often be good sources, but may be limited in the type of lead they sell. You can often get some good prices if you're willing to buy large amounts.

    Suppliers who sell shotshell & bullet reloading supplies will have bags of shot & bullets which are good for molding. They may also have tin & bismuth shot if you don't want to use lead. These are more expensive, but don't have the environmental or health hazards that lead has. Any heavy metal has health risks, so take care with whatever you choose.

    There are also some sellers on Ebay who sell lead ingots, a search in either the "Fishing" or "Hunting" categories should show some of them.

    How much you pay or are willing to spend is up to you, but will really depend on how much molding you intend to do.

    I use a $1.00 a pound now as my price limit for the lead that I buy, including the shipping. At that price a 1/4 ounce jig or sinker costs less than 2 cents for the lead. A 1 ounce jig or sinker costs less than 7 cents. Even at twice the price, it's still most often less than what you'll pay in many tackle shops for the jig heads or sinkers.

    I hope this helps!


  9. Doug P (63.162.143.21) from VERMONT says Lead Free
    Due to living in the Northeast many lead products are banned and being that I've always molded my own.

    What other materials are you folks using to mold that are Lead Free??? I've heard that a 50/50 split of Tin/Bismuth is okay but never tried it.

    Lets hear some more.


  10. Keith O (72.234.173.213) from HAWAII says lead free pouring metals
    For pouring jig heads/sinkers - Pure bismuth is brittle/soft but smooth skins in a mold. Pure tin is softer & more flexible than lead with a durable shiny finish. Generally speaking bismuth is for weight and tin is for toughness in an alloy of the two. Any combination of the two metals can be melted together and poured. Current prices Summer '07 - bismuth $20 per lb. and tin $12 per lb. - more for small quantities. That works out to $1 per OUNCE for a 50-50 alloy.


  11. ryan (67.167.52.139) from ILLINOIS says ?
    where can you get the lead and bismuth


  12. ryan (67.167.52.139) from VIRGINIA says tin and bismuth
    where can you get the tin and bismuth


  13. sheraz (119.152.24.204) from INDIANA says required soft lead and hard lead
    Dear Sirs,

    Please inform me about soft and hard lead where i can perchase it


  14. Knotholeno1 (98.95.191.54) from MISSISSIPPI says soft lead
    I have pleanty of clean soft lead for 2.00 a pound u pay shipping charges, I ship thru USPS flat rate, I package 10lbs per bag, so a min I will ship is 10 lbs at 20.00. plus shipping.





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