By Jamie Simpson
A few years ago I managed to get my hands on a lead smelting machine from Janns Netcraft in America. Being an engineer by trade I have found this sort of thing intriguing and I love trying out new moulds that I make up from aluminium blocks.
My melting pot has a small spout underneath for the molten lead to pour out and into the mould.
One word of warning for anyone who wants to make their own leads is to wear goggles a face mask and gloves. I would also recommend doing it in a garage rather than in the house for safety reasons.
I have over the last few years made quite a variety of lead shapes of differing weights and shapes from moulds that I have made myself and some that I have purchased at a cost of around £17. I buy mine from Walkers of Trowell
I put a home made brass loop (these can also be obtained from Walkers) attached to a Berkley McMahon swivel and then insert this into half of the mould, I then carefully place the other half ot the mould to this and hold under th smelting pot. The lever on the side of the pot is then lifted and the lead pours into the mould. The lead sets in just a few seconds, so I then split the mould and knock the lead into a bucket of water.
After this I cut the excess off with pliers and then file up the join mark, before holding the lead over a stove on a relatively low heat. Once the lead is hot I dip it in some powder paint, which can be purchased from most tackle shops, I then place it back over the flame to allow the paint to run before dipping in water to set the paint.
You can get plenty of different colours of powder paint from the tackle shops and by mixing a few up together you can match it to the lake bed that you are fishing quite well. I am not that sure this gives a massive advantage but if it gives you confidence it is worth a go. You don’t even need to make your own lead’s to do this, you can just cut off the existing coating from a Korda lead and then apply your own unique colour. I often use GLT (gold label tackle) powder coating.
Leads are a relatively cheap item of tackle but when using safety clips etc you can get through quite a few over a season and at £1.20+ each it doesn’t take long for a smelting pot and a couple of moulds to pay for themselves.
I hope this was of some interest
Cheers, Jamie Simpson