Before going any further, have you read the safety page?
We offer the hints below freely but accept no responsibility for personal accident to anyone working with molten lead.
I have listed below a few helpful hints to give you a little guidance to make you tackle making easier. After years of making leads, pirks and lures, there are a number of things I have learnt which make the task a lot easier.
- When starting up, place the lead pot on the stove and turn on the heat. Depending on the output of your stove / cooker it will take time to melt the lead. Once melted, you will find that there is a layer of scum/ rubbish on the top of the lead. This must be skimmed off thoroughly before you attempt to make anything as these impurities will cause defects in the finished surface of your leads / lure. Do this by using your ladle and tip the scum into a biscuit tin or metal bucket remembering that it is HOT. Place this tin / bucket somewhere safely away from children and animals so it can cool down.
- Now continue to heat the lead until you have a colour-hardened film over the surface. When this is achieved, the lead is at the correct temperature for pouring. The scum will begin to reform whilst you are working so periodically skim it off by repeating the process detailed above.
- Always heat your moulds prior to use. This can be done by placing them next to the stove or by pouring lead into them with and leaving it in the mould for a minute or two, removing the lead / lure and repeating it again. Do this three or four times and the mould will come up to the required temperature and the lead will pour properly, filling the cavity properly and producing a perfect moulding.
- From time to time, the lead will not run properly and you will end up with a miss shaped lead / lure. Simply remove and place to one side. Do not be tempted to simply drop it back in the pot of molten lead as it will splash and may cause injury. After a while, you will probably have a few miss shapes, these should be placed into the ladle and gently lowered into the pot. Then simply invert the ladle.
- When moulding pirks, do not use scrap sheet or pipe lead on its own. This will produce a very soft pirk that will bend very easily and you will find that you send a perfectly shaped Norway pirk down to the seabed at the beginning of the drift and at the end of the drift you will wind up a banana shaped pirk. Go to your nearest tyres centre and ask them for some scrap wheel weights. You may need to part with a few quid to buy 200 lbs of scrap weights but you will have an important ingredient for you pirks. When you get them home, pour a few pounds at a time into a garden sieve which is inside a bin liner and give them a good shack to remove all dust. Sort out rubber valves and any other rubbish there may be in there and pour the cleaned wheel weights into a bucket. When you come to melt down your lead put both scrap lead and wheel weights into the pot at 60% scrap lead + 40% wheel weights. Melt this down and skim the lead off thoroughly ensuring you remove ALL the floating debris before you start pouring. Now when you make your pirks you will have a pirk which will not bend. Test the first ones you make by dropping them into a bucket of water (well away from your lead pot). Once cool, try to bend them. If you can, add more wheel weights to the lead pot and repeat the process until you have a hard pirk. Too much wheel weight will make them too hard and they will become brittle allowing you to snap them when you try to bend them. A little practice will see you establish what the mix should be.
- When you have finished making your pirks or lures, set about cleaning them up with a file and remove all the burrs and sharp edges. Once done you can now powder coat or paint them as you wish. Very soon (check our What's NEW page regularly) we will be offering pre cut holographic tape for you to finish your pirks off with. Simply prime your lures with a matt white primer, paint them with our new glow in the dark paint and when dry, apply the pre cut / shaped tape your pirk / lure to give a terrific fish catching finish.
- When powder coating pirks at home, it has been found that a very good finish can be achieved by heating the pirk then apply the powder coating from a large pepper pot.