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Hopefully, if you are reading this, you already have all the equipment you need. If not, you can find out about all the equipment needed to make fishing sinkers in my previous post.
Check it out here at Equipment Needed To Make Fishing Sinkers if you missed it. This post will focus on How To Make Fishing Sinkers.
Before we get started, remember. PPE. You will be working with some pretty extreme temperatures.
Homemade sinkers can save you a heap of money, and could potentially make you money. One thing that is a given, you will ALWAYS need more sinkers. So, let’s get into how we make them.
An important thing to remember when setting up, is to make sure you do so in a well-ventilated area. Melting lead (and any other contaminants that may be in there) create fumes.
Sourcing the lead to make fishing sinkers
Lead can be found in many places. The best forms of lead are tire weights, old cast net lead lines, lead head roof nails, and old roofing lead sheets. Alternativaly, you could also melt you old sinkers to make new ones.
Another common method of sourcing lead is from old batteries. This isn’t something I would recommend however, as it takes a lot of messing around to get. Furthermore, the acid creates nasty and potentially dangerous fumes, These types of sinkers can also damage your fishing line over time.
Of course, You can just buy some lead ingots, but that is just counter-intuitive when making sinkers to save money.
Your heat Source
Probably the easiest heat source would be a portable gas cooker (Not a BBQ). This way you can control the amount of heat, and it gets the process along faster. Barring a gas cooker, a fire will work just as effectively (if not a bit slower) The fire doesn’t need to be big to melt lead, just at a good temp.
If you are using a fire, make sure it is fully circled with bricks or rocks to keep heat from escaping. These will also give you a place to put a rack to sit your melting pot on.
When it comes to a melting pot, a good saucepan with a strong and well-attached handle is all you need. If you have something with a pouring spout, even better.
When working with such extreme heat, make sure you have heat-resistant gloves, long clothing, a mask (there will be gasses), goggles or a full face shield, and enclosed shoes. THERE WILL BE SPLATTER, so be ready. For this reason, an apron can’t hurt either.
Starting the process to make fishing sinkers
Now for the fun part. Put your lead into your melting pot. The amount will depend on the size of the pot, and the molds you are using. Once placed on the gas or fire, walk over to the fridge and get a beer, sit back a watch the magic.
Even after the lead has melted, I always give it another few minutes to make sure and to heat up. This makes for easier pouring. Any impurities in the lead will float to the surface. It’s fine to leave there for now, unless it’s rubber of course That stuff smokes up and stinks.
While waiting for the lead to melt, you need to heat your molds. Now, this isn’t essential but not doing it can mean the first batch isn’t up to scratch.
Prep your sinkers mold
You also want to prep your molds. For running sinkers, you need something to create a hole through the middle. A thick bit of wire works well, as long as it’s straight. Another commonly used item is a spoke from an old bike wheel. Make sure to grease the wire to help in extracting later.
If making sinkers such as Star, Pyramid, Bell, Bomb, Raindrop, Bank, and Pencil Sinkers, you also need to insert the eyelets into the molds before pouring.
Now close your molds and put them in a vise, or use clamps to hold them securely closed. Making sure the molds are securely closed is essential if you want your sinkers to be in the right shape.
Pouring your lead
Once your lead is melted, if you haven’t already, put on your PPE, and pull out your pouring pot from the heat source. Pour slowly into molds until a blob forms on top of the pouring hole. Don’t worry, this won’t go to waste. After the cooling, this can be cut off and used again.
You don’t need to wait long, in fact straight after pouring the molds can be removed from the vise or clamps. The best way to open at this stage I find is to simply drop or tap on a hard surface. With your gloves or tongs, pick up the hot lead and drop them into a bucket of water.
Leave them to cool for at least a few minutes. Once cooled, remove from water and inspect. Now is when you can cut off and access and return to the pot. Pull out the wire and inspect holes that are fully open and unhindered. Any eyelets should be also inspected and tested to make sure of their strength.
Repeat the process until all lead is used, or you have enough sinkers. Any unused lead can be poured onto concrete and left to cool. This can be scraped up and used again.
That’s a Wrap
Many people will never attempt making their own sinker, and are content will buying them from fishing stores or online. When you consider the price of the sinker these days, (one snapper sinker can cost a few dollars by itself) you could save yourself a lot of money.
The small cost of outlay is worth it. And, who knows, when you get good, maybe you can start to sell a few and make a bit of profit as well.
Reading about how to make sinkers is ok, but for those that would like a little visual, check this video out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXHTj5hylSA
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading my post on ‘How To Make Sinkers’. This is something I have been doing for many years, so if you do have any further questions, comments, or just want to talk fishing, please leave me a message in the comment section below. I always endeavor to get back to you as soon as possible. As Always
Tony, Creator of Get Reel Fishin