Many UK anglers make their own sinkers. Buying a mould that you can turn out thousands of sinkers from is a cheaper alternative than buying ready made sinkers. A dozen shop bought sinkers would cost as much as much as a mould -so it is economic sense to make your own. EXTREME caution is needed when making sinkers – you are working with molten lead.
I use a cast iron pan to melt the lead, which I get from scrap yards etc. I also use a small, strong ladel to pour the lead into the mould. You also require a pair of gloves capable of withstanding extreme heat as you will handle the mould once it is filled and being aluminium they get very hot. A pair of safety goggles is essential as is plenty of fresh air – dont work in a confined space.
The biggest danger with melting lead is water – they do not mix and are very explosive. Use extreme care if you melt down lead piping – NEVER melt down piping that is sealed at one or both ends, water can lie inside of the pipe and disaster occurs once that water can escape into the molten lead.
When I make sinkers (around 40 an hour – 3 moulds) I always heat both half of the moulds over the gas flames for a short while prior to pouring first sinker. If you pour lead into a cold mould you will not get a complete cast. I use a mould clamp to hold halves together and mount it on a workbench.
OK – the lead is melted, I have heated my mould and safety precautions are in place.
I place either a sinker tail or loop into the mould, close the mould and place it in the clamp. The tails can be bought as short or long versions as below
I often use loops I make from 18 guage (or heavier) stainless steel wire instead of tails. It is impotrant that the ends of the loop are bend over to prevent the loop coming out of the sinker when casting
If you are making a gripaway type sinker then before pouring the lead insert the two L shaped wires through the pre drilled holes in the mould. These will leave the holes in the sinker that the grip wires go through
Now take a ladel full of moulten lead and pour it into the mould smoothly and quickly. Leave it to cool a few moments then split the mould open and put the cast sinker to one side to cool COMPLETELY
Grip Wires in place
I use 16 guage stainless steel wire cut to around 6 inches. Simply push them through the pre formed holes in the sinker so that they are equal. Then bend at right angles as shown below.
Wires bent to 90 degrees
The wires rotate easily and need to be rotated through 180 degrees so that you have the wires pointing up (towards loop at top).
Gripaway moulds have 4 preformed slots in them so that the grip effect can be achieved Place a bead on each of the 4 wires (I often use the sheathing from electrical cable (make sure it is a snug fit over wire) rather than beads and it does just as good Finally bend the wires as shown.
Gripaways work as below
They act as an anchor on sea bed until pressure is applied that is gretter than there grip. When that occurs the beads snap out of the preformed grooves and the wires rotate through 180 degrees to allow easy retrieve.
Need more grip? – With the Gemini interchangeable sinker system simply fit a stronger, longer grip head With DCA type lead try this tip below. Loop a rubber band to one wire and wrap around sinker as many times as needed to increase gripping power.
Grip Leads For Sale