Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: S Ontario rivers plus various lakes for warm water species.
There is no lead in a lead finish, as it is carbon which is not toxic per se. Similarly, there is no actual lead in pencils. They are made of an admixture of carbon and clay, the more clay the harder the pencil.
The first carbon was discovered in ancient times in Cumberland , northern England. An 'ancient' finds a black lump in the ground when a tree blows over and not knowing what it is, rubs it on a nearby rock and it leaves a mark similar to actual lead, so it it generically referred to as 'lead' even to this day. The Cumberland pencil company thrived making pencils in the area although the local carbon was depleted some time ago. I think that they obtain their carbon from India, if memory serves.
Carbon, or Plumbago, as it was more usually called, comes halfway along the element scale between diamonds and coal. Its interesting stuff, as it can withstand very high temperatures and easy to work, they used it to make the molds for cannon balls. Carbon is used all over the place these days, including lubricating computer hard drives.
Mixed in a paste it was used to black the Victorian kitchen ranges, again due to the heat involved. One of the brands was Zebra Paste, and it is thought that Hardys used that to 'lead' their reels due to empty wooden trade boxes evident in the photos taken in the reel shop in the early 1900's.
There is a modern incarnation of Zebra paste which (I hear) is useless for reels.
A good modern lead finish remains one of the 'holy grails' in reel making circles, it cannot be achieved using the old methods as reels now (such as Waynes) are not cast then machined, they are made from modern high grade billets, very different to the porous cast 'pot' metal of old.
It looks like Wayne has done a fine job on the reel posted, and hear that he may be working more with lead finishes on some of his reels in the future.
Last edited by MHC; 10-25-2017 at 08:09 AM.