View Full Version : Recipe Red Lead Primer

Duncan S
03-19-2012, 05:01 PM
Searching this Forum a recipe doesn’t quickly come up so for future reference I thought I would put my findings under a clear title
A few variations here but a bit of experimentation would sort this out.
Anybody got more recipes please add to the list.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
To make one gallon
Dry Red Lead 20lb
Raw Linseed oil 5 pints
Turpentine 1/2 pint
Liquid Drier 1/2 pint

Bob Smalser
4-6lbs powder in 50-50 BLO-turps plus a quarter to a half cup of Japan Drier. (BLO = Boiled linseed oil)

Ricardo de oliveira
As Bob but with 10lb powder

Joshua 111 / Stephane (Got any quantities to add Stephane?)
Boiled Linseed oil
-Japan drier (Make the paint dry faster.)
-Red lead powder
-Turpentine (To dilute the oil)
-Cabosil or talc (To make the paint thicker, I prefer the cabosil same stuff to thicken epoxy).

03-19-2012, 06:36 PM
(Got any quantities to add Stephane?)

Oufff not really, I use the same big mason jar since years...
For my Jar(Which is about a pint) I use:
About 65% of Boiled linseed oil, 35% of turpentine
5 cap of japan drier
1 big cup of Red Lead
1 or 2 cup of Cabosil (Until I found the consistency I like)

03-21-2012, 10:23 AM
Where are folks getting the red lead powder?

And if it's this easy, how is Kirby's getting $250+ per gallon? Just curious

03-21-2012, 10:34 AM
$292 with shipping to Maine.

Sandusky Paints has it for a little less - $225 + shipping.

03-21-2012, 10:36 AM
Here is Dave Fleming's:

Might be the same as PMJ, I see his name on that thread, too.

Bob Smalser
03-21-2012, 12:57 PM
Red Lead Primer

50-50 Boiled Linseed Oil-Turpentine
1 cup Japan Drier
3lbs Lead Tetraoxide Powder

Lead Tetraoxide costs around 6 dollars a pound at vendors of fireworks components:

Idaho: http://www.firefox-fx.com/

Virginia: http://www.skylighter.com


Because of skyrocketing lead prices…red lead powder now runs $50-60/lb instead of $4-6…after an evolution of making my own red lead, I’ve switched to Tukwila, Washington’s Far West Paints who make a “red lead substitute” using lead chromate. The stuff is yellow instead of red, but I’ve used it before on metal surfaces where it’s considered an excellent primer, and am confident it will work just as well on wood. It dries faster that my home-brewed red lead…within hours…and it causes the alkyd top coat dry much faster that it would without the primer. Costs around 40 dollars a gallon.

03-21-2012, 06:19 PM
I buy mine in Montreal:

03-21-2012, 11:38 PM
What! no instructions as how to mix it? First, pour half of the solvent into a can/jar, then all the pigment, leave for a few days for pigment to wet. Scoup out a portion, whatever you think you can handle, and add oil,little at a time, working the pile with a spatula on a sheet of glass, until the consistancy of soft putty is acheived, repeat until all is same. Rinse container with a little solvent and return putty mix, stir in solvent and putty, add remaining oil and mix until your arm gets tired. If recipe is accurate, you should get what you are looking for.

Dryers are not necessary with lead pigments, they have a strong siccative effect on oil.

Aluminum stearate is the usual cheap extender for paint. I have no idea where to purchase any.

03-22-2012, 06:43 AM
That's such a complicate way of mixing the whole thing!
I throw everything in a can, close the cap and make the shake it dance.

I never seen difference between a fresh made batch and one of 1 month...And no residue in the bottom when done working with it so I guess everything was use well.

The cabosil help to keep the lead in the oil and it does fall always in the bottom in a matter of minutes.

03-22-2012, 07:56 AM
I'll second Ethan's question of where to get red lead powder?


Bob Smalser
03-22-2012, 08:05 AM
I'll second Ethan's question of where to get red lead powder?



03-22-2012, 08:15 AM

Bob Smalser
03-22-2012, 08:34 AM
And now that lead tetraoxide runs $50-60 a pound, to roughly figure out how many pounds Kirby and Sandusky use, take their current price, subtract 30 bucks for the can and other components, and divide the remainder by $50.

03-22-2012, 11:35 AM
I just ordered soem from the firefox website that Bob cites. $13 per pound. In fact, I just got off the phone with them. My order got sidetracked because they require a drivers license copy and a signed release form and didn't realize I had already sent it.

There is a big difference in pounds between Bob's recipe and Peters. I was planning on 3 pounds per gallon. 20 pounds seems like a whole lot. At 3 pounds, my cost for a gallon will be about $80

Bob Smalser
03-22-2012, 06:53 PM
Here's what a 3lb mix looks like. It's plenty.


08-29-2017, 08:25 AM
I'll be needing some more so I dug this thread up to remind myself of the recipe.

Best price I have found on lead tetraoxide is firefox-fx.com

08-29-2017, 03:08 PM
Oh the good old days.