A friend offer me part of a sailboat's lead ballast. It has a strange
shape. He told me it's about 500 lbs. It's soft enough to scratch with
my fingernail. I'm wondering how I can cut it into manageable pieces.
OK, don't laugh but my first thought is a chain saw. Any better ideas?
Then I have to figure out how to get enough Tin and Antimony to make
the lead hard enough to use.
You've probably already surmised that an ordinary saw won't work.
Depending upon the dimensions, a pair of "jaws of life" shears may be the
way to go. I published a booklet once that included how to make lead
balls for ball milling media, and the best way to cut the 3/4" rods of
lead turned out to be lever-action lopping shears.
A chain saw might work, but make sure it's got a safety-cut style of
chain that limits the depth of cut per tooth, and POUR cutting oil all
over the work -- otherwise, as you probably know, lead will gall on and
smear over almost any other metal.
On Fri, 21 Oct 2011 06:06:57 -0500, "Lloyd E. Sponenburgh"
A chain saw does work, and kerosene makes a good lube. It might be
worth filing a tiny flat on the leading edge of the teeth, like
dubbing a drill for brass, to minimize self-feeding.
I've also cut a chunk off a keel with a bow saw, but wouldn't if I had
a chain saw available.
I do NOT recommend a cold chisel. I grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and
my dad was a reloader. He got some lead shielding bricks (no, they were
not radioactive) at the lab's surplus yard. They were about the size of
normal house bricks, and were too big to go into his lead pot in one piece,
so he paid my brothers & me a nickel an hour to cut them up with a cold
chisel. Unless you are both very strong and have a lot of time on your
hands, (or have some young boys who will work cheap), cutting up a 500
pound keel weight that way is gonna be a problem.
Splitting wedges & a maul might do it. Lot's of ventilation & a cutting
torch would be faster.
A regular handsaw or axe might work better/create less mess. Remember
that you'll have to clean up after it, too, so put down a tarp.
You could use a blowtorch and hold your flintlock bullet casting dies
under it while you work. <wink>
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Big hot fire, suspend lead on a pipe frame, catchpan, sluices to a
molds (or just holes in the ground).
Or a big sluice into a big vat of water, just make little lead chunks.
Could use a pavement-slicing tip on the end of a jackhammer.
Drill the living heck out of it until you can pry/drag/carve slices
Take it down to Reserve Trading on W 140th St, they specialize in lead
for the reloading industry. That's where we sell reclaimed bullets from
the range. Trade it for some of their hard cast. They make it for Lyman
I am currently reclaiming the lead from our outdoor range at Beaver
Creek Sportsman's Club, near Oberlin, to meet the EPA's best management
practices for outdoor ranges. We expect to get well in excess of 10,000
I had to design and build the machinery that takes in tough clumps of
clay and processes it and separates it into fine dirt to put back on the
berm, and the bullets. Plus lots of gravel, unfortunately.
That's the hardest part, separating the bullets from gravel and small
lumps of clay, everything is the same size and can't be sorted by
screening. So it's into a gold mining sluice for the final stage.
We have three stages of machinery, 30 horsepower total, plus 3 electric
conveyor belts to link everything. The front end loader drops everything
onto the feed conveyor, and I turn around and ten feet away, it's
raining bullets into our cart. The cleaned dirt travels up a farm
conveyor (grain elevator) and back on the berm. It's amazing.
I also have a another process to separate bullets from shredded rubber
from indoor ranges. Still perfecting that one. It's coming along well, I
just have to make it more continous, right now it is a small batch at a
time. I just picked up a small conveyor belt from HGR, it's all aluminum
and plastic so it won't rust (this is a wet separation process).
I guess the bullets and gravel should be funneled on
to a narrow conveyor to limit the size of the
electromagnet needed to induce the current.
Perhaps an air curtain of some sort to cause the
levitated bullets to divert?
Anyway it sounds like a really fun project!
We just refurbished our range in North Olmsted. It is ground rubber and
we found a company to take the material and return the rubber. They
said there was about 10k of metal in the rubber. We use conveyer belts
for the front, 10 feet of rubber then a steel wall.
Can the copper be salvaged/separated cleanly from the lead, or is it
tainted? (Maybe 'Arry will know this if you don't.)
In any case, I can see how processing it would be worth it to the
...in order that a man may be happy, it is
necessary that he should not only be capable
of his work, but a good judge of his work.
-- John Ruskin
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