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Thread: Print Shop Closing Doors

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Print Shop Closing Doors

    I have an opportunity to pick up some scrap lead from a print shop that is closing their doors. Since I am pretty new to this, I have a couple of questions.

    1. What is the likely composition “lead spacing”? I am guessing pure lead.

    2. They have several buckets of scrap. I am guessing it may be a mix of lead and linotype.

    I am going to try and make a deal on “all I can carry”. Any idea on $/lb, I will have to smelt it all. I am thinking anything less than a $1 per pound might not be to bad.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Not pure

    Print shop lead (Linotype, monotype, foundry) is going for $3 + per pound on this forum and all of it is excellent for alloying.
    I'd grab all you can get it for under $2 a pound

    they should also have bars (apr 20 lbs) called pigs

    I found 1,200 pounds of printers lead (mostly small and large letters, some softer spacers @ my local scrap yard for 80˘ a pound Naturally I bought it ALLLLLLLLL

    BNE XRF'd it @
    Description........Tin %...... Antimony %.....Copper % ..... Lead %
    Monotype........9.40%........17.20%............... 1%...................72.4%
    Last edited by Grmps; 03-18-2018 at 03:40 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I'd get it all, in several trips if needed.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Do NOT get all you can carry, get all you can AFFORD! Keep in mind you can sell the excess here for a profit with out even melting it down, buy for about $1:00 per LB and sell for 2 or 2.50 but keep in mind when it's gone IT'S GONE! Let them toss out the price they want, most likely the only people interested in are scrap dealers and they look at as lead.
    It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master


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    I have a truck!!!
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master maxreloader's Avatar
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    The spacers are not pure lead, they are usually 12-15 bhn and the lino is anywhere from 15-19 or so. The mono is 20-22 bhn. If there are lino pigs grab those first, they are usually around 19. The "scrap" will be good too. Get all you can get while the getting is good. With lino I usually do the "snap test" If the lino or spacers bend easily without snapping then there is more lead. Good lino snaps before it bends. Good lino is hard and not soft.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    That could be the haul of a lifetime! Or a bust! The spacers can vary from linotype to almost anything. A quick search can tell you the base alloy of the other different kinds of type. Whatever it is, it could be useable to a caster.

    Price wise? Personally I would let them price it. Then you can either buy it or make a counter offer. I would try for what the scrap yards pay plus a little. Type metal seems to sell in the Swapping and Selling section for between $2 and $3 a pound but scrap places are going to buy it at scrap prices.

    Good Luck with this! We like pictures so please post some if this works out for you!

    Those buckets of scrap are probably a mix of Lino, Foundry and Mono type. They can be sorted but I probably would melt them all together and have a sample analyzed. Then you can blend this with some soft lead to make whatever alloy you want to cast with.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    DO NOT (!!!!) re-melt any of it and cast in to ingots!!!!!!! The proof of what it is will be in it's original from! If re-cast into ingots by you, there is no way of proving to anyone what you melted down.

    Just sell it in it's native form for the going rates.

    banger

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by bangerjim View Post
    DO NOT (!!!!) re-melt any of it and cast in to ingots!!!!!!! The proof of what it is will be in it's original from! If re-cast into ingots by you, there is no way of proving to anyone what you melted down.

    Just sell it in it's native form for the going rates.

    banger

    This is true if you plan to sell. But if I were planning to cast with it I would want it to be in some consistent form. And I'm not going to sort several buckets of type!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, all you can afford. Those deals come along once in a lifetime anymore. The spacers will be softer than the type but not pure, not by a lot. I have several boxes of printing scrap, the spacers are still shiny after years sitting, so there is quite a bit of tin in there.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Anything less than $1 per pound is a no-brainer, Buy it all. Anything $1 to $1.50 is probably still a great deal. At $2 or more I'd try and negotiate down.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Buy it all and don't smelt any of it down. Keep it in its original form in case you end up reselling any.

    Ask them for a price and go down from there. More than likely they won't get more than scrap lead prices for it anywhere else.
    Ronald Reagan once said that the most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".
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  13. #13
    Boolit Bub
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    I was finally able to get over there today and made a deal. I got what was left. They had already sold off some of what they had. I ended up with around 1200#s by my best approximations. It is a mix of mostly linotype and lead spacing. There is a smattering of monotype as well. They had about 24 tubes of Vitaflux that I got them to throw in as well. Less than 50 cents/lb.

    I told my wife I felt like Mr. Haney from Green Acres on the ride home.

    I’ll try to post up some pictures tomorrow or Saturday.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I have worked in printing for 35 Years . mostly all print shop have lino in pigs to auto Feed into the lino machine. the scraps are called slugs and all are Lino waiting to be Remelted into Pigs
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master Rooster's Avatar
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    Pics, oh yes, pix!!
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master tigweldit's Avatar
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    What a bunch of great advice. I hope you can get as much as you can. Good luck and keep us posted on your results. Us old farts love good lead gossip.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Ask them if they are selling the smelters too.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    WOW! My WWII vet grandpa worked in one of the big Chicago area print shops and he retired maybe 25-30 years ago. Most of the discussions we had about it were a long time before he passed and quite a spell before I got into casting, but even then lead type was something they "used to do". I kinda figured that print shop lead was one of those things like phone books and Thomas Guide maps, and I'd guess the shop you scored it from just had it sitting around for a couple decades.

    Take a couple minutes to reflect on how lucky you are.
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Congratulations on your score. A couple years aga I picked up a some from print shop that closed and needed to liquidate all thier holdings. A coworker was friends with the owner and asked if there was any Lino from the old days for me. At first they said that it was long gone then a few weeks later they called because they was cleaning out an outbuilding and came across some. Well 950 lbs later I was a happy camper.
    Sometimes it takes a second box of boolits to clear my head.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by dondiego View Post
    Ask them if they are selling the smelters too.
    Thats a good idea! I was thinking the same thing.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
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