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Thread: Lead Downpipes - what alloy?

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Lead Downpipes - what alloy?

    These would be the four inch pipes. The alloy is quite hard and strong but doesn't actually cast very well (not too bad mind you) but is a little hard to my liking. I'm wanting to ad some pewter for fill out and possibly some pure lead to soften it a bit. But before I start I would like some idea of what's in it.
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    American lead pipe is typically nearly pure lead. 1) You are not in America. 2) You already said it is hard. As a person who recently had some lead samples analyzed, I can share my experience and advice. My first course of action would be to call around to junk yards. Find one that has an XrF gun that will shoot a sample and let you know what is in it. If that is impossible, BNE, a member here, analyzed some samples for me. As payment, he charges 1# of boolit casting alloy; from me, clip on wheel weight. I don't know the feasibility of shipping 1# of lead alloy from New Zealand to the US. Perhaps you and he can make other arrangements. As far as a sample, he wanted from me "... a BB size sample...". A quantity that small should be much simpler and cheaper to ship halfway around the world than a 1# ingot. Contact him if you can't find an XrF locally. He got back to in a couple of days me on initial contact.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Toymaker's Avatar
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    Don't know about New Zealand lead working but I'll wager it's not far off from English lead working. For gutters, pipe, hoppers, etc. they do sand casting or shape items to wood molds. Very often things would be wiped with tin to make them shine. The tin also adds to the structural strength. Sheet lead, both sides, would be wiped with tin then bent around a wood form and soldered. It could be bent slightly and a bobbit passed through to maintain the diameter and round (or square)shape. I've read about a galvanizing process using zinc because of the expense of tin.

    When the Octagon House in Washington, DC was restored they brought in English lead workers and English lead for the roofing, gutters and pipe. It was fun, and educational, talking with them. I also got the scrap, trimmings and cut offs. That was 10 trips with a very heavily loaded pickup truck.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    waste water pipes. probably some zinc &/or antimony. pure lead cold flows so they add the hardener. Look at Bell telecom sheathing, close to the same. Or roof plumbing jacks. That stuff shoots like COWW.
    Whatever!

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master 303Guy's Avatar
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    Thanks all. I was thinking it seems like clip on wheel weights. I don't have a hardness tester unfortunately. This stuff is dull under the paint but remains shiny longer than plain lead but does dull to a lead appearance just like wheel weights.

    It does form a porridgy layer that I skim off so maybe there is some zinc in it, although it doesn't form straight away. It could also be alloy coated dross.

    I'll check the scrap metal dealers for an XrF gun. Thanks for the tip. If only a BB size sample is required then maybe posting would be worth it.
    Rest In Peace My Son (01/06/1986 - 14/01/2014)

    ''Assume everything that moves is a human before identifying as otherwise''

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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
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check