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Thread: Ship keel lead

  1. #1

    Ship keel lead

    I have a very large hunk of lead that is out of the bottom of a ship estimating that it is around 1150-1300 lbs.

    Is there any rule of thumb on the hardness of lead like this?

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Markopolo's Avatar
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    I have seen several of these.. no 2 we’re alike, but they were all fairly soft.
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Ackley - we would be guessing due to unknown Bhn hardness ... Whack a chunk off and have it analyzed then let us know the results So the answer is No Help
    Regards
    John

  4. #4

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Can vary depending whether it was cast in a foundry or by a home builder that scrounged lead wherever he could find it. Even from a foundry, it could vary quite a bit depending on what the customer asked for. The only real requirement for most keels is that they be heavy, hardness, castability, etc. does not affect its usefulness.
    Spell check doesn't work in Chrome, so if something is spelled wrong, it's just a typo that I missed.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Like the others have said, it could be just about anything. There is not a standard that has to be followed so they are usually cast from whatever is available.

    I would suggest converting it into batches as large as you can handle and have a few of them tested. It may not be consistent from end to end or top to bottom.

    Big scores = big work but they can also build up your stash pretty quick.

  7. #7
    Boolit Mold
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    I'm curious when you say it's " out of the bottom of a ship ". What kind of ship are we talking about. If it's a sailing vessel then I suspect it's a ballast keel which is often hung by keel bolts and is pretty soft but almost always a controlled alloy. If on the other hand it's a freighter or commercial fish it could be internal trim ballast lead and that is usually smaller pigs or chunks that have to be moved and secured where they are needed to trim or stabilize the vessel. This stuff can be anything. Pictures ?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    They can be foundry lead, wheelweights or ?. I'd scrape the surface and try some muriatic acid to ensure it doesn't have a bunch of zinc. It should melt at 550-630degF. I hope it's the good stuff. Good Luck

  9. #9
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    If it is a commercial keel, My guess is pure lead-- more "bang for their buck" pure lead weighs more than alloy and takes up less space

  10. #10
    Here are the pictures, the chuck was transported by a flat bed car hauler.

    I tried the pencil trick on the suface, it is oxidized, pencil just wrote on the surface.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    Any lead is good lead regardless how hard it is, it will be usable for something, Looks like the hard bit for you is melting it down into usable ingots !

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Get a sawzall and wack a small chunk off a corner.. then try the pencil or other test on the edge you just cut.
    Any technology not understood, can seem like Magic!!!

    I will love the Lord with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

  13. #13
    Thanks Mark! I was told some conflicting information, one that it was from ballast from a ship, another was that it was weights from a milling machine.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    These photos don't resemble anything I've ever seen in the marine business. I've spent most of my life working, building and surveying ships and yachts. The shape and orientation of the bolt and holes doesn't figure as ballast keel and I've never seen interior trim ballast bolted in such a fashion. I'm curious about the radius area but the bolt and holes are all wrong

    BTW all sailboat keels I've ever worked with are a minimum of 2% antimony

    Rick

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    Looks more like a counterweight for a fork lift to me. Good score, no matter what it came from.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I have seen sailboat keels (and dagger boards) off the boats. The only requirement for lead boat keel is it must be heavy. I saw one off a boat built in Taiwan that had scrap iron embedded in the keel probably tossed in when pouring...
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master dbosman's Avatar
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    With permission of the owner, drill a batch of samples, melt the shavings into a sample and have that analyzed by a scrap dealer with an XRF "gun".

  18. #18
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    I have seen sailboat keels (and dagger boards) off the boats. The only requirement for lead boat keel is it must be heavy. I saw one off a boat built in Taiwan that had scrap iron embedded in the keel probably tossed in when pouring...
    I must disagree with your assessment. Understand that Taiwanese ballast keels are mostly envelope pours full of any metal to make weight. The entire pour is incremental and dumped into a fiberglass keel shell. It's not done like this here or in Europe. Lead alloys for sailboat keels are pretty closely watched with just enough antimony to control shrinkage. Try looking up the Marskeel company
    (marskeel.com) for example just to see what is involved.

  19. #19
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ackleyman View Post
    Here are the pictures, the chuck was transported by a flatbed car hauler.

    I tried the pencil trick on the surface, it is oxidized, the pencil just wrote on the surface.
    When I use pencils to test old /dirty lead, I scrape the surface with a 1/2" chisel until I have a smooth clean area to test.

  20. #20
    Thanks Condor, I will try that!

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