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Thread: Cutting lead

  1. #21
    Boolit Master

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    I once came up with a counterweight, a bit over 100 pounds, in a rectangular chunk.

    I used a reciprocating saw (Sawzall) with a pruning blade - a very coarse-toothed blade. I used wax on the blade to lube it, and later used 30 weight oil.

    It went very well. I cut the chunk into pieces in just a few minutes.
    "Varium et mutabile semper femina." - Virgil
    Man, ain't it the truth....

  2. #22
    Boolit Mold
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    I've cut up tons and tons of lead sailboat ballast keels over the years. I worked for several marine salvage companies and we always used chainsaws and turpentine poured into the cut lightly. I never understood the turps but that was the technique and it works fast. I would advise cleaning off all bottom or antifoulant paint before burning as it's pretty toxic. For me grinding off copper bottom paint would not be a welcome task.

    I might also mention that zinc alloyed into lead in saltwater would essentially create a instant galvanic cell ( think battery ) and the zinc would leach out very quickly. This would leave a very weak keel. So I've never seen or heard of zinc in lead ballast keels. Fact is the only thing they typically add to the mix is antimony to control shrinkage.

    Rick

  3. #23
    Boolit Master


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    I have done a few smaller keels like that. No matter how you decide to cut it up, you really should invest in a turkey fryer and a large stainless steel cooking pot with thicker sides. Cutting takes so much time and the less you do the better, and a larger pot cuts down on cutting.

  4. #24
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Many ways to cut the lead, lead does cut easily but needs a lube to not load the cutter on saws. Loading the teeth with wax works but does take more applications, a garden sprayer with kerosene, light oil or even balistool mixed light even water will work also and can be set up to drip on the blade as it cuts. I cut up some big chunks with a circular saw and carbide fine toothed blade. Made cuts to depth with saw every 2-3" then removed the chucks with hammer and chisel. A hand saw will do in a pinch. a reciprocating saw does good also. Put a tarp down under it to catch the chips from the saw also. On a big chunk the will be several pounds of saw chips when done. wide wood chisel driven by a 3lb hammer will cut chunks out pretty quickly but cutting the whole chunk up may take some time. The method you use depends on how big the chunk is and time your willing to invest in it.

  5. #25
    Moderator



    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Sounds like it's time to buy a cheap small chain saw, maybe an electric one? and a chain with small teeth. A lube like Turpentine or kerosene sounds like an excellent idea too.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun.”
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  6. #26
    Boolit Grand Master

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    You can cut it up by using several methods. A chainsaw, log splitter, sawzall with a corse blade, maybe even an ax. I have the facilities to pick it up with a hoist in my shop, lower it into my smelting pot and play a weed burner over it. My pot would hold 75-80% of it. Testing it for zinc is a good idea.

  7. #27
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    44
    Quote Originally Posted by garbler View Post
    I've cut up tons and tons of lead sailboat ballast keels over the years. I worked for several marine salvage companies and we always used chainsaws and turpentine poured into the cut lightly. I never understood the turps but that was the technique and it works fast. I would advise cleaning off all bottom or antifoulant paint before burning as it's pretty toxic. For me grinding off copper bottom paint would not be a welcome task.

    I might also mention that zinc alloyed into lead in saltwater would essentially create a instant galvanic cell ( think battery ) and the zinc would leach out very quickly. This would leave a very weak keel. So I've never seen or heard of zinc in lead ballast keels. Fact is the only thing they typically add to the mix is antimony to control shrinkage.

    Rick
    Rick,

    Great info from someone knows. Got stuck at work tonight so I wasn't able to go pick it up. Still going to bring a little acid just to make sure.

  8. #28
    Boolit Grand Master
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    3,000 degree torch. Why didn't I think of that?
    Correction ... 580,000 BTU
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  9. #29
    Boolit Buddy Rooster's Avatar
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    Please post a pic for us vicarious dwellers.
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  10. #30
    Boolit Master



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  11. #31
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    44
    Picked up the lead keel today. Actually, it was much to heavy to lift. Fortunately, I have some skills in moving around large heavy objects. Give me a lever an I'll move the world right? Anyhow, got it home a got to work with the sawzall. A bit harder to cut than I thought. Anyhow, got some chunks into the smelter and casted a few bullets to test. Soft stuff. About 5 bhn. Going to try some of the other suggested methods here to render the piece into usable chunks. Oh, another problem I encountered... This piece is actually two halves that have been epoxied together. The epoxy is actually pretty brittle and falls apart under a hammer and cold chisel. Still, I got a little chunk in the smelter. Gave off some real nasty smoke. Good thing I have an exhaust fan installed over my smelter. Thank God for respirators too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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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