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Thread: Scored a 600lb fiberglass covered lead boat keel...

  1. #1

    Cool Scored a 600lb fiberglass covered lead boat keel...

    ...for $100. How to crack it open is the next question. Has anyone done it before and have any secrets to share? I'd like to be able to get the fiberglass off somehow and be able to chop up the lead and drop it directly into my bottom pour pot.





    I have no idea on what the alloy is, but I'm excited to have a bit more lead in the stash. It was a huge pain to load into the trailer, even with an engine hoist. 600lb is no joke.

  2. #2
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Nice find, not to be a nay-sayer, sometimes boat keels are made out of "mystery alloy" never know what you got until you test it.

    Id never put anything in my bottom pour without smelting it first fluxing it at least 4 times.

    I'd cut it into smeltable size pieces with a chainsaw then use a big hammer and chisel to chip off the fiberglass.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    Very good.

    Catch something under an edge, the fiberglass should peel off pretty easily.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.


    OK folks. Enough of this idle chit-chat. This ain't your Grandma's sewing circle.
    EVERYONE !!
    Get back to your oars. The Captain wants to water ski.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Power chisel, sawzall, cut off wheel or just throw it in a fire.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    First, peel the fiberglass off. Next melt the lead with a melting pot or weed burner. Get a sample tested. Build your alloy from there.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg S View Post
    Power chisel, sawzall, cut off wheel or just throw it in a fire.
    Chain saw works. Using an old chain, of course. Put a tarp up behind you to collect the lead chips.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    4 inch grinder and cut off wheel

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub
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    I have recycled a few keels like that. If you cut the fiberglass it should peel off the lead with a little help. There are a lot of ways to cut the fiberglass but my favorite is a 4" grinder with a diamond abrasive blade. Cuts fast with least amount of dust. I cut the lead with a chainsaw to fit my pot (~300 lbs). Then use an engine hoist to load the pot.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Whatever it is, it's probably good enough for .38 special or..45 acp

  10. #10
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    You could try scoring the fiberglass with a Skil saw, carbide demolition blade set just deep enough to get through the glass. Cut multiple places I would suspect it will peel off pretty easily.

    I've also cut thick slabs of lead with a Skil saw. 2-3" thick. Big tarp on the ground, cardboard "walls" to help contain the lead "sawdust" and lots of personal protection gear on.

    If you make cuts from both sides then whack it with a sledgehammer, it may fracture between the saw cuts for you.

    All else fails, get a bigger hammer!

  11. #11
    Thank you all for your replies! I've always had pretty good luck casting with whatever alloy I happen to stumble across without ever testing, so this should probably be no different. I'll see if I can get the fiberglass off that tiny piece first. I may just sawzall the whole thing up into manageable chunks, fiberglass and all and then try to split the fiberglass from the lead.

  12. #12
    I skinned one then cut it with a chain saw, it is a great alloy all by itself at around 12 bhn, an air chisel helps with the skinning

    Bill

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Get a c-canal make a fire and let the lead flow. We are going to make one for range lead. 7' long. Fire about 2' from end and then place lead on it and have a place made for it to flow. Smaller fire or coals down to where the pot or ingots are going to be. Last time spent way too time cleaning, watching and looking this way I can get hot, dump and walk away.

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    Nice find, and good luck with the peel.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Peel and heat

    Just like shrimp but with an "h".

    I would cast some bullets and see how the stuff melts/casts before getting it tested.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Don't use a grinder cut off wheel, just like a grinding wheel, soft metal will clog the disc and it'll get hot enough to come apart. If you've ever experienced a grinding wheel coming apart at 36,000 RPM you will never forget it, BTDT.

    I've seen a couple keels in boat yards (I was owned by a 30' sailboat for a while) and the ones I saw, upwards of 10,000 lbs and all were enclosed in glass/gel to about 1/2"-3/4" thick, and 6"+ wide/thick. I would attack one of those with a jack hammer or a chain saw. The only requirement for a keel is weight so the alloy of the lead around a steel structure, could be just about anything and depending on the boat builder, even scrap iron and other junk in with the lead...

    And yep, it should be cleaned like any scrap lead and not in the casting pot...
    Last edited by mdi; 06-01-2020 at 01:08 PM.
    My Anchor is holding fast!

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    Good find. I just hope it's not contaminated with zinc.
    NRA Benefactor.

  18. #18
    The boat was about 40+ years old, so I doubt there'd be zinc from making the keel from WW, at least.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teddy (punchie) View Post
    Get a c-canal make a fire and let the lead flow. We are going to make one for range lead. 7' long. Fire about 2' from end and then place lead on it and have a place made for it to flow. Smaller fire or coals down to where the pot or ingots are going to be. Last time spent way too time cleaning, watching and looking this way I can get hot, dump and walk away.
    Using a length of steel c channel over a wood fire is a great idea, at least for range scrap anyway.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Chain saw only. Other saws will clog up and you will spend more time cleaning the cutting wheels out that cutting! And a a SawzAll will loosen your fillings and your joints.....horrible things for cutting Pb.

    Cut hunks small enough to fit in your re-melting pot. The Pb will melt easily out of the fiberglass if you cannot get all of it pealed off.

    Have fun working that big monster down!

    banger

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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