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Thread: Testing hardness with pencils

  1. #61
    Moderator Emeritus/Boolit Master in Heavens Range
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbike View Post
    Here`s what I have found, if I air cool WW, I can cut it with my #2 pencil.Good for nonmag handguns, and probability a little faster.If I water drop WW, #2 pencil won`t cut it. Good for mag. handguns. About the same as thumbnail trick. What do you guys think? Am I in the ball park here?
    FWIW, I think that a #2 pencil is comparable to an HB pencil. The trouble with using only a single pencil is that it won't tell you how hard the alloy is. It will only tell you if it's less or more than a single point. If a #2 cuts it, is the hardness B, or 2B or 6B? If you don't know what the actual hardness is, you can't reproduce it.
    Regards,

    Molly

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  2. #62
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    yes sir i understand. right now i dont have 2 penciles, so I used 2 lead hardness. Just trying understand the whole hardness selection thing. Am I in the ball park?

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbike View Post
    yes sir i understand. right now i dont have 2 penciles, so I used 2 lead hardness. Just trying understand the whole hardness selection thing. Am I in the ball park?
    Well, blackbike, that's hard to say. You havent given much detail about how you are testing even with just one pencil. BTW, a complete set of art pencils is only something like ten bucks. Get a set from WalMart and learn how to use them. There was a pretty detailed description of the logic behind the pencil hardness test earlier in the thread, and the actual method of testing was described in considerable detail too. Have you read these?
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  4. #64
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    Yes sir .Iread all of it. So you think I can`t reproudce acww or wdww? Ibeg to differ.
    Last edited by blackbike; 09-07-2011 at 06:08 AM.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackbike View Post
    Yes sir .Iread all of it. So you think I can`t reproudce acww or wdww? Ibeg to differ.
    Well Blackbike,

    If you read everything, then you should know whether or not you are doing it right. And you may have taken offense where none was intended: I have no idea what "acww or wdww" stands for, and I certainly didn't say you couldn't reproduce them, whatever they are.
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  6. #66
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    No sir, no offense taken.acww=air cooled wheel weights. wdww= water droped wheel weights.In the last sentence on post #61 you said;If you don`t know what the actual hardness is you cain`t reproduce it. thanks for your help.

  7. #67
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    blackbike: You are on the right track. Softer than a #2 (HB) pencil but not much softer than that is great for nonmagnum applications. Harder than HB is good for Magnums. Anything faster (like rifle) you need a harder pencil. This is a good quick rule of thumb.
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  8. #68
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    Thank you evan price. I think this pencil hardnes test is a good indicater and a good investment. this will be very helpfull. Easy too. I`ll get a set. Thanks again. blackbike

  9. #69
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    Pencil to BNH chart

    Is there a chart that shows Brinell to pencil number between 6 BNH and 24 BNH?
    BOB
    22LR, 9MM, 45 ACP, 45 LC, 45-70, 6MM BR, 30BR, 222, 204, 22-250, 7-30 WATERS, 12GA, 36 & 44 BP

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpratl View Post
    Is there a chart that shows Brinell to pencil number between 6 BNH and 24 BNH?
    There was a rough chart posted earlier.
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  11. #71
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    interesting technique, please keep posted if the results arise from anyone you know of the Pb hardness is answered in regards to the other alloy hardnesses and their graphite equals.

  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob W. Connelly View Post
    interesting technique, please keep posted if the results arise from anyone you know of the Pb hardness is answered in regards to the other alloy hardnesses and their graphite equals.
    Waddesay???
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  13. #73
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    I'm new to this forum & casting but would like to thank everyone for providing such a valuble resource.

    I'm putting the information aquired from this thread into my casting notes.
    Here is what I have so far:

    Lead Hardness Testing using the Staedtler scale

    Staedtler Hardness Chart:
    8B Sheet lead
    7B
    6B Lead wire 5 BHN
    5B 40/1 lead / tin
    4B
    3B 1/20 tin/lead 10 BHN
    3B Clip-on WW
    2B Range scrap
    B 20/1 Lead / tin
    B Quenched range scrap
    B Air cooled WW
    B WW+2% tin
    HB Lyman #2 15 Bhn
    F Lyman #2
    F Commercial cast
    H 50/50 Lino /WW
    H Linotype 20 Bhn
    2H Quenched WW
    2H Monotype
    3H
    4H

    Rough BHN to Staedtler Hardness Conversion Chart:
    6B = Pure lead, about 5 BHN
    5B
    4B
    3B = 1in20 tin/lead alloy, age softened, about 10 BHN
    2B
    B
    HB = Lyman no 2 alloy, about 15 BHN
    H = Linotype, supposedly about 22 BHN, but that seems high
    2H
    3H
    4H

    Testing Protocol:
    The correct way of using the pencils is to find the softest pencil that will CUT INTO the surface. You should be able to see a tiny curl or chip of lead that is peeled out of the surface."

    Start by flattening a small section of the alloy surface with a file. The base of a large caliber bullet is sufficient. Peel the wood away from the graphite core of the pencil, which is a thin rod. Then sand the tip of that rod to a 90 degree angle by rubbing it across a sheet of 500 or 600 grit sandpaper while holding it straight up and down. If the pencil skids over the alloy surface, even if it leaves a slight scratch, its still not harder than the lead alloy.

    The hold the pencil at a 45 degree angle with the surface you are testing, and push down along the length of the pencil, as if you are trying to shove a knife point into the surface. If you try to push the pencil across the surface as if you are writing on in, you will get a much 'softer' result, because the edge won't be cutting into the surface, it will just be rubbing across the surface.

    Work your way up to progressively harder pencils, until you get to one where the sharp edge of the pencil "meplat" really digs into the surface, pushing up a curl or mound of alloy in front of it. At that point you stop and consider the hardest pencil that will not dig into the alloy in this manner, to be the "Staedtler" rating of the alloy in question.

    For example, my little store of 1in20 (tin-lead) alloy skids on a 3B but digs in on a 2B, therefore its Staedtler hardness is 3B. Some Hornady swaged lead bullets I have will skid on 4B but dig in on 3B, therefore the Staedtler hardness rating is 4B. I also suggest we stick to the Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencil sets, since the maker claims they conform to ASTM standard D-4236 for consistency. They are cheap and readily available at Office Depot and other stores.


    If any of this information is incorrect or if anyone thinks there should be additional information included, please let me know and I will update this post to reflect it.
    This way any new users can get everything they need in one spot without having to assemble it from several pages of posts.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Phil View Post
    I'm new to this forum & casting but would like to thank everyone for providing such a valuble resource.

    I'm putting the information aquired from this thread into my casting notes.
    Here is what I have so far:

    Lead Hardness Testing using the Staedtler scale

    Staedtler Hardness Chart:
    8B Sheet lead
    7B
    6B Lead wire 5 BHN
    5B 40/1 lead / tin
    4B
    3B 1/20 tin/lead 10 BHN
    3B Clip-on WW
    2B Range scrap
    B 20/1 Lead / tin
    B Quenched range scrap
    B Air cooled WW
    B WW+2% tin
    HB Lyman #2 15 Bhn
    F Lyman #2
    F Commercial cast
    H 50/50 Lino /WW
    H Linotype 20 Bhn
    2H Quenched WW
    2H Monotype
    3H
    4H

    Rough BHN to Staedtler Hardness Conversion Chart:
    6B = Pure lead, about 5 BHN
    5B
    4B
    3B = 1in20 tin/lead alloy, age softened, about 10 BHN
    2B
    B
    HB = Lyman no 2 alloy, about 15 BHN
    H = Linotype, supposedly about 22 BHN, but that seems high
    2H
    3H
    4H

    Testing Protocol:
    The correct way of using the pencils is to find the softest pencil that will CUT INTO the surface. You should be able to see a tiny curl or chip of lead that is peeled out of the surface."

    Start by flattening a small section of the alloy surface with a file. The base of a large caliber bullet is sufficient. Peel the wood away from the graphite core of the pencil, which is a thin rod. Then sand the tip of that rod to a 90 degree angle by rubbing it across a sheet of 500 or 600 grit sandpaper while holding it straight up and down. If the pencil skids over the alloy surface, even if it leaves a slight scratch, its still not harder than the lead alloy.

    The hold the pencil at a 45 degree angle with the surface you are testing, and push down along the length of the pencil, as if you are trying to shove a knife point into the surface. If you try to push the pencil across the surface as if you are writing on in, you will get a much 'softer' result, because the edge won't be cutting into the surface, it will just be rubbing across the surface.

    Work your way up to progressively harder pencils, until you get to one where the sharp edge of the pencil "meplat" really digs into the surface, pushing up a curl or mound of alloy in front of it. At that point you stop and consider the hardest pencil that will not dig into the alloy in this manner, to be the "Staedtler" rating of the alloy in question.

    For example, my little store of 1in20 (tin-lead) alloy skids on a 3B but digs in on a 2B, therefore its Staedtler hardness is 3B. Some Hornady swaged lead bullets I have will skid on 4B but dig in on 3B, therefore the Staedtler hardness rating is 4B. I also suggest we stick to the Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencil sets, since the maker claims they conform to ASTM standard D-4236 for consistency. They are cheap and readily available at Office Depot and other stores.


    If any of this information is incorrect or if anyone thinks there should be additional information included, please let me know and I will update this post to reflect it.
    This way any new users can get everything they need in one spot without having to assemble it from several pages of posts.
    Good summary! I like it enough to suggest we make this thread a sticky, and move the summary to the first or second entry to make it easy to find. Anyone else think so?
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  15. #75
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    I took the dive on a set - I use a bunch of alloys - so called.
    Pretty new and just keep my batches separate.
    Kept them apart by the sound of hitting the floor.
    Gonna try and be a little more professional about this stuff.
    Figure I can make one big batch of alloy with at least a little
    consistency.
    Now the hard part - doin that math type ratio stuff to get all the
    smelt close to the same

    16$ shipped E-bay

  16. #76
    This has been a very interesting read. I've been wondering how hard this ingot is that I have. I've been carting it around for many years thinking I would get started in casting my own boolits.

    Has anyone heard about Pacific Smelting? I have not tried to test the hardness other that trying to scratch it with a screwdriver. It seems fairly hard and I don't think a pencil would make a dent on it but i'll see what hardness pencils I have tomorrow and try it.

    This ingot is about 18 inches long, 1.5 inches thick and I think it weighs about 75 lbs. The brown stuff is sawdust 'cause this is in my woodshop



    Michael

  17. #77
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    Greetings and thanx! I joined up moments ago to thank you all for so much information Till now I had no clue what i've been flinging downrange the past 20 years.
    After reading the first couple posts i ran out and got a Staedtler set and immediately did the test wrong... i read all 4 pages tonite and will re-test my stuff tomorrow

    I did a quick google search for glassparman's ingot... ( i had no idea the Pacific Smelt was *threatened*... have no fear little fishies, our President put you on the Endangered Species list.)

    oops, it's Pacific Smelting... sorry, i got sidetracked...

    let's see, there's a Pacific Smelting Foundation in Torrance CA

    Someone selling a Pacific Smelting and Mining Co. stock certificate Circa 1916.
    (It looks a lot like the Oregon Nut Growers certificates my grandfather got stuck with in 1929.... maybe i can sell them?)

    Could be a very old ingot, have fun with it glassparman

    thanx again Molly and all

  18. #78

    Ingot hardness

    OK, so I cut about a 2" strip off the end of the ingot shown in my post above. I cut it with my Craftsman 12" bandsaw with a coarse blade. It cut fairly easy but I could not go real fast.

    It is nice and shiny on the inside and seems extremely hard. I went out to my shop and got out my old drafting pencils and found a 6H. That is fourth down from the top on the hardest end of pencil grading. It did not scratch the ingot no matter what I did. Using anything metal like a screw driver, gouges it without a problem.

    What is the upper end of hardness that would be considered too hard for casting bullets?

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by glassparman View Post
    OK, so I cut about a 2" strip off the end of the ingot shown in my post above. I cut it with my Craftsman 12" bandsaw with a coarse blade. It cut fairly easy but I could not go real fast.

    It is nice and shiny on the inside and seems extremely hard. I went out to my shop and got out my old drafting pencils and found a 6H. That is fourth down from the top on the hardest end of pencil grading. It did not scratch the ingot no matter what I did. Using anything metal like a screw driver, gouges it without a problem.

    What is the upper end of hardness that would be considered too hard for casting bullets?
    I don't believe there IS a upper end of hardness for cassting bullwets per se, though there undoubtedly is an upper end for casting bullets that expand on game. But for simple target shooting, both zinc and aluminum have been used successfully, and both are far harder than lead alloys.

    However, your failure to cut with a 6H pencil suggests that you have either conducted the test incorrectly, or you may be testing a zinc ingot, not a lead ingot. You can re-read the technique above, and it's not too hard to run the specific gravity of your sample to check whether it's a lead alloy or not. Here's how:

    Step one is to simply weigh a sample of the alloy, just as you would weigh a cast bullet.
    Step two is to position your scale so that the weighing pan is over a cup of water.
    Step three is to tie a bit of string to the end of the weighing pan and re-zero the scale to compensate for its weight.
    Step four is to tie your sample to the string, which must be long enough to allow you to immerse the sample in water.
    Step five is to immerse the sample and reweigh it. (Lift up the cup of water until the sample is completely under water and keep it there while you re-weigh.)

    You can ignore the effect of the srting, as it will have little to no discernable effect. That will give you all the information you need to determine the specific gravity of your sample, and the math is really simple too.

    I'll just pull some numbers out of my head to illustrate the technique: Water has a specific gravity of 1.000 gram per CC. You can determine the volume of your sample by subtracting the weight in water from the weight in air. So if your first sample weight was 340 grains, and the immersed weight was 270 grains, the diference is 70 grains. 1 Grain = 0.06479891 Grams, and 70 grains equal (70*0.0648) = 4.536 grams, or 4.536 cc volume. 340 grains * 0.0648 = 22.032 grams. Now you can calculate Specific Gravity as weight in grams / volume in CC's, or 22.032/4.536 = 4.857 grams per cc.

    Zinc has a specific gravity of about 7.0, and lead is about 11.4. Many lead alloys will be closer to 11.0 because tin and antimony are lighter than lead. So if your specific gravity is close to 7, you have a zinc ingot. If it's above say 10.5, you have probably got a lead alloy.

    Hope this helps
    Regards,

    Molly

    "The remedy for evil men is not the abrogation of the rights of law abiding citizens. The remedy for evil men is the gallows." Thomas Jefferson

  20. #80

    testing lead . . .

    Molly, so I cut a 2"x2"x1/4" strip and dropped a couple of drops of Muriatic Acid on it and it foamed wildly for about 15 seconds, turned the metal black and then settled down slowly. Sorry, I read your post above and it was way above my head so I thought I would test it the "bubba" way.

    You think it is Zinc? If it is Zinc, should I try to trade it away for the equivalent of lead or use it somehow? My apologies but I'm new to the casting stuff.

    thanks for your help.
    Michael

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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