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Thread: Plumbers lead?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Plumbers lead?

    Just what do plumbers use lead for?or do they still use it.I remember as a
    kid hanging around construction sites & watching the plumbers melt lead.

    I never really knew what they did with it, but always thought that was neat.
    Any way I would think it would be pure.If that is the case,could a guy not buy
    pure lead from a plumbing supply?

    Fly

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Go find a roofing contractor. Ask him for the lead. Tell him know you will strip the shingles from the boot.
    They have to seperate the lead from the shingles, and the asphalt sticks to the boot like nothing else. I then lay the shingle pieces down in my gravel driveway. Keeps the mud down.
    I do not know what plumbers use. I would suspect it has tin in it.
    Go find a roofing contractor.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    They use lead for joining castiron pipe for drain & vent pipes , not used much now mostly pvc.
    15 - 20 years ago I used to buy scrap lead from a plumbing supply , 3-4 years ago they could not get me any lead from their supplier.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Plumber's lead, if you can find it, is as close to pure as it can get. If you can put a visible scratch in a piece of lead with your thumbnail, call it pure.

    Just for jollies, I stopped in at three plumber's shops one day after work hours asking about lead. I ended up with 20 lbs from one, 15 from the second and 30 from the third, all in oldish 5 lb. octagonal ingots. All free and all covered in about half an inch of dust. Not much cast iron waste line going in any more. I'm amazed time after time what a fella can get if he just asks politely. These guys are all on my list for a box or two of donuts shortly.

    Gerry N.

  5. #5
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    Charlie Sometimes's Avatar
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    AFAIK, cast iron pipes now use rubber gaskets, or other materials depending on application. City water lines are usually cast iron where damage or wear could occur. Besides roofing contractors, some telephone line applications may still have lead encasements. Wiring in OLD buildings were sometimes encased in lead, too. Then there are OLD air lines, piping....... Ahhh, the advance of "progress"- no more free lead very soon.
    USMC 1980-1985

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Hellgate's Avatar
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    The plumber's lead is pretty pure and soft. They also did/do a lot of copper piping and those joints were sealed by sweat soldering using solder which had tin and lead. The cast iron drain pipes were caulked with a tarry rope and then lead poured in to seal the joint. That's the stuff you want. Cable sheathing is harder than pure lead, probably about like 1:20 tin:lead but I don't know the true alloy it just seems a little harder. Most sheet lead is pretty pure and plenty soft for C&B round ball but a little too hard for minie balls that need to be dead soft. Most of my C&B casting is with sheet lead and it's just fine for RB & conicals.
    Hellgate in Orygun
    With 16+revolvers, I've been called the Imelda Marcos of cap&ball.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Rangefinder's Avatar
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    Same here with regard to plumbing supply stores. Ask for lead now and they look at me like I have a third eyeball or something--no-go all the way around. One place I've had pretty good luck with soft lead is the mechanic shops. Aside from the stick-on wheel weights that I separate out, I have mechanics throw old battery terminal connectors into the pot--happens mostly when the cold season is setting in and everyone is winterizing. These, knock on wood, all seem to be pure lead as well.
    Guns have only two real enemies; Rust and Politicians...

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Masons also use lead for chimney flashing, as close to pure as you'll get. Last summer I got 300+ pounds for $40. I had the mason tear down an outside chimney for me. The flashing was still attached to the roofing shingles. I told him I'd take care of that. He asked if I wanted lead , absolutely was my response. He was willing to give it to me free, I gave him forty bucks and told him to take the wife out...Ray
    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.

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  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Ray, you gave him $40 and told him to take your wife out?
    Hehehe,
    Seriously, I get roofing lead from a couple of contractors locally. I fix their jewelery, they drop off as they call them, "roof boots". It adds up quick. All my smokies use roof boots. My cap and ball revolvers do real well with them.
    I now have more roof lead than wheel weights so I sweeten the wheel weight alloy with them to stretch it out. Still hardens ok with water quenching. Does well.
    There are four or five roof boots in every roofing job.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    I got a little over 200# a few years ago when the contractors were reroofing some houses. They just tossed them in the trash. I would have gotten more at the time if I knew lead would go the way it has. I was in the military and they won't ship bulk metal so I had to be creative. I layed the sheets under my truck bed liner when I shipped it. I also stuck beer can shaped lead in the sidwalls behind the bench seats. Later I got about 500# from work. They had a glass shop that does the stained glas. That stuff is very soft too.
    Aim small, miss small!

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    docone31 Do they still use sheet lead on residential asphalt shingle homes?I thought they used
    galvanized flashing.

    Fly

  12. #12
    PAPERPATCH MASTER


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    When I finally retired from my last job as a plumber back in `03, I was 1 of the 2 plumbers where I worked that knew how to do a lead and oakum joint on cast iron pipe, the other 75 didn`t want to know. A sure sign of the changing times in plumbing. The lead was pure soft lead as was marked on the ingots.Robert

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Fly, I believe masons still do for chimney flashing. Builders use galvanized or aluminum flashing sometimes even copper for where clapboards meet the roofing and on valleys. Mason still use lead because it's longer lasting than the other two materials, centuries actually. A chimney is usually a long term proposition. It also forms a better joint because it is so soft, it can be shaped around the brick and bent easier...Ray
    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.

    Democrats, uninsuring the insured.



  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Thank's Ray I know many contractors any more try & cut corners.I can see where lead
    would be very long living & much more easy to work with.I would think in compound
    roofs the saving of labor would out way the cost of the lead.

    But there again I'm no roofer, so I'm just guessing.

    Fly

  15. #15
    Boolit Man

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    I see this is a old post but I have some new contacts for lead.
    I go to the local metal recycle yard to get most of my lead. I pay .50 per pound for all types of lead. I've gotten wheel weights, lots of plumbers lead, and roofing lead sheets. Sometimes it comes in 6 inch sq, blocks, or 1/2 in. plate. Today I got 93 pounds of 1/4 in sqI just tell them to get me another 100 pounds and they call me when it comes in.

  16. #16
    Boolit Man

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    Sorry, I sent the last post before I was ready. Another place to look is the local shop that rebuilds fire hydrents. The plugs on the sides are installed with lead, which they do not reuse. But by far the best place is the recycle yard.

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