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Lead from a sail boat keel

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Cooper, Aug 27, 2009.

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  1. Cooper

    Cooper TS Member

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    A guy at work has an old sail boat in his yard he wants to scrap out. The keel is lead and weighs around 3,500 lbs., that could make a lot of shot! How would a person salvage the lead and break it down into small enough pieces to run it through a shot maker? Right now it's encased in fiberglass so I guess that would have to be chipped off, that sounds like a nasty job. I see lots of health and enviromental concerns with this project if not handled carfully. Probably not a project I want to tackle anyway but I'm curious just the same.

    Cooper
     
  2. jdomas

    jdomas Member

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    Fiberglass will burn. burn it off and then cut the lead into small pieces with a reciprocating saw.
     
  3. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    Are you sure it is solid lead. Most of the keel ballast that I have seen is in pellet form. You may need to do nothing more than punch a hole in the keel. A small hole up high would be a way to find out.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  4. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    klkA gunshop owner I knw used to sell lead to the shipyards. It was Lawrence shot, but in a blue bag. It was called "drop shot".

    NO antimony at all. If you mixed it 50/50 with wheel weight or linotype it might be good. Or you might try adding antimony yourself, I don't know where to find it.

    HM
     
  5. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Lead melts at a lower temp than you think. I wouldn't burn the fiberglass off. That would be a stinking mess anyway. Use a sawsall to cut a peep hole to see if it is pellets like Chip King said.
     
  6. Cooper

    Cooper TS Member

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    I just asked him about it maybe being pellets and he said not unless it's pellets in some sort of shell. He ran the boat into some rocks at some point and gouged off a big chunk of fiberglass and he could see the lead.

    I have known this guy for 15 years and that whole time the boat has been sitting in a cradle in his yard. I have to believe the cradle is rotten as well so I think it would be foolish to just start trying to bust off the fiberglass or cut off chunks of lead, the whole thing could collaspe on top of me. His brother in law told him he would scrap it out so maybe when it hits the ground I'll look at it a little closer. If it could be cut with a saw it may be managable, he said its only around 16" at it's widest point and tapers into a pie shape.

    Cooper
     
  7. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    Take a drill using a "hole cutting" bit like you might use for a door... sort of like taking a core sample - see what you find... shouldn't "rock the boat" too much!

    regards all,

    Jay
     
  8. Trap2

    Trap2 Well-Known Member

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    Cooper.... Removing the fiberglass from the lead should not be all that difficult. You can more than likely just chip it off in big pieces with a hammer and a linolium scraper. If not, just heat the fiberglass a little with a hand held torch and scrap the 'glass away. Use a respirator just to be on the safe side. A really good one can be rented at your local tool rental yard for next to nothing. The lead will be pure lead, just like plumbers lead. It will be soft. As mentioned above, you will have to add some antimony to harden it up some. A mixture of 50/50 with linotype would result in some excellent shot. If I were you, I would wait until the boat is scrapped (off the cradle) and then remove the keel. It is not as tough a job as it sounds. I did it once, many years ago, with a smaller sailboat, to salvage the lead to pour duck decoy anchors for shooting Canvasbacks and Bluebills in the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. It was actually a fun project for me, and I got LOTS of decoy anchors out of that keel.... Dan Thome (Trap2)
     
  9. Old Texas Marine

    Old Texas Marine Member

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    Rent four jack stands to support the boat like is done at boat yards and marinas when boats are hauled and placed on "the hard". Then unscrew the keel bolts from inside the bilge and then support the keel horizontally. Use the jack stand screws to raise the boat from the keel. Carefully lay the keel over on to a trailer and you are in the lead business. The keel weighs 35 to 50% of the total weight of the boat so it should be easy to jack the boat up off the keel.

    Bueana suerte y cuidado,

    HBT
     
  10. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Yeah what he said.....
     
  11. Shipbuilder

    Shipbuilder TS Member

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    Cut it up with a reciprocating saw on slow speed. Start at bottom and cut through both glass and lead. Wear a resipator and long sleeve shirt to keep glass particles off your skin. Throw the shirt away when you are done. Glass on cut uop lead chunks will come off easily will come off easily with a wood chisel. Every keely I have seen is solid.

    There will be steel or monel bolts extending through the hull in to the lead about 12". Should be able to see their location from inside the boat.They will probably be 1'' and hard to saw through.

    Jim
     
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