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How do you cut lead bars?

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rossowmn
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:42 am    Post subject: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

A couple of friends and I run an antique print shop at an old-machinery show for one weekend in late summer. We need to cut lead "pigs" (22-pound long bars of lead) into smaller pieces to melt in a head-setting machine (Ludlow) that we"re trying to bring back to life. We"ve tried dry-cutting on a metal-cutting bandsaw, but it"s a slow process and seems to be hard on the blade. Next we"ll try a coarse-tooth blade in a saber saw. Any other suggestions?
 
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tractor300
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:09 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I don't know how thick the bar is, but I have cut lead with a good sharp thin chisel. What I have cut is usually only about a max. of an inch thick.
 
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Bret4207
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:14 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

A coarse wood cutting p blade in a sawzall sometimes works, depends on the type of lead. Some folks report using a chainsaw on soft lead that's near pure, but if you have actual printers alloy it's going to be linotype or monotype which isn't going to cut so easy. Others have used a torch or a shear.
 
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cd1
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:16 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

lop it off in a log splitter. lead is soft, should work
 
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Steve in VA
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:23 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

As Bret4207 noted, pure [or essentially pure] lead is soft. By your description you"re not working with pure lead. Which means that it may not work as you want once you melt it. If it is a harder alloy then it may adversely affect the melting and the final use.
 
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chevytaHOE5674
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:27 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I've used a small electric chainsaw with an old chain before but as Bret mentioned that was in near pure lead. Depending on what you have that may or may not work.
 
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Russ from MN
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:36 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Hardwood chopping block and a sharp axe!
 
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RGMartin
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:48 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I have cut many tons of lead with a good circular saw and a carbide wood cutting blade of 20 teeth or so.


Blades on a reciprocating saw tend to plug up.
 
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Jack345
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:31 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Axe works for me very little waste too.
 
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buickanddeere
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:55 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Axe , chisel or other sharp edge. As soon as heat or friction is used which includes all saws. You are spreading toxic heavy metal crumbs, dust and vapour.
Doesn't take very much in the body either.
 
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jon f mn
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Use your band saw and coat the blade with nozzle spray or dip for welding. You can use wax as well to lube the blade and keep the lead from sticking. I use it for cutting aluminum all the time.
 
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TomH in PA
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:16 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

You probably have Linotype alloy. Much harder than pure lead.

It melts at a lower temperature than lead, maybe just put a propane torch to it and make smaller ingots.
 
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DiyDave
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:54 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

plasma cutter will cut anything that conducts electric!
 
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inkspot
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:58 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

i own a print shop cut lead all the time with my saw made for that the blades i now use are carbide tiped and are circular especiall made foe metal dont look that much different than a regular czrbide circular saw blade Yes i still have letterpress wish i had a ludlo yes the lead is harder than just lead it has tin and animony good luck with your project
 
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Bret4207
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2013 4:36 am    Post subject: Re: How do you cut lead bars? Reply to specific post Reply with quote

buickanddeere wrote:
(quoted from post at 07:55:54 08/28/13) Axe , chisel or other sharp edge. As soon as heat or friction is used which includes all saws. You are spreading toxic heavy metal crumbs, dust and vapour.
Doesn't take very much in the body either.


Lead alloys have to get up over 1K before vapors form. That's why all the plumbers, bullet casters and other lead workers aren't dead. Any harmful health effects can be neutralized by using good old common sense- wash your hands, work in open air, clean the area up, etc.

Now if you want to chew up some lead or lead alloy chips or snort lead dust...then you' have a problem.
 
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