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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: How do you cut lead bars?

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08-28-2013 07:55:54

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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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08-31-2013 05:36:23

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 Re: How do you cut lead bars? in reply to buickanddeere, 08-28-2013 07:55:54  
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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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08-31-2013 07:03:25

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 Re: How do you cut lead bars? in reply to Bret4207, 08-31-2013 05:36:23  
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Dry saw blade and easily reach a 1000F material and tip due to friction if dry cutting. Various people and industries take different stances on how toxic lead is. I used to work in a refinery where they made leaded gasoline. They were very strict and that was 3 decades ago.

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08-31-2013 16:40:06

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 Re: How do you cut lead bars? in reply to buickanddeere, 08-31-2013 07:03:25  
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Nope, not gonna happen. Not on lead alloys. Otherwise you'd have molten lead all over everything. One of leads uses is a lubricant in steel on steel settings back in the early part of the last century. Lubricants reduce friction and heating. The danger of vapors from melting common lead/tin/antimony alloys has been researched and the results published. It was a big deal some years back and bullet casting was supposed to be as sure a form of suicide as there was. The testing determined you'd pretty much have to get the lead up to near boiling (over 3K degrees) and inhale the vapors determinedly for a significant period of time to give you any real issues. Your safety concerns at the refinery were as much due to the chloroethane as the sodium-lead alloy used. It's all nasty stuff in that setting. For a guy cutting up some lead alloy bars the dangers are no more significant than breathing in the dusts formed cutting metal with an abrasive saw.

I realize for some people there is no such thing as "too safe" and respect that position. But having been exposed to the myriad of wives tales surrounding lead alloys in the bullet casting biz I've discounted much of the myth that surrounds lead. Don't forget that water, sunshine and alcohol in unwise amounts can all lead to death too.

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Stick welding

08-31-2013 09:16:09

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 Re: How do you cut lead bars? in reply to buickanddeere, 08-31-2013 07:03:25  
In California, they banned the sale of small motorcycles because they thought kids might be exposed to lead from brake pads or other parts on the bike. I think its been overturned but what a crock. Kids aren't chewing on their bikes. They just want to ride. You do have to use extreme caution when working with lead though. Its been banned from a lot of products.

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