Lead identification

Here’s one. I started smelting some of my scrap lead into ingots. I’m getting started on this, so i have been keeping everything separate. Last night i smelted all the plumbing pieces that i had. I do not know were they came from. Most of them looked like rings covered in some powdery stuff. Got it all molten, fluxed it with new tumbler media, since i’m out of sawdust. Then poured my ingots in the muffin pan. Everything looked normal up to this point. But as i was pouring the ingots noticed that they were developing cracks right in the middle as the metal cooled and shrunk. I left them to air dry. When i pulled them out of the pan, i noticed that they were extremely shiny and detailed to the mould compared to wheel weights that had a dull gray to them. Also noticed that today they are harder then the clip on wheel weigh ingots. I read something called tin poisoning( when the tin to antimony ratio is off) is there a way to spot this visually? Or should i cast with the different alloys and try to determine the composition by weight and response to hardening methods. For now i’m not going to mix the stuff until i have an idea of what exactly i have on hand. The one on the left is wheelweighs and the one on the right is the plumbing stuff.
Any sugestions?

Thank you.
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Last edited:

Critter9a

Moderator
Staff member
I have few questions and maybe an idea. From what I've learned is most of the lead they used for home construction was closer to pure lead. the wheel weights are supposed to be mixed enough with tin, and other alloys to be a harder metal. What if you saturated each with pure lead to thin out the other metals and then measure the BHN. get to a known starting point then re-add the other alloys ?
 
I have few questions and maybe an idea. From what I've learned is most of the lead they used for home construction was closer to pure lead. the wheel weights are supposed to be mixed enough with tin, and other alloys to be a harder metal. What if you saturated each with pure lead to thin out the other metals and then measure the BHN. get to a known starting point then re-add the other alloys ?
That’s what i’m working on right now. I’m melting 1lb and 1/2 lb ingots of the mystery metal, coww and the stick ons. I’m going to cast some samples and compare weight, size and hardness air cooled and hardness water dropped. That should give me an idea were i’m at. Then i’ll start witch brewing metals. I’m only using lead pencils for hardness, so results are relative for the most part.
 
Oh ya i carry them pencils with me everywere i go. For some reason people at walmart do not appreciate me testing the hardness of the wheel weights on their vehicles.
can not tell by pictures. You have to measure the hardness of those ingots to figure out what level of lead they are. Cheapest way is to do the pencil tests. Search google for testing lead hardness with pencils. You can buy them from staples or walmart - $16-20
 
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