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Thread: Lead Weights

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Lead Weights

    In my research for resources, I stopped off at a local friendly tire store, one I have dealt with for years, and asked how they "dispose" of thier old weights. Takes them down to local recycler on occasion he tells me. SO I tell him I am interested in making taking them off his hands for a keel. The thought of boatbuilding made him smile and he said, no problem I could have all I wanted and that he had at least 3 ea. 5 gallon buckets full already. He then tells me that a 5 gallon bucket of tire weights weighs about 700# !!!. I told him I would be back when I had something other than my 1966 Mini to cary them in....
    "The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thenceforward with a single anchorage. The desire to build a boat is the desire of youth, unwilling yet to accept the idea of a final resting place." -Arthur Ransome

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Reno, NV


    Oh man! You've found a gold(lead) mine! There's nothin' better than findin' what you need for free. I'm going to have start making friends with some tire stores in town. Just in case.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Port Townsend WA


    When Larry Pardey and I were building our boats, we sent Lynnie and my wife Mickey out in their Bikinis to collect wheel weights from the local tire shops. They had no problem and collected lotso lead for us! We also saved wine foils from all of the local bars & resturants plus from what we consumed at Pardey's "Corrigated Villa". A sigh for the good old days!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Northern NSW Australia


    Hello David ,I've collected around 5600 pond of lead for my keel, mainly from wheel weights. Unfortunately a 5 gallon pail yields around 70 kg of ingot ....about 154 pound...not 700 pound . But they are a good source of lead .

    The next thing is to work out a cunning way of refining them into ingots , mine is a melter made from an old steel hot water cylinder cut down with a pouring spout welded into the bottom, up on legs .A fire is lit beneath it and the melted lead runs out into 60 pound ingot moulds ,rather large but I don't have to change them so often.

    To change them I pull a 2/3 filled mould to one side along a steel channel and slide another in to its place .Works well and keeps me from spending too much time near the thing .

    Good luck !
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    West Boothbay Harbor, Maine


    Great score... it's nice to help others out, isn't it?

    FWIW (even though you didn't ask!)
    It's helpful to have a scoop or strainer for skimming off impurities and the steel wheel clips that float to the surface of the melting lead. We had a long handled iron scoop with T handles on it and managed it with welding gloves to withstand the heat of the liquified lead.
    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Upper Cape Cod, MA, USA


    Hey David,

    I used an old turkey pot and a rehabbed gas grill to melt over 1,000 pounds of wheel weights. I got all the weights for free, although I bought a dozen doughnuts for the guys at one tire garage who gave me about 500 pounds. Each 5-gallon bucket (fiiled maybe 3/4) weighs about 120 pounds and yielded about 100 pounds. These ingots weigh from about 45 to 80 pounds.

    I'd suggest going to local tire shops, rather than national chains. Most of the guys I spoke with were just as glad to get rid of them. Good luck.


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