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Thread: Linseed oil putty

  1. #1
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    On the red lead/white lead thread folk are swopping recipies,,,,,, Why?
    Don't American glaziers use putty when they put glass in a wooden window frame? That's the stuff us Brits use. On it's own or with the addition of white lead paste (50/50) above the waterline and red lead powder below.
    Mix enough red lead powder with the putty to turn it darkish pink.
    You can add a touch of grease or tallow to keep it soft, a very small touch will do the trick.
    All these items you can find via Classic Marine
    at Woodbridge,

    http://www.classicmarine.co.uk/

    They will export, 'though I have mine delivered by AC-B. [img]smile.gif[/img]

    IanW

    [ 09-28-2004, 04:51 AM: Message edited by: Ian Wright ]

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    And thank heavens that some of us do swap recipes on this Forum.....to further the knowledge of the culinary arts !

    Imagine if one were condemned to live with a staid and unimaginative cuisine for the rest of oneīs life ?

    BTW, what difference would it make, if at all, should zinc oxide be used in lieu of lead oxide (red or white) ? The latter is a restricted product and not readily available here.

    Thanks

  3. #3

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    The point is that the lead is biocidal - it stops hungry little beings eating your caulking while you recline on deck admiring sunsets and drinking your favourite accompaniment to admirable sunsets.
    So Zinc oxide won't do the same trick as red lead.
    To amplify Ian Wright's recipe a bit 10:1 lead to putty seems about right.

    And while I think about it, please don't do as a customer of mine did and open the tub in the living room. If you drop it with the lid off (he did)into a deep-pile white carpet (like there was) it doesn't come out.

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Moray MacPhail:
    [QB10:1 lead to putty seems about right.
    [/QB]
    Eh? !0 lead to ! putty? Can that be right? Typo?
    Not to critisize or anything (and that compass is terrific, by the way) but perhaps the other way round, Moray?
    IanW

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    Oops! Glad to see you are on the ball, Ian.
    10 putty to 1 lead is better.

  6. #6
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    Moray, a question if I may.The UK is a long way away for me and white lead powder is not available here in Australia (or red lead powder either).Have you ever experimented with using a copper additive to putty...say copper oxychloride powder to improve the unpleasantness of the stuff to little beasties ?

  7. #7
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    Moray, thanks for confirming why lead oxide is used.

    How about copper oxychloride as a substitute as Peter Sibley has suggested ?

    Am also curious to know how "glazierīs putty", the basic ingredient of boat-planking putty, is sauteed.

  8. #8
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    Peter,
    are you sure you can't get red or white lead powder in Australia? It's still a common pigment to use in, e.g., artist's oil paint. Your local hardware store probably wouldn't stock it, but surely a chemical supplier should be able to order it for you?

    If not, you can make your own lead white by mixing regular lead with acid (e.g. vinegar), and keep it someplace warm. The acid will disintegrate the lead to a white powdery stuff that is lead white, according to this site: http://webexhibits.org/pigments/indi...leadwhite.html

    Red lead is also known as the mineral minium, chemical composition Pb3O4. There seems to be at least two mines in Australia that produce minium, Broken Hill in New South Wales, and Avondale Mine in South Australia. Check out http://www.mindat.org/show.php?id=2721&ld=1&pho= for more info on minium.

  9. #9
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    Regular putty is just chalk dust mixed with linseed oil and turpentine.

    There are quite a few recipes for adding white or red lead and making paint in William A. Robinson's interesting book, To the Great Southern Sea.

    It's a classic: well worth reading.

    Alan

  10. #10
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    Did some "Googling" and here are some results:

    White and Red Lead: largely discontinued in the paint industry due to their toxicity; not cheap if purchased from chem lab suppliers.

    Copper oxychloride; fungicide and bird repellent used in fruit farms, orchards etc.; thought to be carcinogenic.

    Glazierīs putty: Kaolin (clay) and vegetable oil (linseed or soya).

    Zinc oxide: currently susbstitutes White Lead in the paint industry, and is relatively harmless (used in skin formulations etc.)

    Calcium carbonate: steadily displacing Kaolin as the principal filler used in the global paper industry.

    So gentlemen I am inclined to stay put with Mr. Manoloīs formulation from Galícia, Spain:

    BTWL: linseed oil mixed with zinc oxide and calcium carbonate (50:50)

    ATWL: linseed oil, zinc oxide and thinners to aid drying for subsequent paint adherence.

  11. #11
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    Oyvind,
    it is available from chemical suppliers at rather outrageous prices,far too high for me to consider.I have found a source of red lead paint from the manufacturer Hemple.It appears to be a good product and the price is reasonable, around A$ 75 per gallon /4.4 l.Its the white lead powder that is not available...at a reasonable price.I'd like to be able to improve regular linseed putty but if its not available I won't worry to much.

    Thanks for the links.I'll experiment with the acid and lead .I have 2.5 tons of the stuff sitting here in ingots. [img]smile.gif[/img]

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    I would substitute pure raw Tung Oil for Linseed.Higher UV resistance,tough stuff.

  13. #13
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    Tung oil is a lot more expensive and probably isn't worth the extra cost if you're just using it to make seam putty.

  14. #14
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    You know - once i got around NZ and OZ where I couldn't find the stuff i just used linseed oil putty for the seams when i had to do some caulking and it has been fine for 5 years now. I like the lead if I can find it -- and it looks like I can buy some in So. Africa at a chemical supply place.

    For the topsides it probably doesn't matter at all.

  15. #15
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    Recipe from "Yacht Cruising" by Claud Worth originally published in 1910..
    Read lead stopping for seams: "Mix thoroughly on a board the dry powders,red lead 3 parts;white lead 2 parts;whiting 3 parts by weight;add linseed oil drop by drop and keep mixing it .Then beat well with a broad faced hammer or mallet,using a little whiting on the hammer and on the board just as a cook uses dry flour in making pastry.The more it is worked and beaten the better.Be careful or you will suddenly find you have used too much oil.Too much whiting would make it crumbly,but without whiting it sets like a stone so that the pumice brick will not touch it,as I once found to my cost.It soon becomes hard even under water,so it is best to make only enough for the day.Fill your nails with yellow soap before using this putty,and scrub your hands afterwards.Before stopping,the caulking and plank edges should have at least one coat of red lead paint,the last coat being just dry but still tacky.This stopping should be used for the bottom as well as the topsides if it is to be painted.If the bottom is to be tarred the seams must be either pitched or must be stopped with tar putty,made with coal tar and whiting"
    Those were the days!

  16. #16
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    Logan wrote: [QUOTE]......

    i just used linseed oil putty for the seams when i had to do some caulking and it has been fine for 5 years now.

    Good to know that !

    Cannot afford to leave things to chance on the costly rennovation that I am presently undertaking on the undersides of my boat.

    JBīs recipe casts light on how the powders are to be kneaded (hammered ?) in with the linseed oil.

  17. #17
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    Just to add a few things in...

    Red Lead is letharge( aka Lead Monoxide PbO ) that has been heated in air to produce Lead Tetraoxide ( aka Red Lead Pb3O4 ) sometimes referred to as Trilead Tetraoxide.

    It is found in Nature, and is called 'Minium' as a mineral.

    It isn't too hard to make, and is made by taking lead oxide and heating it carefully, oxidizing it a second time. I'm sure you can find lead oxide, since it is used in battery manufacture all over the place.

    The exact process for making red lead you can likely find in an industrial chemistry book.. or ask around if anyone knows a chemist. The actual chemistry involved is pretty basic, and any inorganic chemist should be able to whip out a home process in 10 minutes. (snip)

    Ok.. I broke down and edited this post. I'll put the info up on how to make the stuff but don't hold me responsible! [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Formula: Pb3O4; MW 685.60
    Synonyms: red lead; minium; trilead tetroxide; lead orthoplumbite; mineral
    red; Paris red.
    Uses
    Lead tetroxide has many applications. The most important use is in paint
    and storage-batteries. It is used as a pigment in corrosion-protecting paints
    for steel surfaces. It also is used in positive battery plates; in colored glasses
    and ceramics; in glass sealants for television picture tubes; in propellants and
    explosives; in radiation shields for x-rays and gamma rays; in the vulcanization
    of rubber; in glass-writing pencils; in adhesives for tire cords; in foaming
    agents and waterproofing materials; in plasters and ointments; in lead dioxide
    matches; and as a catalyst for oxidation of carbon monoxide in exhausts.
    Physical Properties
    Bright-red crystalline substance or amorphous powder; density 9.1 g/cm3;
    decomposes on heating to 500°C, melts at 830°C under pressure and oxygen;
    insoluble in water and alcohol; soluble in glacial acetic acid, hot hydrochloric
    acid, and a dilute nitric acid-hydrogen peroxide mixture.
    Thermochemical Properties
    ∆Hƒ° –171.7 kcal/mol
    ∆Gƒ° –143.7 kcal/mol
    S° 50.5 cal/degree mol
    Cρ 35.1 cal/degree mol
    Preparation
    Lead tetroxide is made by heating lead monoxide in the presence of air at
    temperatures between 450 to 500°C. The temperature should be maintained
    below 500°C, above which the tetroxide decomposes.
    Alternatively, the tetroxide may be prepared by heating a mixture of lead
    monoxide and lead dioxide at 250°C:
    2PbO + PbO2   →  C o 250 Pb3O4
    6PbO + O2    →  − C o 500 450 2Pb3O4
    484 LEAD TETROXIDE
    However, there are red lead plants that operated for many years with no incidents, so basic safeguards and non contamination gear work nicely.

    The process is basic enough that you can do this with cheaply purchased equipment.

    Again, DON'T DO THIS unless you are VERY careful. But if you are careful, you should have no problems.

    --T

    PS: You can make White Lead too ( basic lead carbonate) but its more involved.. talk to that chemist guy about it.

    [ 10-03-2004, 10:18 AM: Message edited by: TimothyB ]

  18. #18
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    If for whatever reason you have to make do with just plain, undoctered linseed oil putty, you may still be able to keep the marine borers, critters etc at bay by:

    Painting the wooden hull with 2 coats of coal tar paint.

    International Paints markets an epoxy-based 2-part coal tar paint that has won wide acclaim from fishermen and boatmen alike in this country.

    Other options, of course, are setting up a chemical production facility or exploiting a relevant mining facility somewhere within reach !

  19. #19
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    Hey you don't need a chemical production facility to make red lead from lead oxide.. only an electric stove, a few fans, throwaway clothing, good heavy gloves and a respirator. A good ceramic lined cast iron pot is handy too. Plus you'll need something to stir the melt.. I wouldn't recommend standing over the pot with a long spoon! An electric drill on SLOW with a long, made up bit that has a stirring attachment on the end should do, and should hold up to the heat if it is far enough above the pot, or if you are mechanically inclined you could make a geared apparatus so you can keep the drill off to the side.

    Bottom line is, if you cannot get something that you need, and it's worth the time and effort, you CAN make it. Isn't that one of the reasons we are making wooden boats?

    That being said, I wouldn't recommend making Red Lead if there is an alternative! It's time consuming and dangerous, and you are almost always better off substituting another method.

    As a substitute, personally, I would get commercially available fungicide/mildewcide that is designed as an additive for exterior oil paint, put it in some good paint at double strength, and paint the seams with it liberally, then put in the seam compound to which I have also added some of that magic additive. I'd also be darn sure I was wearing lots of protection.

  20. #20
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    TimothyB wrote:

    Bottom line is, if you cannot get something that you need, and it's worth the time and effort, you CAN make it. Isn't that one of the reasons we are making wooden boats?
    Right you are, in principle !

    However, it pays to keep oneīs eyes, ears AND MIND open, so as not to tread on a foolhardy path.

  21. #21
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    On the other hand,,,,,,, If you prime the seams well and use bog standard linseed oil putty With Nothing Else Added you will have no problems for what? fifteen, twenty years,,,,,,,,,

    IanW

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    Mirelle's underwater seams have never been touched by me, in 20 years. They topsides have been recaulked once and the stopping raked, caulking hardened down and re-stopped once, in that time. I have since started to paint them off-white. Looks like ordinary linseed oil putty with red lead in it, below the waterline. Been there 30 years at the very least, possibly much more.

  23. #23
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    IanW wrote:

    On the other hand,,,,,,, If you prime the seams well and use bog standard linseed oil putty With Nothing Else Added you will have no problems for what? fifteen, twenty years
    Quite right - and your emphasis on priming seams(end grain)well is essential in any boat carpentry undertaking, especially hull seams.

    Am curious to know what you use for priming hull seams ?

    In the undersides re-planking that I am presently undertaking, have chosen 2-part coal-tar (International Paints) over their Epoxy Vinyl product (Intertuf) for priming seams, the new planks as well as the rest of the bared hull.

    Coal tar is credited to be very effective at keeping borers and marine bugs at bay.

    However Intertuf Vinyl will sit atop the coal-tarred hull, to provide a neutral surface for subsequent application of anti-fouling paint(coal tar leaves a sticky, tarry surface).

    The underside seams on ACBīs boat have Red Lead blended in with bog standard linseed putty....but we could still make good with a Red-lead-less linseed putty.....if it came to the crunch !

  24. #24
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    Originally posted by carioca1232001:
    [Am curious to know what you use for priming hull seams ?

    In the undersides re-planking that I am presently undertaking, have chosen 2-part coal-tar (International Paints) ![/QB]
    I use either Blakes grey primer or International(Interlux) Metalic pink Primer.
    Originaly Patience's hull was soaked with Cuprinol, seams primed with Metalic Pink, caulked with cotton, filled with putty, underwater was coated with three coats of VC epoxy-tar, and antifouled. All still sound after 15 years.
    Topsides are sanded and painted AT LEAST once a year. I repair any scratches or dings at the end of the sailing season to keep weather out and do a "proper job" in April. No problems so far.

    IanW

  25. #25
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    IanW wrote (quote):

    Originaly Patience's hull was soaked with Cuprinol, seams primed with Metalic Pink, caulked with cotton, filled with putty, underwater was coated with three coats of VC epoxy-tar, and antifouled. All still sound after 15 years
    Just a couple of questions:

    1. Any special ingredient in Blakeīs grey primer or Internationalīs Metalic Pink ?

    2. All still sound after 15 years, but you redo the antifouling every season, do you not ?

    So coal-tar has a following elsewhere !

  26. #26
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    Originally posted by carioca1232001:
    [Just a couple of questions:

    1. Any special ingredient in Blakeīs grey primer or Internationalīs Metalic Pink ?

    2. All still sound after 15 years, but you redo the antifouling every season, do you not ?

    So coal-tar has a following elsewhere ![/QB]
    1. Not that I know of, just decent 'made for boats' primer.
    2.Yes but I only put on what the summer has worn off. Jetwash any slime away first.
    3. I'm not sure how much coal tar there is in VC epoxy-tar, not much I'd guess, the last gas works-cokeing plant shut in the 1970's. We can still get black tar varnish though.

    IanW

    [ 10-08-2004, 07:05 AM: Message edited by: Ian Wright ]

  27. #27
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    IanW wrote:

    3. I'm not sure how much coal tar there is in VC epoxy-tar, not much I'd guess, the last gas works-cokeing plant shut in the 1970's. We can still get black tar varnish though
    In a situation as such, paint manufacturers would not normally brew their own over a stove in the workerīs mess, neither quarry for it around the block.

    If needed, it would be procured - at the right price - worldwide.

    Some countries have restrictions against the use of coal tar paint in underwater structures. We are OK in this respect, at least for the time being.

  28. #28
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    I'm surprised nobody mentioned the Pacific Northwest fishing boat recipe published by George Buehler in his Backyard Boatbuilding :
    Roofing wet patch ("bears--t") with enough Portland cement mixed in to make it nearly impossible to mix any more -- for puttying over underwater fasteners and seams.

    Frank

  29. #29
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    Frank Price wrote:

    I'm surprised nobody mentioned the Pacific Northwest fishing boat recipe published by George Buehler in his Backyard Boatbuilding :
    Roofing wet patch ("bears--t") with enough Portland cement mixed in to make it nearly impossible to mix any more -- for puttying over underwater fasteners and seams.
    What is roofing wet patch ("bears--t") ?

  30. #30
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    It's sold for bedding flashing and patching small leaks on metal roofs (a staple of trailer owners). It's tar-based (don't know offhand if it's petrolatum or asphaltum - or whatever) with some kind of short fibers mixed in. Very thick and sticky. It will stick to wet metal or wood, and probably anything else. If you use it, you will find it all over everything within ten feet of the can, but it cleans off easily with mineral spirits, turpentine, etc. Sets up very stiff but not hard, eventually. Doesn't seem to deteriorate under water. Above the waterline it does seem to eventually shrink a little, but I've never seen anyone try to use it for bedding hardware.

    Bottom line is it's cheap, available in any hardware store (on US west coast), very sticky, and cheap. Good thing to have in a locker even if you don't plan on using it.

    Frank

    P.S. I built my sharpie skiff with it, except for paying the bottom seams.

    [ 11-14-2004, 02:49 PM: Message edited by: Frank E. Price ]

  31. #31
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    I have done a few roofs and seen the stuff turn brittle and cracks around chimneys and flashing after many years etc... But I dont know how it holds up underwater after a long time. I have wondered about coating an entire boat bottom with the stuff but then what would happen to the travel lift slings? Wonder if a yard operator would refuse to launch a boat and get sticky black slings.

  32. #32
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    Couldn't you use some arsenic trioxide powder and mix it up instead of lead powders. I am sure it would keep the wood munchers from feasting both worms and fungus.
    http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_...Rec_Id=PC33821

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    sdowney717 wrote:

    have done a few roofs and seen the stuff turn brittle and cracks around chimneys and flashing after many years etc... But I dont know how it holds up underwater after a long time. I have wondered about coating an entire boat bottom with the stuff but then what would happen to the travel lift slings? Wonder if a yard operator would refuse to launch a boat and get sticky black slings.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    posted 11-14-2004 03:12 PM
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Couldn't you use some arsenic trioxide powder and mix it up instead of lead powders. I am sure it would keep the wood munchers from feasting both worms and fungus.
    http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_...Rec_Id=PC33821
    Note that the filler in this putty formulation is PORTLAND CEMENT ( same as used in mortar for civil construction work ?)

    The role of the asphaltic component seems akin to that of linseed oil in the formulation that uses calcium carbonate (or china clay) as filler and lead oxide as bug killer (and partly filler).

    The asphaltic component should keep the putty from becoming brittle, as the portland cement filler cures on contacting with water.

    Perhaps not a bad idea as a putty for filling the voids over fastener heads after a hull replanking job ?

    Eventual soiling of travel-lift slings should be minimal.

  34. #34
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    Knowing that bronze screws degrade in salt water when wet and bunged, I always wondered why anyone wants to bother bunging the holes. The prevailing belief is a bunged hole keeps the screw dry preventing degradation but the ultimate screw corrosion says otherwise.
    It is a lot of work to countersink and bung, why bother. When it comes time to rescrew it should be easier then unplugging holes and fussing with corroded screw heads. Perhaps they would be easier to pry out of their holes if they were not burried.
    Perhaps it is a just looks nice and it has always been done that way type of traditional thing.

  35. #35
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    sdowney717 wrote:

    Perhaps they would be easier to pry out of their holes if they were not burried.
    .

    True. A nasty job if youīve epoxy-glued the bungs. Remove these at the cost of damaging the planks.

    The original # 8 screws (from 1962) on mine were sort of countersunk into the Amazon Cedar plank(soft wood) by sheer inertia while being driven in. Some 40 years later, 20% of screw heads disintegrated when unscrewing, and the rest posed no problem.

    BTW, countersinking and pilot hole drilling can be done in a single, effortless operation. Use FULLERīs countersinking bit, matching stop-collar and tapered drill sold at Jamestown Distributors, all for under 15 US$.

    Yes, bungs over screw heads do look nice. But can they speed up fastener corrosion, if for instance, the screw shank/plank contact area is not well sealed, thereby trapping in water ?

    For this reason, new screws were driven in after first ramming Poly goo into the pilot hole with a steel bit, and then coating the screw tips with the same. Note that it is near impossible to pump goo into the pilot hole with a caulk gun, as the dispenser nozzle tends to seal off the void, for where the goo is intended.

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