Ballast Lead

Dinghies, day sailers, world cruisers. Many small sailboats make ideal rowboats or low-speed power boats.

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Stuart
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Ballast Lead

Postby Stuart » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:15 pm

I'm finally to the point of putting in the ballast lead. On the Glen-L 25 there are two ballast keels on each side of the steel swing keel. Perhaps no one will believe me but these were difficult to make. I used st steel and the thickness of over .100" made bending difficult. Then when they were welded they warped all over the place. Drilling the 6 holes to come out within a 1/4" of each other through almost 2 ft of bed log did not come out at all well. But hammer in hand, it does fit now...but it is nothing to look at. Now to fill the things with lead. I can see this is going to be another nightmare come to life so what I want to know from the experts, can I buy lead shot and pour fill the ballast keels with that and just skip the melting and roasting. :(

Stuart

Mike Worrall
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby Mike Worrall » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:28 am

The Francis Drake (FG) has internal ballast. I used lead 'pigs' or 'ingots' (conjure a mental picture of the gold stored in Ft. Knox); in effect 50 lb 'bricks'. Using a compound miter saw with a non-ferrous blade, I cut each piece to fit into the keel cavity, packing each as close together as possible. Any remaining voids were then filled with shot. Into each course (or row) I poured neat epoxy, covered with a layer of 18 oz WR. Repeat with next course to a total of 4 K lbs. I figure this amounted to about 250 trips up / down the ladder...

Mike Worrall
G-L Francis Drake
C'Flex

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Stuart
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby Stuart » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:04 pm

Mike; that was sort of my thinking. The ballast keels are essentially sealed but I think some water might eventually get in. I questioned if the lead would oxidize and expand. The material is so thick it would probably contain any internal forces. Another question is if the lead shot would settle and create a gap at the top which might then allow it to roll, and would this be a problem. And finally, would the weight be the same, probably a little less I think but would that matter? I considered that a bit of epoxy in the mix might not be a bad thing as you said.

The ballast keels on the Glen-l 25 are only open with two little 2" diameter holes in the top. No room for pigs. :shock:

Stuart

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jenko
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby jenko » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:46 pm

why not pour the shot in and then heat the keel to melt it once its hot keep pouring the shot in till its full

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Rational Root
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby Rational Root » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:28 am

Shot has space between the balls. So it's 66% as dense as solid lead. You really want to melt the lead.
Last edited by Rational Root on Sun Sep 18, 2016 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stuart
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby Stuart » Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:43 pm

Ok so I fill this keel with lead shot and heat it up. What do I use as a flux and what do I use to heat it hot enough to melt the lead?

Stuart

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jenko
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby jenko » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:03 pm

gas fired Blow torch or oxy/acetylene blow torch I don't think you would need flux as you are just melting not soldering
Lead melts at 327.5 deg celsius
steel starts to glow dull red at 480 deg celsius
so if it goes red your too hot
may take a while to get it hot enough but once it is should be easy, but you will need help to put the shot in while the keel is being kept hot

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vupilot
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby vupilot » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:11 pm

In r/c sailboats we fill the keels with shot and just enough epoxy to solidify and secure the shot. Im guessing the epoxy would seal it fairly well but I dont know how much epoxy you might use and that could get expensive.

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jenko
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby jenko » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:26 pm

Paraffin wax is the go for flux

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kens
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby kens » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:07 pm

rotometals has lead

rotometals.com
Oak is over rated, everything about it takes extra time; then it warps, splits or checks !!! :roll:

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kens
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby kens » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:10 pm

search this and you get some good hits:
pour lead keel

https://rotometals.com/custom-metal-casting/
Oak is over rated, everything about it takes extra time; then it warps, splits or checks !!! :roll:

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Stuart
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby Stuart » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:42 pm

Found some lead. Called the local auto recyclers and they had buckets of lead tire balance weights. Got 350lbs for $140. Going to light up the barby pit and get some clean lead before I pour into the keel.

Stuart

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jenko
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby jenko » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:05 am

go for it wear gloves and glasses

acan66
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby acan66 » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:14 pm

Mike Worrall wrote:The Francis Drake (FG) has internal ballast. I used lead 'pigs' or 'ingots' (conjure a mental picture of the gold stored in Ft. Knox); in effect 50 lb 'bricks'. Using a compound miter saw with a non-ferrous blade, I cut each piece to fit into the keel cavity, packing each as close together as possible. Any remaining voids were then filled with shot. Into each course (or row) I poured neat epoxy, covered with a layer of 18 oz WR. Repeat with next course to a total of 4 K lbs. I figure this amounted to about 250 trips up / down the ladder...

Mike Worrall
G-L Francis Drake
C'Flex

Thank you very much for the advice. It is true that it is rather difficult to get into such a project if you do not have the right techniques.

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Stuart
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Re: Ballast Lead

Postby Stuart » Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:35 pm

Got the lead in and the ballast keels attached to the boat...about 200lbs each.

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STUART


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