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View Full Version : How to pour a lead plumbing joint.



Terry
11-22-2008, 02:23 PM
A bit ago, Mark posted some pictures of one of his jobs.
Pouring a lead joint in a basement.

Here is the link to the project here,

Pouring a Lead Joint (http://www.terrylove.com/lead_joint.htm)

http://www.terrylove.com/images/mark/mark_10.jpg

Pouring a Lead Joint (http://www.terrylove.com/lead_joint.htm)

master plumber mark
11-22-2008, 02:50 PM
Terry, all this fame might go to my head...

I wish I would have taken better pictures....


thanks for posting it..

nhmaster
11-22-2008, 04:20 PM
Didja caulk the joint with both the inner and outer irons, and was it one continuous pour? :D

hj
11-22-2008, 05:00 PM
1. The oakum is NOT to keep the lead from leaking out, it is what SEALS the joint. The lead then seals the oakum.
2, I have never used putty on the running rope, and a wad of oakum seals the funnel.
3. Normally you cut the wedge of excess lead off before caulking.
4. You could also use the rubber snap around running rope.

99k
11-22-2008, 05:11 PM
Thanks for sharing Mark ... I have only read about this lost art and never saw how it was done. Kudos.

Terry
11-22-2008, 05:20 PM
I added a few of the comments, let me know if there are more.
Terry

master plumber mark
11-22-2008, 07:40 PM
1. The oakum is NOT to keep the lead from leaking out, it is what SEALS the joint. The lead then seals the oakum.
2, I have never used putty on the running rope, and a wad of oakum seals the funnel.
3. Normally you cut the wedge of excess lead off before caulking.
4. You could also use the rubber snap around running rope.


you really are way too serious HJ....

I used putty on the outer and ring and around the hub to
be 100% sure that their were no gaps so that the lead might pour out....
I really only wanted to do this once...

as far as caulking the joint, I only had one chisel,

I used to have some very interesting caulking chisels
laying around the junk room of the office.
but for now they are lost . I only had an inner chisel handy


perhaps when we go back to the job I will take a close up of the
actual lead joint to show how you are supposed to caulk around the
inner and then the outer edje of the hub....


if you ever get a chance to look at some very old joint sometimes
it appears like the fellow caulking the joint was actually trying to make a design in the lead....


like art work...

mine comes no-where near what those fellows could do...

hj
11-23-2008, 06:41 AM
Just trying to keep the record straight and clear up any misunderstandings. I often did "art work" in the wider joints by creating a herringbone design with the irons. There were left and right offset irons to work behind the pipe in tight spaces, extra short "pony" irons for close spaces, upside down irons, and probably a few more that I have forgotten.

nhmaster
11-23-2008, 08:36 AM
Just trying to keep the record straight and clear up any misunderstandings. I often did "art work" in the wider joints by creating a herringbone design with the irons. There were left and right offset irons to work behind the pipe in tight spaces, extra short "pony" irons for close spaces, upside down irons, and probably a few more that I have forgotten.

I have a collection of about 25 irons in various configurations including a bunch that I either made or modified myself. It is rapidly becoming a very lost art, but I still teach it to 2nd year students. Might come in handy and hell,, it's fun. Everyone likes working with molten metal, I think it's a primal thing. Like a camp fire. I don't use putty either, just a wad of oakum. Now let's all set up to pour an upside down verticle joint, 4" :D

Redwood
11-23-2008, 08:49 AM
Okay NH Master...

http://www.tpub.com/content/construction/14265/img/14265_83_2.jpg

Pour away!:cool:
Scuuze me while I go look for my Joint Runner...
It's been a while since I used it!

master plumber mark
11-23-2008, 09:32 AM
I have a collection of about 25 irons in various configurations including a bunch that I either made or modified myself. It is rapidly becoming a very lost art, but I still teach it to 2nd year students. Might come in handy and hell,, it's fun. Everyone likes working with molten metal, I think it's a primal thing. Like a camp fire. I don't use putty either, just a wad of oakum. Now let's all set up to pour an upside down verticle joint, 4" :D


Pouring one upside down would be a challenge

If I were to try an up-side down joint, I would certainly need to have a large pot of lead boiling
becasue I dont think it could be accomplished with
just one ladel full of lead...I would have an apprentice standing by with the second ladel full.....

let the extra lead spatter down the the floor everywhere....

and I would certainly use my plumbers putty to completely seal off that rope runner...


I still got all those special irons squirreld away somewhere...

I am glad they came up with no hub clamps
and fernco fittings.......

Pouring a Lead Joint (http://www.terrylove.com/lead_joint.htm)

burleymike
11-23-2008, 10:06 AM
Now I know what that old asbestos rope in my grandfathers tool box was for. I inherited most of his tools long ago and don't know what half of the stuff is for.

He used his gasoline torch unitl he retired, he liked it better than a propane torch.

Gary Swart
11-23-2008, 10:22 AM
Thanks for this informative thread! I never knew that much about lead and oakum joints and while I darn sure have no thoughts of ever attempting to make this a DIY project, it certainly makes me appreciate you "old timers" that can do this art form.

master plumber mark
11-23-2008, 10:26 AM
I think back to when I was a kid and

my grandfather + father used to take me into work when I was about 8,, he had a large propane tank
like you see on the gas grills....

then on top of them they had a platform for a
large pot of boiling lead to sit over an large flame

they would keep this thing burning all day long on
the job and it was my job to keep throwing lead into the
large lead pot and keep it full for them...

I would go around the job site and pick up all the little
spills of lead and re-fill that pot....

the dam thing would be a little top heavy and occasionally spill over ... that was exiceting.....

today, .....OSHA would have thrown the book at us..




..

SewerRatz
11-24-2008, 01:13 AM
Hell guys if you need someone to pour you some lead joints just call on a plumber in Chicago. They do not want anyone using a TY-seal (rubber gasket) instead of lead and oakum. They still have pouring a 4" lead joint on the Illinois state test. Each of our trucks have all the equipment needed to pour the joints. I still do it even in the suburbs even though the suburbs allow for the rubber gasket to be used. It impresses the home owner that a young man like me is doing old world style plumbing.

Here is a link to on of many places that still sell the tools of the trade. http://www.mephistotool.com/caulkingIrons.html

There is these new joint runners that I seen at the local union hall they are a rubber clamp type, I tried to search the net for a picture but I fail.

hj
11-24-2008, 09:27 AM
Nice picture of the upside down joint. Now if you will tell me how you evacuate the air from the joint so the lead can fill the void, I will be happy, and believe that it can be done. When I had an upside down joint, I poured it first before I installed the fitting. That is also what I told my instructor when he tried to tell me about "pouring" upside down joints. But, then, he was trying to put one over on the students.

master plumber mark
11-24-2008, 09:43 AM
Nice picture of the upside down joint. Now if you will tell me how you evacuate the air from the joint so the lead can fill the void, I will be happy, and believe that it can be done. When I had an upside down joint, I poured it first before I installed the fitting. That is also what I told my instructor when he tried to tell me about "pouring" upside down joints. But, then, he was trying to put one over on the students.

getting the air out of an up-side down joint is easy HJ....



all you got to do is drill a little vent hole in the cast hub
so the air can escape while pouring it.....LOL....


then all you got to do is figure out how to plug up that little hole

perhaps when you caluk down the lead it will cover the weep hole ...LOL


...

tilelayher
03-13-2010, 07:38 PM
I know I am bumping, I am looking to buy a running rope. I have been pouring alot of lead joints lately, on this site whats the difference between the 2 ropes that they are selling? http://www.plumbsource.net/product/4576/Lead-Joint-Runner.html

jimbo
03-13-2010, 07:57 PM
A ship I served on early in my Navy career had teak decking on all the weather decks. Teak planks were about 5" wide and 3" thick. They wore like iron, but on occasion needed some recaulking. There was about a 3/8" wide joint between planks, and oakem was driven in with the irons, and then it was top sealed with some hot tar. In the 60's, they were still having some nubs holystone the deck once a week, but finally gave that up....something about cruel and unusual punishment!

On today's market, there must have been a million dollars worth of teak! The ship was 530' long, and the main deck, 01 and 02 decks were teaked.

By the way, that ship, built in 1942 and decomissioned in 1982, is still in existence. Actually, it has so much asbestos and PCB that the Navy has been thwarted at every attempt to have it cut up for scrap. It is to the point that it may now be turned in to a museum!

johnjh2o1
03-13-2010, 08:44 PM
When I was first learning the trade from a master plumber he had a set of inside & outside irons with his initials on them. There was no doubt as to what joints he did.

John

johnfrwhipple
03-14-2010, 10:11 AM
Great post and information men. In today's renovations business it seems to be to much about the quick buck and get in and get out. I love watching master tradesmen tackle a project and pull out the old tools and show me something I have never seen before. Makes me want to own more tools.

I'm renovating my home and want to have an exposed 3" cast iron stack and would love to see a joint or two with the lead pour. Are these old pipes still made with the option of doing the lead connections?

I have not really looked into it before and only once have we done a lead repair over the years.

Great pictures.

Thanks again.

tilelayher
03-14-2010, 06:30 PM
I live outside Philly, lead joints are still done all the time in the city. They can't use PVC or copper down the city. People will come in and steal the pipes.

hj
03-15-2010, 02:53 PM
Harry Griesback tried to tell me that was how they poured upside down joints, but was stumped when I asked him, "How do you get the air out of the joint so the lead fills the void up to the oakum. Or do you just try to compress the air when you calk the joint?" It makes more sense to pour the joint upright and then invert the fitting, which is how they WERE done.

CollinLeon
08-13-2010, 01:41 PM
Harry Griesback tried to tell me that was how they poured upside down joints, but was stumped when I asked him, "How do you get the air out of the joint so the lead fills the void up to the oakum. Or do you just try to compress the air when you calk the joint?" It makes more sense to pour the joint upright and then invert the fitting, which is how they WERE done.

OK, first of all, I'm not a plumber and I stumbled across this site while looking for some information concerning brazing of copper fuel lines, but I read this thread and I have a bit of an idea from at least a physics perspective on this...

First of all, the joint between the two pieces of pipe is not perfectly airtight, right? Otherwise, you would not be having to seal them, right? As such, the air that is in the gap between the lower pipe and the upper one would exit that way and go up the pipe.

Come to think of it, even if it was a perfect seal on it at the contact point between the upper pipe and the lower pipe, the density of the lead would result in it being able to probably go a bit up there. Kind of like when you take an inverted glass and put it in a sink, pool, or whatever. The air is trapped in there, but the water level rises (i.e. the air is compressed) as you push the glass further below the surface of the water. If you put the glass at about 33 ft below the surface, the water level will rise to the halfway point in the glass (assuming a cylindrical / straight walled glass).

Hairyhosebib
08-13-2010, 10:33 PM
Pouring a 4" lead joint was still part of the plumbing test in Indiana in the late 90's and may still be part of the practical exam. A 12 " piece with hub and a 12" inch piece was needed for the test along with a 5 LB chunk of lead, oakum, irons, etc. You could only work with it in the horizontal position!. Once you stood it on end , you were kicked out by the procter. It's a really dirty thing for a procter to do but I was told that they would say to someone taking the test that it would be easier to work with on end. Once on end they would kick you out of the test and you would have to pay to take the test again. Also, it takes 4 pounds of lead to do a 4 inch joint so they get to keep the extra pound of lead.
Once the joint is poured for your project, they plug both ends of the pipe and air it up to about 20 to 40 pounds of air and put it in a barrel of water to see if it leaks. If it leaks you failed the test and you have to pay to take the test again. If it does not leak they bust the joint open and grade your lead ring. I think it is to be one inch thick. I took a saw and marked my iron. I did pass the plumbing test but I sure was a nervous wreck while taking it! There is a type of pipe called DURIRON, it is a acid waste pipe used in research buildings It is a type of drain pipe that uses lead joints. It has been a long time since I have worked with it. I think the sealing rope is something other than your typical oakum.

Wally Hays
08-14-2010, 06:46 AM
I know I am bumping, I am looking to buy a running rope. I have been pouring alot of lead joints lately, on this site whats the difference between the 2 ropes that they are selling? http://www.plumbsource.net/product/4576/Lead-Joint-Runner.html

May be the one is asbestos and the other not. Mine are so old and oil soaked I have no clue what they were originally. Whatever you get though, thrwo it in a bucket of dark cutting oil for a month before you use it.

Pouring upside down. air is not a problem. You will never get the rope sealed tight enough to cause an air bubble.

hj
08-14-2010, 08:36 AM
quote: There is these new joint runners that I seen at the local union hall they are a rubber clamp type, I tried to search the net for a picture but I fail.

NEW? I still have the 3" one I used in Chicago 40 years ago.

hj
08-14-2010, 08:39 AM
The difference between the two running ropes is the length. One is up to 4" pipe and the other goes to 6". If you do not need a 6" one the extra length becomes a nuisance.

hj
08-14-2010, 08:45 AM
IF you have never poured a joint upside down, or even tried it, then do NOT philosophize about how it can be done. Even IF the air could pass through the PACKED oakum, it could NOT do it before the lead congealed, and thus the lead would NOT fill the entire void. And if it did not do so, then it could NOT perform its function of keeping the oakum compacted to maintain the seal. The only salvation for the joint would be that the few times they were used it was ALWAYS in the vent system.