Author Topic: Hellgate's easy lead tester  (Read 7043 times)

Offline Cuts Crooked

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Hellgate's easy lead tester
« on: May 11, 2006, 06:54:13 PM »
Here is an edited reprint of a post of Hellgate's from 1997 to the CAS-L:

Date: Tue, 12 Aug 1997 01:20:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: HellgateSubject: Testing lead hardness w/ artists pencils

To lead scroungers everywhere,
I think I got this info off the black powder or mlml list 1-2 years ago. I
would like to thank whoever originally posted it and offer my apology for
losing the original credits.
 You can go to an art supply store and get a set or select individual pencils
whose core varies from [softest] 9B,>>>1B, HB, F, 1H, >>>9H[hardest]. Lead
will run about 4B or 5B, depending on purity, and linotype will run about HB,
or F. The hardest pencils will test aluminum alloys and are too hard for
lead. About 6 to 8 pencils will cover the range needed for informal casting.
To use, shave the wood away to expose the "lead" core without cutting into it
with the knife exposing 1/8-1/4". Hold the pencil vertical and sand the end
flat on fine (about) 400 grit sandpaper. Hold the pencil in a normal writing
position, and try to push the lower edge into the lead surface. If the
graphite core is harder than the alloy, it will cut into the metal or at
least seriously scratch it. If the metal is as hard  or harder than the
graphite core, it will not be able to gouge. The hardness is ranked as the
hardest graphite core that will NOT cut in. If your bullet is resistant to
pencils from 6B through 2B, but B scratches it or peels up a small shaving,
the hardness is 2B.
This isn't as exact as a Brinnel tester but cost effective enough for me. You
can reproduce your hardness but not necessarily the same cost, or castability
but all I want to know is whether it is REAL HARD, sorta hard, somewhere in
between, soft, and REAL SOFT (i.e. Smokeless rifle lead, smokeless pistol, 38
special lead, and 2 grades of black powder lead). I bought 8 pencils: H, HB,
B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, & 6B.  I found that my various ingots of lead were not
sorted  so well once I pencil tested them. Wheelweights and MY BLEND of #2
alloy are about 2B and my soft cap&ball lead is 4B&5B. Be sure to use a fresh
surface as some of the heavier grey corrosion will resist the pencil core but
the underlying lead will scratch.

Hellgate(helpful hints department)Tye SASS#3302
Dark Lord of the Soot
Honorary member of the Mormon Posse
NCOWS #2250
SASS #36914 like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like you do when nobody is watching..

Offline john boy

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Re: Hellgate's easy lead tester
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2009, 10:25:49 AM »
Cuts, how did I miss this?  ???  A good application when one goes to the scrap yard ... take a few pencils with you! ;D
SHOTS Master John Boy

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