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Re: Weights

Lead type.
I handle it and lead balls nearly everyday, but I know of its risks, and
they are
minimal lest you ingest the lead or product containing lead,
or if you breathe too deeply it vapors.

Melting lead has always been a favorite pastime with me as
I've experimented with casting type from old matrices and a
wooden matrix holder, made by an acqauintance in Canada.
Just like the one in Moxon's Mechanick Exercises on Printing.

Matrixes can sometimes be bought at junk shops that deal in the
of lead, and while matrixes are usually brass, the reason they are
with the lead is that parnoia about contamination in brass (it being
pourous and somewhat soft) is rampant amongst OSHA and anyone
(unprofessional) who break down old foundries.

Same is true with asbestos, as long as the asbestos isn't cracking and
peeling it is relatively harmless, it the breathing it in that causes the
real problem, the fibres acting like sandpaper in the lungs.  A sealed
surgical mask can protect you from asbestos contaminant ingestion.
But OSHA says it bad for you and everyone panics.

Sad really that lead has recieved
such bad press, after all, drinking water plumbing was once lead-
lined and some of our forebears lived to ripe old ages, high lead
levels and all.  Most people of the centuries prior tot he 20th died
of more mundane things, influenza, childbirth (mother and child),
dypteria and typhus among a plethora of others ailments unrelated
to lead.

If unsure of lead, where leather lined (on the palm) gloves,
all hardware stores sell them.  Better yet wrap or encase the
lead in fabric or plastic.  The evil nasties can't get you then!

I don't make light of lead related health issues, its just that OSHA
went a little overboard in stating its volatility.  But its better to be
safe than awfully sorry once the poisoning happens, for lead has a
half-life and depending on the amount taken in, it can take a lifetime
to flush from the body.

Casting any metal has its dangers from fumes to particulate contmination,
even molten gold, the finest element save platinum, has it dangers, yet
don't get half as paranoid when we gilt ourselves with the shiny metalic
substance, do we?  And OSHA doesn't tell us that as many as five foundry
could have been poisoned (in the Far East) for that ring, bracelet or
Most gold produces are produced in the East, cheaper and more expendable

Think about it, fear of contamination from something is relative, the
more you delve
into it the greater the risk of contamination, handling any metal will
leave traces of
that metal on you, no matter how hard you try, and trace contamination is
nothing to
worry about.  Its the accumulation of trace encounters that begin to add
up. (just
like radiologists wear in the X-Ray room, too many Retgens (?) and boom,
sickness, it boils down to the old Greek saying:  Moderation, everything
is good in

I learned this from a metal sculpting and casting course I took as an

Common sense can tell us the same, if we but trust our instinct.

Rommel John Miller
Bynder, Letterpressman and typesetter
whose oil-based inks are more a hassle than contact with lead.

On Wed, 29 Mar 2000 21:45:57 -0800 Don Drake <ddrake@DREAMINGMIND.COM>
>Please don't handle the lead! Bad for your health. And melting down
>type? Does this have no value?
>Don Drake
>Dreaming Mind
>(510) 727-9131
>>From: Peter N Krantz <bkfndrs@OZEMAIL.COM.AU>
>>Subject: Re: Weights
>>Date: Wed, Mar 29, 2000, 8:57 PM
>>Amongst other weights already mentioned, we have been melting down
>old lead
>>and foundry type in an old, clean glue pot (the outer "water
>They can be picked up with one hand, weighing about 8lbs
>>(3.5 kg) each.  We have made ten in more recent months.
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