25 lb. Pigs

I have a few pigs that we’ve used for weights when padding. They are coated with a lot of dried glue. (20 years worth) I’ve been chipping away at them and have gotten most of the glue off. I was wondering if I put these into my ludlow pot, would the glue burn off or would it mess up my machine? Thanks

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The glue will float and smoke and make awful smells, i did the same thing, first i cut them into 2 or 3 pound pieces on my saw, then as soon as they melt i skimmed the glue off the top of the pot.

My suggestion: Put the 2 or 3 pound pieces in a bucket or pan of water and let them soak till the glue has dissolved, then strip off the rest of the glue. Avoid putting anything in the pot other than clean lino/ludlow metal. Do not use plumbers lead, or foundry type (BB&S especially) which has copper in it, and is especially harmful to linecasting machines.
Be kind to your Ludlow, treat it right!

Never mix lead and water, i would rather put the lead with glue on it in the pot, the old glue will float, i agree with not mixing the foundry type in your ludlow pot but i would never soak lead in water, if any water gets trapped under melted lead it will cause an explosion.

Of course you need to the dry pig thoroughly first before melting it. But I think trying to soak off the glue is preferable to putting it into the pot to burn. The fewer impurities into the pot, the less dross, the less skimming, and the less reduction of alloyed tin and antimony in the typemetal.

Soak them in water, the glue (if PVA) should come off.

After soaking in hot water for 2-3 hours, the glue softened up to where I could scrap it off with an ink knife. I will let them dry for a couple days before use. Not sure what PVA glue is but most of this glue was the heavy type of glue you use for scratch pads, etc. Somerset Type Metal Co. made these pigs from many moons ago, so I suppose it’s pretty good lead. Thanks everyone for helping out.

I’ve got tons of pigs myself….. and I use them for paperweights, and bookbinding weights all of the time. They USED to get coated with glue…. but I found a solution; I wrap my weights in brown paper. Then when they get all gluey, I throw the paper away and rewrap them.

BUT…. back tio the problem: soaking in water does not always soften pva glue. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I used to clean my pigs back in the pre-wrapping days by heating the glue with a hot-air gun….. it just peels pva right off.

Dick, your right about hot lead and water exploding. The only time I had water near hot lead was when I was cleaning my Ludlow. I couldn’t get the plunger out and was told if you pour a very little amount of cold water inside the plunger, it would contract and then slide out easily. Well, I missed the plunger and water and lead splattered everywhere, except on me, i was lucky. That idea does work, just make sure you aim well.

Dennis, next time you need to do the water trick, put a clean rag on the hot lead around the plunger, then instead of water drop an ice cube or two in the plunger.

I’ve used the ice cube trick with good results in the past. You need to have the cubes sized to fit in between the plunger edge and shaft lever or you get some over run.


I don’t like water and lead, when i was learning linotype, i was also the one who cast the pigs, we had a flood and all the smelting tools were under water. When the 800 lb. pot was melted i held each tool over the pot to dry them before dipping them into the lead. After the pot was fluxed and the dross removed it was time to dip the ladel and start pouring pigs. there was nothing on the lead that could burn, i held the large ladel over the lead upside down to dry it when it slipped from my hands and went under the lead, there was a huge fireball and i don’t know if i fell or was blown over but i cralled into the bathroom as fast as i could and listened to lead hitting the walls for a few minutes, when i looked out there thw lead went 15 feet across the room and 12 to 15 feet up the wall. I had heard of lead blowing up but i thought it was just the old guys trying to scare the new kid. I know now that it can really blow up, i was lucky to only singe my eye brows a little and managed to not get hit by the flying lead, even doing the water trick to pull a plunger on my ludlow makes me nervous, i try to clean the plunger every week so i don’t have to do the watertrick. Water and lead is really not a good idea.

Wow, scary! I like your your bottom line. Clean your ludlow every week and your plunger won’t get stuck.

Lead and water dont mix if on top of lead-burn off if ANY moisture gets under it will have expolosion. Wjere I worked we had autocaster and verylarge pot—once someone forgot to remove plastic cut from plate and we had good one went across floor and almost got me was near pot trimming mat 50lb puddle bookeeper ran upstairs. We used to burn paper in pot by shoving strip of same plastic into metal when casting pigs—put in too much and blew hood off top of pot. almost lost eye. Another time had bad storm and it blew water on pot thru exaust pipe-Boom exaust sw was not on had skin seared-whole arm once when slipped—BE CAREFUL