Safely reuse case from blighted type.

I have a case that was filled with terribly blighted type; it was so badly corroded it couldn’t be saved.

The case itself is in surprisingly good shape considering, so I’d like to reuse it.

Do you have a preferred (safe) method for cleaning oxidized lead dust from old cases? I was thinking about a vacuum with a car-detailing kit, but most of the smaller vacuums I’ve seen are bagless. Do you have a vacuum you’d like to recommend?


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Lead oxide is highly toxic, but primarily when ingested or inhaled. Wear goggles and a dust mask and work outside and then any HEPA-filtered vacuum should do. The particles aren’t that small. As long as the moist surfaces of your eyes, nose, and throat are protected from airborne particles you should be fine. Even this is probably being over-cautious if you’re only cleaning one case, but medical types say there’s no such thing as a safe dosage of lead.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press

Thanks very much! Got a little ShopVac with a HEPA filter and a car detailing attachment kit that I’ll try out.

Another thing that might help you is sweeping compound (which is pretty much damp sawdust). It helps keep dust from entering the air by sort of ‘sticking’ to it. Might benefit you in this situation to load the typecase with sweeping compound before vacuuming.