How to pour a lead plumbing joint.

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Terry, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
  2. Geeeeze.....

    Terry, all this fame might go to my head...

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

    thanks for posting it..
  3. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    S. Maine
    Didja caulk the joint with both the inner and outer irons, and was it one continuous pour? :D
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    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.
  5. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Thanks for sharing Mark ... I have only read about this lost art and never saw how it was done. Kudos.
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    I added a few of the comments, let me know if there are more.
  7. lighten up on the coffe --- HJ

    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...
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2008
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    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.
  9. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    S. Maine
    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
  10. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Okay NH Master...


    Pour away!:cool:
    Scuuze me while I go look for my Joint Runner...
    It's been a while since I used it!
  11. something about playing with molten lead....

    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
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2008
  12. burleymike

    burleymike New Member

    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.
  13. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    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.
  14. when I was a kid...

    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..


  15. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Chicago, IL
    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.

    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.
  16. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Cave Creek, Arizona

    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.
  17. Pouring an up-side down joint...

    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

  18. tilelayher

    tilelayher New Member

  19. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    San Diego
    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 3½" 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!
  20. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    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.

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