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How to remove railings set in lead


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Hi,

I am currently working on the restoration of gates and railings for a church in Ireland. They were installed circa 1830 and have footings set in lead within a limestone capping. WE are currently trying to plan their removal. The railing sections have 6 footings per section and melting the lead would prove tricky at all these points simultaneously. We are considering cutting at the stone capping and removing the footings individually and re-welding the footings back on to the railing.

any comments would be welcome

also is their a les toxic alternative to lead out there for re-fitting??

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There are specialized epoxies that are used to set bolts for industrial machinery which work excellently.

Generally you don't have to melt all the lead out to get the railing out. Heating the iron and shaking will usually free it enough to be lifted out if there are no protrusions on the bottom. The shaking will enlarge hole in the lead.

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Mojo,

Did a job in Nothern Jersey where we pulled old railing sections out of drilled fieldstone. We heated the bar close to the lead setting and shook the assembly. The lead loosens up and allows the bar to come free. I noted some of the bars at junctions were extrta deep set in the stone and they had a twist on the end to hold fast. We first tried to heat the stone area in hopes of melting off the lead but some of the stones fractured with the heat. Our method of choice on that particular job was heating the bar.

As an alternative to lead setting consider using a poly based resin manufactured by the Philadelphia Resins Corporation. The prodcut name is "Chock-Fast". The product is ideal for harsh enviroment applications, it is not effected by temperature vibtration or moisture and it is reasonably priced. The cure time is depedent on the volume of the set but within 24 hours the product has sufficently hardened to be machined.

Good luck, Peter

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Heat the bar to melt the lead, shake railing to loosen holes, remove- Use Mounting epoxy or fortified grout for remount. What ever you do, don't heat the stone to melt the lead. Cutting is a good option (as high above ground level as you can) if you can't loosen one post at a time.

Last thing I would try is blowing hot lead out of a small hole....kinda like blind cutting with a plasma cutter...Make sure the insurance is up to date:rolleyes:

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Some great adice folks. I think heating the bar and shaking the reailing is worth a go. Designing a jacking system also so will see how it goes. There are 4 or 5 fottings per section so trying to heat all together may prove difficult unless I can work along each one.

HEating the stone is not an option and the way the footings are designed the ball shape covers the opening in the stone completely - these guys meant these railings to stay in place!

Job starting next week so will let you know how I get on.

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I have thought of that - hence we won't use epoxy around the footings. I think lead is probably the best option here. Would only use and epoxy if we were leaving the footings in place and drilling anchor holes into the footings themselves in which case they could be cut.

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