Adding weight to a piece

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Forum topic by CharlesA posted 05-02-2015 11:09 AM 1072 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CharlesA's profile


3320 posts in 1794 days

05-02-2015 11:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Ever need to add weight to a project to make it more stable? I made a full size model of a piece yesterday out of 2×4s. I wanted to add weight to the bottom to make it more stable. I got the bright idea of adding some big fishing lead sinkers to holes I drilled in each leg sealed with epoxy. Worked really well. However, I did a little reading and it appears that led can corrode over time from the moisture in the wood. Any thoughts on lead corrosion or a lead substitute?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

12 replies so far

View lcwood's profile


218 posts in 2761 days

#1 posted 05-02-2015 11:23 AM

my 2c

sometime ago I see one mallet with small balls of lead inside. looks nice because it is enclosed. I guess it is fine.

maybe you can enclose the lead in epoxy and then insert in the wood. removing the contact and protecting the lead.

not the same weight but if it possible in the project, concrete last forever

View tyvekboy's profile


1752 posts in 3010 days

#2 posted 05-02-2015 12:05 PM

I think whom ever was concerned with lead “corroding” in the wood was over thinking it.

Over 40 years ago I built a floor smoking pipe stand and poured about 20 pounds of lead in a cavity I made in the base. I have not noticed any corrosion yet.

It could be that I poured the lead in the cavity while it was hot and fluid might have made a difference.

Today I go to local tire shops and ask for tire weights when ever I need lead.

The last time I used lead in a project was when I made the center board for my sail boat.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View becikeja's profile


882 posts in 2810 days

#3 posted 05-02-2015 01:53 PM

I built a moving wall sculpture about 10 years ago. I used buckshot inside a pine cylinder as the drop weight. About 6lbs. everything is still working and looking great.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

View Beams37's profile


166 posts in 1187 days

#4 posted 05-02-2015 02:26 PM

I’m no lead expert, but I would say that if you were concerned, coating the lead would be a great idea, as mentioned by LCWood. Possible solutions: Wax, Epoxy, CA Glue, That stuff you can dip the handles of your pliers in?

-- FNG ... On a quest for knowledge.

View CharlesA's profile


3320 posts in 1794 days

#5 posted 05-02-2015 02:47 PM

Thanks everyone. After reading your responses, I was looking at options. I had not thought of buck shot. I was considering using epoxy and a plastic sleeve to insulate the lead, but I just discovered that one can buy nickel plated buck shot, and nickel does not react to moisture or wood, as far as I can tell. I may just be able to use it alone.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3082 days

#6 posted 05-02-2015 03:17 PM

They have quit using lead tire weights. It used to be a good source of lead for pouring bullets, as well
as the lead they used to use to set type in newspapers-although that was a little hard- getting harder
to be cheap. Guess I may have to use bolts and pieces of steel for weight.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ChefHDAN's profile


1062 posts in 2846 days

#7 posted 05-02-2015 06:42 PM

Charles, not sure what the size of the project is, I did a pedestal table, and a set of jumpstands I was concered about stabilty and needed a weighted base, and I used MDF blocks to put weight in the base structure. If you’ve got the space to hide the mass it could be another option.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Kazooman's profile


1006 posts in 1949 days

#8 posted 05-02-2015 09:20 PM

Depleted uranium is very dense and pretty resistant to corrosion.

View Kazooman's profile


1006 posts in 1949 days

#9 posted 05-02-2015 09:31 PM

I lost a lot of text on the post I made. No idea why that happened, other than I tried to use a smiley face emoticon after my line of text.

I reentered the missing text and added some more thoughts as an edit. All of that was also lot when I hit the save the changes button. I am not going to go for the third try. Your lead should be just fine.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18269 posts in 3673 days

#10 posted 05-03-2015 02:26 AM

Charles, I have been cast bullet for over 40 years. All I have ever seen on any of them is minor oxidation. I would not worry bout it other than not allowing it to be where a child might access it and ingest it.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Bill_Steele's profile


297 posts in 1728 days

#11 posted 05-05-2015 09:22 PM

Not long ago I made a mobile base for my bandsaw. I’m not an engineer, but I thought it could benefit from some weight in the base so that it would be less “tippy” when moving around the shop—might help make it more solid with the casters locked—might dampen vibration. I know that some sailboats have ballast in the keel to create stability (to counter forces on the sail/mast). I decided to use concrete pavers/step stones and added about 80 lbs. to the base.

The result is a heavy (~125 lb) base that is not the slightest bit tippy when moving around the shop. It rolls fine on my concrete floor, but it does take a little effort to get the saw moving from a stand still.

I’m not sure if the weight added significant value. It seems to work for the purpose I intended. I’d love to hear from folks that are more knowledgeable about the science/physics behind adding weight and how the qty and placement of the weight might affect performance.

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1396 days

#12 posted 05-06-2015 03:56 AM

The whole idea about putting heavy things in the bottom is all about lowering the center of mass, a form of weight distribution, to maximize stability.

If you cannot find lead to melt down into blocks, you can use plenty of other things that, though not as dense, you can make up for easy in volume.
Such items include:
Zinc, pot metal, or brass: Melt and mold as you would lead.
Countertop granite: Most countertop shops give away their scrap granite, as it’s garbage to them. Black granite is the heaviest. Web-search on how to cut the stuff.
Window glass: Especially if you or a neighbor have replaced a bunch of windows, you can cut the panes into pieces as long and wide as you need, just stack multiple pieces until you have the required weight. If you have a pottery kiln, you can use it to melt a bunch of glass into a block. Web-search some know-how on melting glass.
Steel: Find some steel plate, or cut sheet steel, like in the glass suggestion above, from large kaput appliances, which are a good free source of flat sheet steel. Great for other projects, too!
Concrete: Pour concrete into a mold, or line the cavity that will receive the weight, with plastic sheeting, and pour the concrete right in. Include rocks (right out of your back yard!) to increase density, and reduce the amount of concrete needed. Bits of steel (old nails, nuts, bolts, etc.) can increase the density further.

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