A very effective method of supporting a lead lining on the sides of a large tank may be seen in Fig. 21. On large tanks special support is necessary, as the lead is soft and very heavy and liable to creep on the vertical sides. This method consists in cutting out a number of shallow bowls in the sides of the tank, the number depending on the size of the tank. These bowls may be made with a carpenter's gouge. After the lead is in place, beat it into the bowls with a round-faced hammer or mallet, and secure the lead to the sides of the tank with a screw, as shown in the detail view in Fig. 21. These bowls should then be scraped bright and covered with tallow. Then, with the splash stick, throw the solder into the bowl in the same manner as for an ordinary joint. When the metal is ready for wiping, wipe the bowl quickly, leaving its surface flush with the lead lining. This covers the head of the screw, and makes a strong and permanent support for the heavy lead sides, which otherwise would be liable to sag in time.
Fig. 21. - Supporting of Lead Lining on Sides of Tank.
In addition to the subject of lead linings, there is also something to be said regarding the running of lead pipes. The bending of lead pipes was considered to some extent in the chapter on plumbers' tools.
Too much importance cannot be attached to the proper supporting of lead pipe.
Lead is a peculiar metal, and deteriorates much more rapidly if improperly put up, as is well known by the older lead workers. Lead in time seems to lose its life and grow rotten, and has not the sustaining strength that it has when new. Again, lead under heat becomes soft, not that its atoms expand in bulk to the extent that occurs in some other metals, but when heated, the atoms making up the body, under a slight expansion readily slip by each other. It is due to this action that a piece of lead pipe will bend more readily when heated than when cold. For this reason, great care should be exercised in the running of lead pipe, that it be well supported, in order that its own weight may not cause it to sag. The sagging of lead pipe carrying hot water is more common than the sagging of cold-water pipes. Very often lead pipe which is supported only by clips will be found supported at intervals of three and four feet. While such work as this looks good when new, it will be but a very short time before the pipe will have a wavelike appearance throughout its entire length, due to the sagging of the pipe between its supporting points. The sags will often cause the pipe to dip two or three inches from the horizontal. The sagging of lead pipes not only makes a very unworkmanlike piece of work, but such pipes cannot be entirely drained, water always remaining in the sags to freeze and burst the pipe in the event of the vacancy of the premises during cold weather. In addition, such sags, when they occur on hot-water pipes, interfere with, and often entirely interrupt the circulation of hot water.
To be well supported, clips should be placed every eighteen inches on a horizontal line. This will result in good work, work which will retain its proper alignment for many years. One of the best methods of supporting horizontal lines of lead pipe, and a very easy method, is to nail up strips of board and run the pipe on the edge of the board. Suppose, for instance, that the pipe is to be run under a floor. The plumber would naturally arrange the work as far as possible so that the pipes would follow the timbers through the spaces rather than cross the timbers. The latter method often requires much cutting and consequent weakening of timbers, and there is also the possibility of sagging between timbers. When conditions are such that the pipes can follow along the timber, nail narrow strips of board to the side of the timber, giving the strips such pitch as would be required for proper drainage. The pipe should be run on the upper edge of this strip, supporting it with clips as often as is necessary to hold it from slipping off. This, of course, does not need to be often, as the clips do not in any way support the weight of the pipe.
Fig. 22. - Support for Horizontal Line of Lead Pipe.
Work run in this manner will look as well, and be in as good condition ten years after being installed as at the time it is put up.
provided the proper weight of pipe has been used to withstand the existing pressure.
A modification of this same idea can be applied to pipes run horizontally in the cellar. Suppose a single line of lead pipe is to be run through the cellar. Take strips of board, furring strips, for instance, supporting these strips to the timbers above, as shown in Fig. 22, and shortening the supports in order to give the pipe its proper pitch. A very good idea is to run a line through the cellar, to serve as a guide in securing the proper pitch.
When a number of pipes are to be run side by side, as is often required, let the board selected be of sufficient width to hold the desired number of pipes,, and the same means of support described above may be used.
This makes an excellent support, and not only are the pipes always protected from sagging, but in the event of repairs, the workman has simply to mount his steps, when he can look directly down upon all the pipes, select the one on which he wishes to work, and many times complete the necessary repairs without removing the pipe from its position. Any moving or bending of pipes on repair work should be avoided whenever possible, as the pipe will always stretch more or less, and get somewhat out of shape.
Fig. 23. - Supporting of Lead Pipe between Timbers.
When pipes must be run across timbers, instead of in the direction in which the timbers run, the method shown in Fig. 23 may be used to give support to the pipe between timbers. This method consists simply in nailing strips of board between the timbers, on which the pipe may rest.
An objection to using metal clips in supporting lead pipe is that, owing to the softness of lead, the clip will work into the pipe, sometimes sufficiently to weaken the pipe to a considerable extent.
Fig. 24. - Use of Lead Tacks.
This result is due to the weight of the heavy lead pipe coming upon the clips. Lead tacks, soldered to the pipe and screwed to the support, are also much used on lead supply work, both on concealed and on exposed piping. The use of lead tacks is shown in Figs. 24 and 25.
Fig. 25. - Use of Lead Tacks.
In Fig. 24 they are shown in pairs, and in Fig. 25 singly and alternately on opposite sides of the pipe.
These tacks are used on both horizontal and vertical lines of lead pipe.
As already stated, lead pipe is not now used to the extent that it formerly was, but has now been replaced by galvanized wrought iron and brass.
In many respects this change is for the best. While the plumber is unable to display the skill in installing pipe of other kinds than lead, wrought iron and brass are free from many of the evils that accompany the use of lead pipe.
Fig. 26. - Traps and Connections for a Line of Fixtures.