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  1. #1
    bjybjy started this thread.
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    Question Question about large brass pipe with steel fixtures and cast iron pipe

    My work had to redo the water line coming into the building. They cut out a 5 foot piece of large cast iron pipe with vales and fixtures, and a piece of heavy duty brass pipe, plus a ton of smaller copper and brass pipe. They were going to throw it away and I got permission to take them instead.

    I've never scrapped anything like either of these big pipes, in the past I did mostly light iron and e-scrap.

    The cast iron pipe probably weighs about 150-200 pounds, and has some valves and stuff attached.

    The brass pipe probably weights 75-100 pounds and has some big pressure reducing values and other valves attached, but is mostly big chunky brass pipe by weight. The pipe diameter itself is either 3 or 4 inches but some of the brass joints and pieces are probably closer to 10 inches in diameter.

    I have an angle grinder that I was barely able to cut the big iron pipe in half with but don't have the ability to do much else with it. I assume cutting the steel valve handles off wouldn't change much with the grading?

    The brass pipe is all wonky with different angles and shapes so I can't really get an angle to cut it apart and the big pressure reducing valves (with steel bolts) and what not I think are too much for my grinder to safely tackle.

    Any insight into what I should expect to get from this at a scrapyard? Specifically what grade of brass would be reasonable. I just want to go in prepared so I don't get taken advantage of, and I don't really have the ability to break it down much further.

    Thanks in advance.



  2. #2
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    Where I sell, if the vast vast vast majority of the weight is cast iron and is otherwise "contaminated" with only tiny amounts of non-cast irons then it can go with clean cast iron. But otherwise expect HMS prep or something like it whether you separate the steels or not. By your description, see if your yard will give you "95% brass" or something like it for the brass pipe as is. They might categorize it as 80% brass breakage (high grade brass breakage" if it's not a yard that has flexible categories.

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  4. #3
    bjybjy started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJinLV View Post
    Where I sell, if the vast vast vast majority of the weight is cast iron and is otherwise "contaminated" with only tiny amounts of non-cast irons then it can go with clean cast iron. But otherwise expect HMS prep or something like it whether you separate the steels or not. By your description, see if your yard will give you "95% brass" or something like it for the brass pipe as is. They might categorize it as 80% brass breakage (high grade brass breakage" if it's not a yard that has flexible categories.
    So for the brass I would get about 80% of the brass price? $1.60/lb if it were $2/lb?

    Thanks for the help.
    Cheers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bjybjy View Post
    So for the brass I would get about 80% of the brass price? $1.60/lb if it were $2/lb?

    Thanks for the help.
    Cheers.
    No because there is recovery costs built into the pricing. They'll either have to pay someone to cut it to separate the non-brass or it goes to a shredder. Either way 80% as a category will usually pay around 55-65% of clean brass. Around Las Vegas anyway, your mileage may vary

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    can you post a few pics of it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nealcrenshaw View Post
    can you post a few pics of it?
    This may also can be a great help resolving the issue if you permits to.

  9. #7
    bjybjy started this thread.
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    I'll try to get a photo uploaded, I don't have the piece with me right now since it is in storage at work. I wrote my local yard via their request a quote on their website and described what it was. They said it would qualify as "refinery brass" which is $.60 a pound. I know a photo will help, but does that sound reasonable? Thanks.

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    It's probably correct. If you are able to just get pieces of brass pipe all by itself cut off with no valves or anything else on those pieces, then those pieces would be double that price or more...and the leftovers would go as "refinery brass".

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    It's really not such a bad deal if they will give you .60 / lb for it.

    If it's coming into the building ... it might be a pressure reducer, a water meter, or a backflow preventer. It could be a combination of all three. It's not a bad job to break it all down if you have the tools and have some time to kill. You could make quite a bit of progress with a couple of three foot pipe wrenches and an oxy acetylene torch. You might need some 1/2" drive sockets and an impact gun along with some large wrenches. Let's be real though .... most folks don't have that kind of investment in tools. It's probably thousands of dollars. Why spend that kind of money if you're not using the tools on a regular basis ? Doesn't make sense.

    Just an opinion, but i think the better thing for you would be just to break it down into a couple of smaller pieces and sell it as "refinery brass". The main reason for breaking it down is simply to make it easier to handle. Sixty or seventy pounds is about all you really wanna be lifting. A couple of hundred pounds is a bit much to be hossing around. $hit gets broken and people get hurt that way.

    You got an angle grinder .... right ?

    Take a run down to the hardware store and see if they've got some 1/16" cutoff wheels. They are thin wheels that are good for cutting bolts.

    Now .... take a look at that 5 foot piece of pipe you've got there. Look for the weak spots. My guess would be that there are some flanged connections in there somewhere ? They are probably bolted together at the flanges. Did they use just two bolts or a whole bunch of bolts ? If it's just a couple of bolts with nuts on the end .... you could use your angle grinder to cut them.

    Another weak spot would be where they made threaded connections. There's a section of pipe with threads on each end ? That section of pipe should cut pretty easy ... especially if it's brass.

    A sawzall would also be a good tool for cutting it all up into man sized chunks if you have one. A 7 1/4" circular saw with a metal cutting blade could be used in places too.

    ~The main thing is just to make it easier to handle.~
    Last edited by hills; 01-12-2021 at 05:53 AM.

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    Cut the brass to get rid of the steel. It is softer to cut and it is the more valuable resource. You can cut brass apart pretty easily. Now you can cut two linier lines on both sides of the steel (cast) with a hacksaw and just use a chisel to pop the threaded brass of the steel threads. A brass valve should have a threaded packing nut on the top if the valve that can be loosened and removed to take the valve apart. Again, if it is limed together, make some cuts through the threads and loosen to the point where you can remove.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hills View Post
    It's really not such a bad deal if they will give you .60 / lb for it.

    If it's coming into the building ... it might be a pressure reducer, a water meter, or a backflow preventer. It could be a combination of all three. It's not a bad job to break it all down if you have the tools and have some time to kill. You could make quite a bit of progress with a couple of three foot pipe wrenches and an oxy acetylene torch. You might need some 1/2" drive sockets and an impact gun along with some large wrenches. Let's be real though .... most folks don't have that kind of investment in tools. It's probably thousands of dollars. Why spend that kind of money if you're not using the tools on a regular basis ? Doesn't make sense.

    Just an opinion, but i think the better thing for you would be just to break it down into a couple of smaller pieces and sell it as "refinery brass". The main reason for breaking it down is simply to make it easier to handle. Sixty or seventy pounds is about all you really wanna be lifting. A couple of hundred pounds is a bit much to be hossing around. $hit gets broken and people get hurt that way.

    You got an angle grinder .... right ?

    Take a run down to the hardware store and see if they've got some 1/16" cutoff wheels. They are thin wheels that are good for cutting bolts.

    Now .... take a look at that 5 foot piece of pipe you've got there. Look for the weak spots. My guess would be that there are some flanged connections in there somewhere ? They are probably bolted together at the flanges. Did they use just two bolts or a whole bunch of bolts ? If it's just a couple of bolts with nuts on the end .... you could use your angle grinder to cut them.

    Another weak spot would be where they made threaded connections. There's a section of pipe with threads on each end ? That section of pipe should cut pretty easy ... especially if it's brass.

    A sawzall would also be a good tool for cutting it all up into man sized chunks if you have one. A 7 1/4" circular saw with a metal cutting blade could be used in places too.

    ~The main thing is just to make it easier to handle.~
    Good advice, but I would work the brass with a hacksaw, not the cutoff wheel. Cutoff wheels aren't that happy cutting brass. Now a sawzall with work well with a fine blade if you can get to what you want to cut and can hold it to cut it.


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