Psst, anyone want to buy some iron filings?
September 28, 2009 7:57 AM   Subscribe

I've 'inherited' at least 50kg of some sort of ferrous filings in one large can, and one cotton/burlap bag. What should be done with them? Can I just take them to the dump? Should they go to some scrap metal depot?

We are cleaning out the basement to our home, where some of the previous owners posessions still remain. Small tidbits and stories from the neighbours paint the picture of the previous owner keeping everything. Among the 550kg of scrap plywood and bits and pieces, he's kept at least 50kg of some sort of iron/ferrous filings in a couple of containers.

I have no use for the stuff (What the heck is it used for, other than "something heavy"?). Is it useful to someone else, or should it just be 'thrown' (dragged) out?
posted by csmason to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mix them with oil and make a ferrofluid!
posted by jquinby at 8:00 AM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Make thermite and melt through concrete! (BT BE CAREFUL)
posted by CharlesV42 at 8:07 AM on September 28, 2009

They can be used to clean up contaminated groundwater.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2009

Iron filings can be used to make fire sparkly, like sparklers; put it on pinecones, give as gifts to people w/ fireplaces? Otherwise, recycle as metal.
posted by theora55 at 8:55 AM on September 28, 2009

Fill clear containers with a magnet and some viscous fluid and Make Magnet Toys!
posted by johnstein at 11:00 AM on September 28, 2009

Sracp yards will pay for this and might pay enough to cover your gas to take them there.
posted by Mitheral at 11:25 AM on September 28, 2009

Best answer: Ask a local science teacher (or art teacher??) if they might want them.
posted by CathyG at 11:39 AM on September 28, 2009

Best answer: The last fax I got from a scrap dealer said they were paying $.04/lbs for steel turnings, $.50/lbs for stainless. Expect to get royally screwed on both how much they think it weighs and the $/lbs they will pay. If it is stainless (non magnetic) a single magnetic chip found will turn the whole batch into plain steel (in the scrap guy's eyes). I've been in the metal fabrication business for thirty years and get screwed every other time I deal with those sons of a bitch.
posted by digsrus at 12:06 PM on September 28, 2009

Best answer: It can be sprinkled on the ground directly around spruce trees and they will begin to turn a bluish green (like a Colorado blue spruce) over time.
posted by albertagirl at 4:22 PM on September 28, 2009

It can be sprinkled on the ground directly around spruce trees...

Right! You can do this with hydrangeas as well.
posted by jquinby at 5:29 PM on September 28, 2009

Response by poster: Ah! The previous owner was apparently a super-gardener. It took me two days to dismantle his seed starter lighting / grow-op. Maybe that's why he has a bunch of this stuff lying around in bulk. Perhaps the best thing to do would be to let it live in the corner its been occupying for some time for a while longer...
posted by csmason at 5:59 AM on September 29, 2009

Definitely don't throw it out! I know this may be too late, but in the future you should take materials like this to recycling centers that will pay you for them (especially if you have large volume). There is a place in Southern California my work has used in the past to get rid of scrap metal we produce. They even come and pick it up and give my boss cash for it. Their site is Scrap Metal Recycling - Los Angeles. Good luck!
posted by mollyC at 8:12 AM on June 24, 2010

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