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Senior Charter Member
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Discussion Starter #1
I see a lot of used Magnesium ladders for sale, but don't see anyone who sells them new other than Chinese wholesalers. (looking for a 32' extension ladder) Which leads me to a couple of questions:

1. If I were to go look at a used one, how can I tell if it is magnesium or aluminum?

2. Why doesn't any reputable US ladder manufacturer or retailer sell them?
 

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Why would you want a manesium ladder? May be MARGINALLY lighter, but the corrosion issues far outweigh any benefits. IMHO of course.

Answers:

1) Take a propane torch with you.:evil:

2) Because the raw material costs too much.

I saw a Ti nail puller at the local hardware store...$240...and that's when I knew that the government had to have an account at that place!:001_rolleyes:
 

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Going nowhere fast.
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My dad has a really nice 2-story magnesium ladder. Seems more rigid than aluminum and much lighter. The thing is probably older than I am and shows no signs of corrosion.

Magnesium costs roughly twice as much as aluminum but it takes less energy to cast it, tool life is over 3x higher too.

Mike
 

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My dad has a really nice 2-story magnesium ladder. Seems more rigid than aluminum and much lighter. The thing is probably older than I am and shows no signs of corrosion.

Magnesium costs roughly twice as much as aluminum but it takes less energy to cast it, tool life is over 3x higher too.

Mike
I'm surprised about the corrosion thing. I have worked with quite a few parts that have a relatively high percentage of magnesium in them, more than enough to catch fire, and ALL of them had issues with corrosion. These included rims, transmission cases, and small levers/arms.

Just as a side note, everything that I have come accross is a mixture, AFAIK, of magnesium and aluminum.
 

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1st RFM/FFR Legacy Winner
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Magnesium is usually darker than aluminum. Neither are ferrous so the magnet test won't work

A quick way to tell the difference is magnesium reacts quickly to vinegar making hydrogen bubbles. Aluminum does not.

Greg
 

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Our sailing yacht masts were Mag alu alloys to help stiffen them, then they were anodized to prevent corrosion. The top racers experimented in the 70's with different % alloys and we all gained from their work. By early 80's the org of the race class had standardized with a design with one alloy, sadly I cannot remember the % and there is nothing online so maybe the design is now defunct.


Definitely better than pure Alu masts and didn't break as easily in strong weather.
 

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Our sailing yacht masts were Mag alu alloys to help stiffen them, then they were anodized to prevent corrosion. The top racers experimented in the 70's with different % alloys and we all gained from their work. By early 80's the org of the race class had standardized with a design with one alloy, sadly I cannot remember the % and there is nothing online so maybe the design is now defunct.


Definitely better than pure Alu masts and didn't break as easily in strong weather.
Are you sure about that? Magnesium has a pretty terrible modulus. Not that you can't optimize a structure to be stiff and lightweight when your base material has a low modulus, but that seems like an odd way to go about it.
 

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A magnesium ladder would be really strange. This material is almost always cast, great for engine valve covers, gear boxes, wheels, etc. Ladders would be an extrusion (long, thin, high bending strength), that's why aluminum alloy is great for this application.
 

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yes, it must be a west coast product. I havent seen a mag. ladder in the 25 yrs Ive been using ladders. I havent seen them sold in any supply companies around here. My dad had wood ladders growing up. All the extension ladders for my paint co. through HS and college were aluminum. For the last decade Ive been a general contractor and I have 2 FG step ladders, 1 FG small ext., and 3 aluminum tall extensions. Also, the scaffolding I have rented and my subs use is always steel.
Im curious, I would like to see a Mg ladder. I am wondering how the cast something long and thin. As a mech engineer, it doesnt make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mike,
I had done the same search. If you look at all the links they pretty much confirm my original premise, which is lots of people claim to have a used one and a few Chinese places offer to sell them wholesale (i.e. you need to buy 10 or more), but no one seems to sell a new one. So are the used ones really magnesium?????? And how come no one seems to sell them at retail???????
 

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yes, it must be a west coast product. I havent seen a mag. ladder in the 25 yrs Ive been using ladders. I havent seen them sold in any supply companies around here. My dad had wood ladders growing up. All the extension ladders for my paint co. through HS and college were aluminum. For the last decade Ive been a general contractor and I have 2 FG step ladders, 1 FG small ext., and 3 aluminum tall extensions. Also, the scaffolding I have rented and my subs use is always steel.
Im curious, I would like to see a Mg ladder. I am wondering how the cast something long and thin. As a mech engineer, it doesnt make sense.
If I remember I can take a picture when I am at my dad's house for Christmas. It is definitely extruded and not cast.

Mike
 

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I have a 32' magnesium extension ladder, made in the States, probably 40 years old. No corrosion. The rails are extruded and the steps are welded into the rails. It was missing one foot so I made a back-up of steel. The ladder is 60% the weight of an aluminum one. I'll be selling it sometime.

I use it to trim a 39' fir tree into the shape of an inverted cone, 13' radius at the bottom. Neighbor sold it to me. How I extend and bring the ladder to the tree by myself is to hoist it up to the next to the last rung with the rope which makes it an overall height of 30' pointing straight up into the sky. Wind can't be blowing. Then I tilt it back and into the tree. The last 8' or so of the tree I trim from the inside after stepping off the ladder.

I thought this ladder to be peculiar. Can't find anywhere else by Googling. I thought if there was a ladder museum in existence, I would donate to it. Only damage was to the rounded caps at the top which are missing.

I use it once every 2 years. I slide the two sections apart, grease, then put back together. One can barely see from its label that in fact it is made of magnesium. I don't recall who would have made it. It has the distinct oxidized magnesium surface.
 
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