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Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

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  • Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

    Recently I bought a whole mess of metal blast gates, 5".

    I looked at them at LV and BB. Both appear to be selling the same blast gate, for about the same price (within a dollar or so of eachother, depending on how many you buy). I assumed both were selling the same product. They sure look the same online.

    Here's the LV gates:

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    And here's the busy bee:
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    I was already going to LV that weekend, so I thought I'd just buy them there. When I got to the store though, they were all out of stock! They offered to ship, but they weren't expecting stock for a couple weeks and I needed my DC system back up and running. So then I went to busy bee. They were already closed (who closes at 4 on a saturday?!), but I looked on line and saw that they could ship them right away, so I did that. A couple days later they arrived and I installed them all.

    I managed to miss one though, and I kept a reducer and a 4" gate on it till I could get around to swapping it out. Well, this week I was making a LV free shipping order, so I threw in the missing gate. It arrived today, and so I was able to compare the LV one with the BB one. They are definitely not the same!

    For starters, while they are both held together with 4 bolts in the corners, the BB one uses short little screws that screw into a tapped hole. The LV one has through bolts with a nut on the other side. Obviously the LV one will hold together better. The bigger difference, however, is in the sliding gate part. The BB model is made of a noticeably thinner gauge of metal - you can bend it quite easily. The LV one is made of a much thicker gauge and you cannot bend it easily at all. Much more importantly, because the LV one is thicker metal, it makes a much better seal when it is closed: the LV gate seals very well, whereas the BB one does not seal very well at all, and since I have 15 gates total, the cumulative affect of all those leaky BB gates is noticeable.

    I really wish I had known about these differences before hand, and I wish I had gotten the LV gates, rather than the BB ones.
    1atatime likes this.
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  • #2

    Re: Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

    Damn you. Why'd you have to mention free shipping? Now I have to order something from LV.

    I need to go out a check my blast gates. I think I have some from both places but never looked at them that close.
    the other Ken
    "Each flitch, each board, each plant can have only one ideal use. The woodworker, applying a thousand skills, must find that ideal use and then shape the wood to realize its true potential" - George Nakashima


    • #3

      Re: Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

      I just picked up 5x 6" gates from BB... I have not "used" them yet, but have fitted one up for temp trial.

      1. it fits into 6" duct work TOO easily. there is atleast 1/8" gap which to me means choking the flow.

      2. I removed 1 of the screws, replaced it with a longer one to attach a bracket it. That 1 screw was quite firm in the threads, granted years of vibrations could loosen it, I feel it was secure.

      3. I can't compare to LV ones, but I'm not worried about the gates being flimsy, however the lack of seal is concerning.

      I wonder if some mods can be made to improve the seal?

      good review
      [insert something witty here]


      • #4

        Re: Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

        Tom, for what its worth, both the LV one and the BB one fit loosely into standard duct work - about 1/8" of play like you said. Initially I just attached all the gates to the ducting with 3 screws, and thought that by having the ducting press tight to the gate, the seal between the duct and the gate would be good enough. But it was not. I lit some incense and watched the smoke, and it was sucking in like mad around the base of all the closed gates, between the duct and the gate. I ended up redoing them all by putting a thick bead of caulking around the connection: I put a thick goopy bead around the collar of the gate, then inserted it into the duct allowing the duct to smush and squeeze out the caulk; then I screw it in place, and then smoothed the caulk around the joint, thus making sure I had a good seal between duct and gate. You're right that it will still be choking off the flow a bit, since the inside diameter of the gate is still a bit under the duct diameter, but at least the joint is sealed and not leaking.

        As for the leaky gate itself, I'd love to hear some ideas for any mods that could help that. Aside from swapping out all the BB gates for nice LV ones, I'm not sure what could be done.


        • #5

          Re: Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

          good idea with the caulking.

          I was thinking something similar, but rather labour intensive;

          1. add tape onto sliding piece, top & bottom
          2. with gate closed, caulk top of slide, let cure
          3. take gate apart to peal tape from slide to leave caulk on front/back pieces
          4. repeat 2&3 with gate open
          5. caulk around outside of gate to seal that edge

          OR just a bead of caulking top & bottom of slide so it seals against rest of gate better.

          really just trying to reduce air infiltration points.

          sadly that is nearly as much work that would go into making your own gates from scratch.
          Last edited by beakie; 11-03-2017, 05:42 PM.
          [insert something witty here]


          • #6

            Re: Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

            All my gates are blackjack,so can't comment on the ones being discussed,but ,depending on the duct,fit could be better in some cases,but generally found ( mine are all 5") a crimped end helped,but ultimately,like every other joint in my system,I taped them,not just "duct tape" but real duct tape,the foil stuff, a roll goes a long way and seals everything nice and tight


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            • #7

              Re: Metal Blast Gates: BB vs. LV

              I found the 5" LV gates to be shorter and narrower than the BB ones. So loose I gave away the couple of LV gates I started with

              Also, this is curious. It just so happens all my blast gates are on the double ends of Y's.

              The Y's from Home Depot have one crimped end, the Y's from Lowes have two crimped ends and fit snugly over the BB blast gates.

              So snugly they need to be tapped on. The lighter slider and/or leakage from six gates doesn't concern me..

              Cheers, Don
              Don Kondra - Furniture Designer/Maker
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