Got any tips for restoring old gas cans?


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Old 04-07-2012, 02:01 AM   #1
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Default Got any tips for restoring old gas cans?

I've been working on cleaning out, organizing and generally working on making my workshop a place for me to hangout since the wife refuses to relinquish control over a single nook of the basement or garage.



Anyway, one of the things I want to do is fix up some old gas cans to use as "decor." And I have a few questions.

Question 1 is about this can:



I have a couple 'vintage' Sunoco stickers for it and the paint code to match the blue.



The can is in great shape. Should I try to sand it? Or just prime it then paint it? My fear is if I try to sand it I'll end up with "sanding" marks after I paint it. Maybe I should just clean it then prime/paint it?


My next question is about this one:



Yeah, it's rough. Could a body shop blow the dents out with an air compressor?

Thanks



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Old 04-07-2012, 03:54 AM   #2
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Ummm- that would be a caiptal NO. Pressure that would pop out a dent is right next to pressure that would cause the can to rupture. See also Hand Grenade and Shrapnel Wounds. BTW, the safety can is supposed to have a brass screen inside the filler neck (flame arrestor) They go missing a lot.



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Old 04-07-2012, 04:15 AM   #3
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I work in the auto body industry.. any info you need I'd be glad to help.

As stated above.. no you cannot use pressure to pull the dent. You'd have better luck using a "stud puller", if you don't mind grinding,filling and sanding it afterwards.

The other can you should sand or at least scuff using a scotch brite pad. If you want to sand it, start with 150 or 220 grit sand paper to take it down to the metal. You can then move to a finer grit (400-600) to clean up your sand scratches. Use a "build" primer/surfacer to fill any light scratches and smooth it out with a sanding block and 400grit or finer (depending on the paint you will use) for a smooth surface. Then you're ready for paint.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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I agree with C3 and Urban on popping out the dents. If the safety can has any gas smell to it be careful with heat or sparks, if you even think it may fire up or explode run compressed air into it while you stud weld or grind on it. This will not stop a fire but it will stop an explosion with a controlled fire. I have welded up several boat 6gal. gas cans that have split from leaving the vent closed and this method worked fine.

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Old 05-02-2012, 08:56 PM   #5
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I lost my brother to a welding accident.
He was welding on a 55 gal drum and did not know what the barrel contained earlier in its life.

My suggestion? Keep the thing full of running water if you plan on applying any heat.

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Old 05-02-2012, 09:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danf_fl
I lost my brother to a welding accident.
He was welding on a 55 gal drum and did not know what the barrel contained earlier in its life.

My suggestion? Keep the thing full of running water if you plan on applying any heat.
Actually thats a bad idea. Especially if it contains a petroleum based product. Think of it as "oil and water not mixing". How many times have you seen oil slicks floating on top of water? It would most likely spread fire it it happened. It would be best to fill with a fire retardant foam or powder after trying to clean it out the best you can.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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Argon or Nitrogen will work too by displacing the oxygen, but running compressed air thru it will let the flames ( if any ) out of the opening. I have heard the horror stories of barrels and gas cans exploding on welders. The key here is if heat is applied be prepared for it, as gas fumes are what burn and not the liquid. I have seen several barrels filled with water to be cut up and didn't really feel that was all that safe.

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Old 05-05-2012, 09:44 PM   #8
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A biker I used to know who built custom bikes would, when he had to weld gas tanks, pour a bottle of vinegar and a box of baking soda into the tank and let it sit until the fizzing stopped. The resultant CO2, being heavier than air, would displace the air and fumes in the tank and fill it with inert gas.



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