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Thread: Cutting top off 55 gallon drum

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    Cutting top off 55 gallon drum

    Any tips from those who have done it? Would like to reuse the top as a lid if I don't destroy it.
    Farmer Steve

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    Would be hard to use if for a lid I think but the easiest way is to drill a hole next to the outside lip big enough to get ur jigsaw blade into it and then cut around the edge.

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    I think you will want to cut on the inside of the top portion, as opposed to the outside of the barrel. That will help maintain the rigidity of the barrel.

    There are plenty of people here that have done it. I am sure you will get some good ideas.
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    Since you have to cut out the center inside the top edge, it will no longer fit over the top. If you cut around the sides the barrel will be flimsey and won't hold it's shape. Make as different lid out of Trex or something or use a barrel that has a removable lid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kent Wallace View Post
    Since you have to cut out the center inside the top edge, it will no longer fit over the top. If you cut around the sides the barrel will be flimsey and won't hold it's shape. Make as different lid out of Trex or something or use a barrel that has a removable lid.
    I can make another lid if needed. I was wondering about keeping the top rim for stability, so thanks for that info. So just use a recip saw or jigsaw and just cut away and clean it up with a sander?
    Farmer Steve

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    Yep. Jigsaw worked better for me. I tried the reciporcating saw but it kept wanting to grab the lid and then it would vibrate and not cut.

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    Jig saw works great, use the rim to support the jig saw base as you move around the barrel and cut...
    For a lid, find one of your trash cans and see if one of the lids fit, then consider buying new trash cans and using the lid...
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    For mine, Norm (scrmnkg) cut inside the barrels, then cut plywood rounds for lids and used poly rope handles. Works great!
    Mary

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    Saber saw worked best for me. If I need a really clean edge after cutting, I'll run a a router around the inside with a long straight bit that had a bearing on the end of the bit.
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    Thanks all. I knew I wasn't the first one to cut the top off a barrel and all the DIY stickies seem to skip that simple step. :-)
    Farmer Steve

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    Just to throw an alternative out there, with the caveat that I wouldn't recommend this unless you're skilled in the shop, but I've had cleaner results assembling a roller jig and cutting the top off by rotating on a table saw.

    A general rule that has kept all of my fingers, toes, eyeballs, etc.. safe all of these years is this: If it doesn't feel safe, don't do it.

    -t

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    you can get a fine toothed blade for your recip sawor jig saw (like a hacksaw blade) cuts like butter and leaves a clean edge

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    I'm with "mpageler" on this one...the (longer) laminate edge trimming router bit with bottom bearing works great to clean up the edge after rough cutting with a jigsaw or reciprocating blade

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    I used a jig saw. It worked great. I used a big wood rasp to clean up the edge of the barrel cut. It worked very well. It may work better that a power tool. i find tht when I cut out platic to much power can make the plastic clog the cutting surface(grinder or drill)

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    I ended up using a jigsaw, then a laminate bit in a router. Made a smooth professional edge. One tip... the router clogged with plastic until I slowed the speed of the bit, then it cut like butter.
    Farmer Steve

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