How to cut top off of 35 gal plastic barrel? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I have a 35 gal. barrel from Coke which has both top and bottom. I would like to "cut" the top off to use the barrel as a rain barrel but I don't have any tools and wouldn't know what tool I would need so I could ask someone else to do it. Since you all are familiar with the type of barrel I'm talking about (or perhaps have cut one of your own) perhaps you can advise me as to what tool to look for or where I could get this done. Thanks!

-- GardenGal (, December 07, 1999


GardenGal; Looks like your post hasn't been answered yet, but here's my suggestion. At any home center in the pluming dept they have a " wire type tool that cuts plastic ", It's cheap but it might take you a while to slice thru the barrel. Go to a flea market look for a hand saw, or ask for one, but mark a line on the tank so you keep it cut straight. If you have a guy friend, ask him to use his skill saw and be careful, these are my suggestions. Good luck !

-- Furie (, December 07, 1999.

There is a large saw called a "saws-all" that most construction people have and it can also be rented at most rental places. Its a large jig saw type that will certainly do the trick. I would rent one if nothing else works. It will certainly cut through the plastic. I used one to cut a dishwash in half one time.

-- smfdoc (, December 08, 1999.

Take five minutes to sharpen the hatchet. With one hand hold hatchet with cutting against plastic drum. With other hand tap flat top of hatchet head with 9lb sledge or similar large hammer. It will cut the drum.

-- Ein (, December 08, 1999.

Pistol-type soldering guns can take a blade-shaped tip that cuts plastic. It does it by heating up and melting it, and the blade is shaped like a dime - not sharp. A little slow, maybe, but effortless and no sawdust, no fire danger.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), December 08, 1999.

Just an aside from an experience I had trying to make an agility tunnel (it's a dog sport obstacle, long story) by cutting off the ends of those plastic barrels...

If you cut through the side of the barrel, rather than cutting out the circle of the top, the barrel may lose it's shape.

We didn't have the best tools to do it at the time. Probably a recipricating saw would work well. The plastic barrels we had ended up being awfully sharp in places, so we also used sand paper to take the roughness/sharpness down.

After it lost it's shape and we went to do this again, I took it to a guy who had a whole workshop at his disposal. I'm not sure what he used to cut it with, but he used a blowtorch (lightly) to melt the rough/sharp edges.

-- winter wondering (, December 08, 1999.

GardenGal, We used a skill saw to cut the tops off of some of our 35 gallon drums that we got from Coke. A fine tooth or reversing another type of blade will work.

-- getting ready (, December 08, 1999.


If you're going to use "the rain barrel" as part of a rain catchment system, why cut the top off at all? Just pipe the water in at the top ( a funnel comes to mind if the water is coming out of your "down spouts" :-)

-- CT (ct@no.yr), December 09, 1999.

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