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Old 06/13/09, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,018
how do you cut open a plastic barrel?

Have 55 gal plastic barrel and have a drill to make the holes on the side I need for the pig watering attachment but um... embarrassed to ask... how do I cut open / off the lid? (Can you tell I'm new at this??)
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Old 06/13/09, 11:14 AM
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Old 06/13/09, 11:37 AM
gone-a-milkin's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: MO
Posts: 10,705
Drill a hole to start and then use a jigsaw or a sawzall to cut around.
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Old 06/13/09, 12:38 PM
In Remembrance
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: South Central Kansas
Posts: 11,076
A handsaw will also cut them but isn't easy and it is hard on the saw and will dull it.

As already mentioned a reciprocating saw is probably the best tool.

BTW, if your barrel is like mine it might be best to cut in the proper area for most strength.

Where the side of the barrel tapers to its smallest area near the top I expect it then flares back out. If you cut above the smallest area you will cut into an area that has more material, hence stronger. It does take more cutting effort to cut there however. Cut too high and you might cut above the actual lid portion.

Last edited by Windy in Kansas; 06/13/09 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 06/13/09, 02:52 PM
CIW CIW is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Utah
Posts: 1,211
I have had good luck cutting them with a skill saw. I use them for watering horses.
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Old 06/13/09, 03:13 PM
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Walter Jeffries
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Mountains of Vermont, Zone 3
Posts: 9,506
We use a skilsaw. One person holds the barrel horizontally on the ground, rotating it slowly and the other person cuts the barrel with the skilsaw holding the saw basically still. A table saw might work too. A sawsal works but doesn't give as nice a cut.

The plastic also drills out right nice.

Work safely.
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Old 06/13/09, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,349
A sharp keyhole saw will do a nice neat job. Not quite as easy as a powered saw but not dauntingly difficult. Why are you cutting off the lid? Easy to fill through the bung, unless you have to fill it with a bucket.

Last edited by 65284; 06/13/09 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 06/13/09, 03:50 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
Cut the hole in the end section and leave a 3 inch lip around the edge. If you cut the end off by cutting the side of the barrel it will lose its shape. A recip saw, jig saw or router will work fine.
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Old 06/13/09, 04:34 PM
CSA again's Avatar
Western North Carolina
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Western North Carolina
Posts: 459
Be careful if you use a skill saw the hot plastic can cause it to bind up and kick out.
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Old 06/13/09, 05:08 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: scott county, virginia
Posts: 845
chainsaw makes quick work of it.
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Old 06/13/09, 06:46 PM
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I drill a hole in the top and than use a jig saw or a sawzall that way the barrel stays rigid
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Old 06/13/09, 06:58 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 473
We used to leave the lip cutting in from a bung w/ the sawz-all to cut the lid out & drilled two opposingg holes 'bout 4" dpwn and cut two handle holes to make trash can. Had them all around the terminal/yard.

One guy did a dozen for his kids little league b/4 they started re-cycling the drums & switching to tote bins drying up the supply of drums...
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Old 06/13/09, 06:59 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: West Central Arkansas
Posts: 3,615
I use a jig saw. I also cut them horizontally.I build a stand out of two landscape timbers and a 2x4. Make a rectangle to set the barrel in and place a 2x4 on each top side end so it will not rotate and well la a good feeder or water trough.
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Old 06/13/09, 07:46 PM
ozark_jewels's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 9,246
I make mineral feeders out of 55 gallon plastic drums. I cut the holes with a jigsaw. Makes really easy work of it.
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Old 06/13/09, 08:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,273
DH uses the jig saw to cut and I use my mighty a... um... posterior to hold it down.
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