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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default what's the safest way.......


    What's the safest way of cutting an old oil tank or propane tank .



    SPOOLMATE 3035

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    WY...armpit of U.S.A.


    Fill the tank with water and have at it.
    Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
    Miller DialArc 250
    Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
    Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
    Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
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    Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
    Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
    3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
    Lots of dust bunnies
    Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    WyoRoy gave you one way of safely cutting containers that have contained explosive substances. I have another that you may not like, and I certainly mean no disrespect or am I discounting your abilities. My suggestion is take it somewhere where they know how to safely do it and see if they will allow you to observe, or if they will give you details on how to do it. I personally do not think this is an area for someone to be going it alone just learning the process. Whatever you decide, just remember it will not matter one bit what process or how well you were doing if something goes wrong. Stay safe and good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    If you got the slightest tinge of doubt or second thoughts....


    I won't cut on one, don't care if someone's cut a thousand of them & knows the best way to do it.

    Nope, not me.

    Only takes one time being on the wrong end of a situation gone bad to kill you, or at the very least, leave you maimed for the rest of your life.

    I know a guy who works for a company that refurbs rail cars & does a lot of tankers. They had a propane car come in that needed a section of the tank replaced. They steam cleaned it out like they always do, but didn't get on it immediately afterwards. A few days later, the crew came in & a guy started to cut the bad section of tank out. Propane was so deeply absorbed into the metal, that more began to seep out in the days following the steam cleaning.

    The inside of the car exploded & flipped over on it's side.

    Luckily, the cutter didn't get seriously injured, but it scared the heII out of him. I was surprised he didn't get killed. My buddy said he's glad he works on the other end of the shop & never has to do jobs like that.

    Sure, I heard the story secondhand, but he's not the kind of guy that makes stuff up so if the "experts" wanna refute it, take a long walk.........

    After hearing that, there's NO way I'll go near any tank. NO matter how "safe" it may be.

    IMHO of course.
    So you're telling me...You're not nostalgic? Then, give me another word for it......

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Cave Creek Az


    Safest way would be to use abrasive string underwater. Might take you a year or two though. Just fill it with water as suggested.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    northern NJ


    No experience to speak of on propane tanks but there is a LEL meter that measures gases. I would also say if your hesitant then don't. Also an internet forum is not the place to get advice on something like this as some people will state things as fact which aren't. I'm not saying any of the above info is good or bad, just saying it's impossible to tell the bs from the good sometimes & you don't want to find out the hard way..
    Trailblazer 250g
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    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
    Arco roto-phase model M
    Vectrax 7x12 band saw
    Miller spectrum 875
    30a spoolgun w/wc-24
    Syncrowave 250

  7. #7


    Let it air out for as long as you can, run car exhaust in it for a while (nuetralizes atmosphere), fill it with water then use a cutting wheel on a grinder to make your first cut. I cut my whole tank on my smoker with a cutting wheel but i think that once you make an initial cut you can go to fire if you want to (if its still filled with water that might get interesting). Using a sawzall or jig saw might be a safer method but take several blades.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Salem ,Ohio


    Quote Originally Posted by joshcarlegis55 View Post
    Let it air out for as long as you can, run car exhaust in it for a while (nuetralizes atmosphere)
    Sorry Josh thats the biggest myth on the planet. Car exhaust has lots of LEL (the stuff that burns) in it. Don't care if its diesel or a gas engine it does. I just retired from a refinery where we did stuff like this almost everyday. Our LEL meters used to go off just walking up a roadway and a fork truck or crane drove by and what was it (the meter) picking up? the LEL in the exhaust. I wouldn't do it either in my shop anyway at the refinery no problem. They have the proper stuff to clean it and the meters to check when clean to be sure without a doubt its clean. Don't make yourself front page news. Have a ring rolled and start with new steel its easier and safer...Bob
    Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
    Metal Master Fab Salem, Oh 44460
    Birthplace of the Silver & Deming Drill
    1999 MM185 w/185 Spoolgun,1986 Thunderbolt AC/DC
    Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.

  9. #9


    Safest way is a scrap shear on an excavator after the tank has been properly remediated. Anything else is just foolish and stupid.

  10. #10


    I have cut one.

    It was an old underground tank. Dug it out, by hand too. 200 gal tank.

    I had taken off the valves and etc and left it out in open for several years. Not sure how many years at the moment, but over three anyway.

    No odor smell to it, I filled it up with water. Got busy with other things for a few weeks. Just made sure that it stayed full of water.

    Since it was an underground tank, it had two 18 inch tall pipes welded to it for the valves and etc. I just left them on for the moment. The water level in tank was all the way up in the 18 in. tall pipes.

    I cut on the tank at the top of the tank near the upright pipes. The water put out the torch flame shortly after I burned into the tank. No fire or big boom, just extingushed the torch. Water drained out of the standing pipes and I finished making the cut on the tank. About a foot long cut. I also cut off the two upright pipes.

    That left me with a 200 gal tank full of water. So I drained it by making another cut on the tank near the bottom on one end of the tank. Took a bit longer of course than the first cut, but I got it drained.

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