My brother in law, a lawyer, represented a client that was cutting the top off a 55 gallon drum. The drum came from a scrap yard out in western North Dakota. The client was cutting the top off using an OA torch. The drum still had the bungs in place, was upright, and as he pierced the top with the torch, the drum launched like a rocket, as the bottom physically blew off. There still was an estimated 1/2 inch of the drums original flammable product. As the drum flew upward, it deposited this burning liquid on the idiot, causing 3rd degree burns, my BIL said he looked like Frankenstein. He did win the lawsuit, the manufacture of the drum did not comply with required labeling (a technicality, as it did have a flammable warning label), and the metal salvage yard was also held responsible. The scrap yard industry now has can opening style machinery before selling a used drum, as the intended purpose back when this occurred was a burn barrel. This was more then 30 years ago.
About time the insurance industry was told to sod off, and a sign on the gate of scrap yards to the effect that it is a condition of sale that the purchaser of scrap assume total responsibility for any outcome resulting from the manipulation of said scrap. After all, the vendors of other materials always state that no responsibility will be accepted for the use of their product, which is beyond their control.
When I was a teenager working at the blacksmith shop we removed the heads from drums regularly and sold them as burn barrels. The blacksmith had made a for lack of a better term giant can opener. Actually little more than a long pipe handle with a hook and a curved blade that functioned like an Army P38 C rations opener.
And ax and a hammer will remove the head from a drum but can create sparks an OA torch is absolutely TABOO. I could remove the heads of about 15 to 20 drums in an hour with it
Never try to tell me it can't be done
When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/
A peripherally related comment: I bought a can opener of the type that cuts the can lid crimp ring from the side (instead of the lid itself) and I use it frequently to make shop storage containers since the separated lid still fits and seals onto the can. I've even been known to go to the grocery store looking for some food in a container that's about the right size that I need to later use once the food's gone.
If I have to torch cut into a barrel after emptying it, I always flood the barrel interior with Argon from my TIG torch first so if there's any flammable vapor remaining there's no oxygen in the barrel to support combustion.
If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.
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