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cutting propane tank safley

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  • cutting propane tank safley

    i recently purchased a 650 gal tank and plan on building smoker for kansas city cook do i cut it the right way without blowing up the county? by the way i am the head fabricator at a major paper mill, i have been a certified welder for over 35 years,thus the nick name wldsmke, short for weld smoke.

  • #2
    At least remove the fitting, then suspend it so that hole is at the bottom (propane is heavier than air). I let them sit out in the breeze that way for a couple takes that long for the stink to completely go away. No guarantee its safe at that point, but I've cut into them then with a cutting disc...while re-assessing my life and sins. Some folks wash it all out with hot soapy water at that point, then go ahead.
    I'm no expert, so I'm not advising, just telling how I've done it. I suspect the experts will advise you to NEVER cut the tank...
    "Good Enough Never Is"


    • #3
      I've cut 2 tanks. One was a small 32 gal and I filled it with water prior to cutting. The other was a 250 gal and I ran a car exhaust thru it for 30 mins or so prior to cutting and also left the exhaust running while cutting. To me, the safest way is to fill with water, but a 650 gal tank is pretty big for that method. The best weldor I ever knew cut tanks by running auto exhaust in them for 30+ mins prior to cutting and continuing to exhaust them while cutting.

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      • #4

        I cant say how to do it safely but I can tell ya how I cut the diesel tank that I use for my current smoker.

        I drained it of course then refilled with greese cutting dawn dish soap, let sit for 2 days. Then I drained and refilled again using another 1 little dollar store bottles, not quite full this time and drove around for 30 minutes or so.

        I would like to hear what method you end up using.

        Do you live near KC, just curious I'm in Independence Mo. I wold love to see what you come up with on your cooker.
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        • #5
          just be sure to repect the car exhaust fumes equally. If it's done without proper ventilation carbon monoxide can kill and debilitate just as easily as explosion.


          • #6
            Good point. Exhaust outside or in an open building.

            Miller MM 210
            Miller Dialarc 250P
            Airco 225 engine driven
            Victor O/A
            Lots of other tools and always wanting more


            • #7
              If you want to find out ,the suggested method of doing it safely.
              <ike Porter's book on forges burners et al. Covers it like a glove. He also explains the reasoning why he has done it that way for years.
              glen, been there, done that and probably broke it!If you aren't on the edge. You'r taking up to much room


              • #8
                When you get to the cutting part, there may be residual stress from any welds that were done making the tank. The last one I did wanted very badly to close the gap left by the recip. saw blade, badly binding the blade.


                • #9
                  i have only cut open 5 tanks with the smallest being 250 gallon and the largest 1000 gallon. they were all fresh tanks taken out of service. i removed the all the plugs, valves and such and marked the area i wanted my chimney to be. i filled with water and used a drill to make holes around the circle that my pipe would soon fill. this was the long method. i then took a sawsall and cut from hole to hole and knocked the plate into the tank. before the water gets to the top of the tank i stick a torch in the hole and burn anything out that is there. there was something there 4 out of the 5 tanks. i draw out the doors and then empty the tank. i immediately cut the doors with a torch leaving a tack to they will be aligned. i install the hinges and then cut the tacks. once you have the doors open you're safe. there probably a better way, but this has worked for me. the best unit i have built was a 12 foot tank. it had an 8 foot cook top with a 3 foot fire box. i had a 1 foot space that separated the heat. i also installed a coal rack under the cook top for grilling.
                  Last edited by Scott Young; 12-22-2008, 09:54 PM.


                  • #10
                    here i go!

                    im gonna let my tank air for 2 weeks, put the bottom plug back in. then i will put about 2 inches of water in the tank, then i will put about 10 pounds of dry ice in the tank, when i see fog come out the top,i will let my MATABO do the talking.I will send pictures soon as i learn the way, I build the worlds smallest usable smoker. Again i will send pics soon as i find out how.YOU guys are the best. THANKS! I live in north east texas about 35 miles southwest of texarkana.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wldsmke View Post
                      I live in north east texas about 35 miles southwest of texarkana.
                      Around the Atlanta area? Got family in Linden, just south of there on US 59.
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                      • #12
                        one of the following

                        vacuum pump

                        also seen it done with a circular metal cutting saw with the blade set real shallow ( not cutting through ) finish the cut with a properly shaped air chisel

                        purge with nitrogen


                        • #13
                          where i live

                          I live in a little place called Red Hill Texas, it is about 13 miles west of atlanta on 995.