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Cleaning out used fiber drum?

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Forum topic by ADHDan posted 372 days ago 777 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


372 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

So, in the ongoing saga of my DC separator build, I finally came across a free 55 gallon fiber drum with a locking lid. It’s big, sturdy, and should work great – except it was used to hold some white goop called “Work & Turn Paper Coating”, which (as the pictures below show) isn’t really hazardous but it is messy as hell. (The “1” for Health rating just means you shouldn’t get it in your eyes.) It looks kind of like a thin glue.

I have two questions.

First, what’s the best way to clean out a fiber drum? I assume I shouldn’t spray out the inside, since it’s literally made of fiber – unless the inside has some sort of seal/coating that protects it? Not sure if this is the case; the drum is holding a viscous liquid, so it may have some sort of sealant but I don’t want to ruin my new drum. Should I just drain as much as I can into a bucket and then toss sawdust in there to soak up the rest? Or is there something else I should do?

Second, at 55 gallons this thing may be too big for my shop. Has anyone had any success cutting down a fiber drum and then replacing the bottom? If I were to do this, how would I best get an airtight seal? I can cut the drum pretty easily on the table saw – just raise the blade 1/8”, hold the drum against the fence, and rotate it over the blade. I did this with a different fiber drum and it worked just fine.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.


15 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

3107 posts in 611 days


#1 posted 372 days ago

By “fiber” do you mean cardboard? or Plastic? Either way, first I’d scoop out some of that white goop and see if it mixes with water. If it does it’ll be easy to clean up.

If the drum is cardboard, just tip it over and pour out as much as you can, then let it dry for a few days (or a week) and see if it hardens on the walls. If it is glue, it might just leave a nice slick finish inside the drum.

If the drum is plastic (and the goop seem to dissolve in water) I’d tip it up and hose it out, then let it dry.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


#2 posted 372 days ago

It’s essentially a cardboard-like compound. It’s a standard fiber drum, used for shipping various industrial supplies (in this case, paper coating goop). I think I’ll just try to drain what I can and then let it sit for a while with the top off; hopefully, the goop will harden. Otherwise, I would bet that tossing sawdust in there would probably make it easy to scoop out.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View kizerpea's profile

kizerpea

746 posts in 972 days


#3 posted 371 days ago

You can wash out the inside..but don’t wet the outside…there is a coating on the inside to keep it from soaking up water.

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

View Marcus's profile

Marcus

1041 posts in 624 days


#4 posted 371 days ago

Ironically, just using it may be the answer. Get some saw dust in there to soak up the goop, then just dump the dust saw dust/goop out. That would be my thought anyways.

As for cutting off the bottom, All I see that accomplishing is starting your search for a fiber drum over =)

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ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


#5 posted 371 days ago

Marcus, that was my thought exactly – drain as much good as I can, and then dump sawdust in there (and start using it) to soak up the rest of the goop into manageable clumps. I was hoping there would be a way to shorten the drum, but I can live with it as is rather than drop $50 or spend more time trying to find a 30-gallon drum.

Kizerpea, I think I’m going to just drain it and let the sawdust clump up the goop; it would be difficult to really wash out a 55 gallon drum without getting the outside wet, and I just don’t want to spend any more effort tracking down replacements :-).

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

2876 posts in 1690 days


#6 posted 371 days ago

I you put sawdust into a wet drum, you are going to have a thick coating on a container that is all ready
big and awkward and will now be extra heavy, making it very difficult to empty. Where would you drain
the barrel? Make sure you do not make a mess that would be expensive to clean up. Before going any
further, figure out how you are going to empty that container, or you might go through a lot of work only
to decide that your are going to have to junk the container and get one that is easier to handle.

-- As ever, Gus-the 75 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


#7 posted 371 days ago

There’s not a lot of goop in the drum, so I was going to drain it into a five-gallon bucket, with the bucket inside a big cardboard box just in case. Then, I can try to spray out whatever is left with a hose; otherwise, I was going to pour in sawdust, mix it up a little to make a paste, and then scoop it out with some sort of utensil. I can do all this outside, in my garage or driveway. I wasn’t going to just let the sawdust/goop mixture sit in the drum.

I’m not even sure whether this stuff will make a hard adhesive stuck to the drum when mixed with sawdust; I know nothing about paper coating, although I’d assume it has adhesive properties.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


#8 posted 370 days ago

Everything turned out fine. There actually was very little goop left in the drum; I drained as much as I could, which filled up 1/3 of a 5-gallon bucket, and then dumped sawdust on the thin coating left at the bottom. It didn’t really add any weight to the drum, and I may be able to scrape most of it out. Success!

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2731 posts in 1848 days


#9 posted 370 days ago

If you are using that drum as a separator, that means you will be sucking from the drum and through the fan. If any of that goop is sticky, it may make a mess in the fan.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


#10 posted 370 days ago

MrRon – A very good point. I’m going to make sure the drum is fully dry before putting it to use, but there was such little goop left after I drained it that I don’t foresee any problems. Really, it was just a VERY thin coating on the bottom and a thin streak on the side where I drained the drum. I dumped a pile of sawdust in the drum and fanned it to coat the inside, and now I’m letting it sit for a while.

It turns out this was kind of a non-issue; there was much less goop in the drum then I first realized, and I was able to drain 90% of it into a bucket.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View kizerpea's profile

kizerpea

746 posts in 972 days


#11 posted 369 days ago

I have two fiber drums an both had some type of glue in them. the wax coating on the inside let the glue peel right off after it dryed.

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

View Lynden's profile

Lynden

51 posts in 1751 days


#12 posted 369 days ago

The manufacturer’s name, NICOAT, is on the lable. I’d be curious enough to call them. Looks like they make different types of coatings.

http://www.google.com/search?q=nicoat

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


#13 posted 367 days ago

Well, I finally got everything set up. After circulating sawdust in the drum I was able to scoop out 99% of the goop, and the de minimis amount left soaked into the sawdust and hardened without adding more than a pound of weight. Then I buillt a rolling cart to house everything, and now I just need to run my lines – one to the table saw, and one to the floating dust hose.

Project pics here: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/87627.

Thanks again everyone! This turned out great.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2731 posts in 1848 days


#14 posted 367 days ago

One bit of warning: I once used a fiber drum with a shop vac and i blocked off the inlet to the drum with the vac running. Within a few seconds, the drum collapsed due to the vacuum being pulled and that was only with a small shop vac. After releasing the vacuum, the drum did pop back into a drum shape, but not quite completely. If you are using a bigger fan, don’t accidentally block off the inlet.

View ADHDan's profile

ADHDan

420 posts in 713 days


#15 posted 367 days ago

Thanks for the tip. I’ll be careful to make sure that the blast gate(s) are open when running the DC. I’m not worried about blocking the main line, because it’s going to be a short length of 4” hose running directly to a wall-mounted S&D pipe. My two branches are at the end of the S&D pipe, wth a wye fitting and blast gates. So that will be my “double check” point.

-- Dan in Minneapolis, woodworking since 11/11.

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