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WWII Water Can


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Here's my question about the water can. I found one at a local antiques dealer to day for a great price. The problem though, is that someone has had it filled with gasoline at one time or another. When you open it you can smell it pretty bad. So I guess now is the actual question, is it possible to make this safe to hold potable water again? Or since there has been fuel in it am I just SOL and need to keep looking?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe it is still salvageable although I have yet to do it myself. Sounds like a good winter project.




I have a 70s dated metal water can I'm going to start with before I try my '44 dated one. The auto machine shop has an acid bath they use to clean engine blocks, heads, etc and they'll charge $20 to have the can cleaned. I expect that to remove everything 'unholy' and save me a lot of manual labor preping. My plan is to then coat the inside of the can with POR15 ... this stuff is amazing ... it dries rock solid, seals in rust and will fill in pin holes. Then I plan to topcoat the POR15 with the FDA enamel listed in the link above. I'm hopeful that will take care of it. The big test will be to run a water quality test from the can to verify all is good but not yet sure how to do that. We have a couple reservoirs near by so somebody must be testing water quality ...

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Just rummaged thru my shed this afternoon and pulled out a '63 dated water can and '71 dated gas can. Wasn't sure what I actually had in there as it got rummaged thru by an unwanted visitor a little while ago. I'm taking next Friday off to participate in a couple Veteran's day events including my kids' school so hope to drop the cans by the auto machine shop then. I'm hopeful the acid bath will remove the yellow enamel inside the water can. I'll try to get some before/after pics posted here.

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