An Improvised Billy Can

Some projects are hard, some are easy. We can craft using wood, bone and stone, but back yard metal containers from scratch are never going to be easy. But we can adapt, improvise, and overcome!

Take a clean empty tin, large or small, and you can soon be up and running with a serviceable container to suspend over the fire and therefore cook, boil water, make pitch etc

This project took me under an hour with the following resources

1 tin

An electrical connector block

A bicycle break/gear cable

1x pair of pilers

1x 3 inch nail

1x hacksaw blade

The first job was to remove the plastic from the connector block

I carefully cut the flat underside off

Then removed the internal brass section using a nail

I then cut the remaining plastic off

Next was to cut two holes in the tin, marking roughly where I wanted them I placed the tin upside down on top of a log that fitted inside the tin, and used the same nail to “pinch” the hole.

Once the hole was made I then inspected the inside of the tin and as you would expect a sharp edge had been caused, to remove this I then used the nail to punch from the inside after placing the tin on a stump

Then reversing the nail I could punch the sharp edges flat

Repeating this for the second hole the final step was to fit the bailer loop, the cable was threaded through the connector block and then through the can.

It was then returned though the connector block and screwed in place.

After measuring how much was needed it was simply a case of repeat for the other side.

Natural selection would dictate you wouldnt… but just in case, we’d urge you not to use any can with a plastic liner

Davie McCrae- Full Time Instructor, Primitive Skills year Alumni

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