Making Tin Can Toys

by Edward Thatcher 1919

Cutting Into and Opening Tin Cans and Boxes Part 3

Some of the students found that old kid gloves with parts of the fingers cut off afforded protection to hands that were not used to shop work. A bottle of iodine was kept handy and such slight cuts that were encountered were immediately washed with cold water and iodine applied to the cut which was then lightly bandaged. This treatment proved most effective and no ill effects resulted. A mixture of pure linseed oil and lime water may be obtained at any druggists and this is a very effective remedy for burns. The solution should be well shaken up and applied directly to the burn: which should then be bandaged with bandages wet with the mixture. Common brown laundry soap worked up into thick lather is an excellent remedy for slight burns. Care and patience used in handling the tin and the tools will leave very little use for the above remedies in the shop.

The various problems presented in this book of tin can toys should be worked out in the order in which they are presented as each one bears a definite relation to the others. Be sure to work out the simpler problems first-even if you have had considerable experience in other forms of metal working. A number of processes particularly adapted to working tin are used in making tin can toys. While these processes are very simple, they are somewhat unlike those involved in copper working and jewelry making, though more closely allied to the commercial metal work of today.

Tools and Appliances


In this chapter the names and approximate cost of the tools and appliances are given and also suggestions as to fitting up the shop for working with the cans. Various methods are suggested for laying out the work with the ruler, square and dividers. It must be remembered that tool prices are not fixed and that the prices quoted in the following lists are the market prices of today, July 29, 1918. At present, tools are much higher in price than usual owing to conditions brought about by the war. Tool prices vary with market conditions. The tools listed may be bought at any good hard, ware store or ordered from the catalogues of any of the large mail order houses (except the Wooden Roofing Folder and the Forming Mallet). While the folder is not absolutely necessary for folding up angles in the tin, it is much better to have one t make the numerous angles employed in tin work than to attempt folding by hand, and particularly when long angles are to be made for lanterns, towers, automobiles chassis and the like. In fact, it is in almost constant use.

The wooden roofing folder is not carried in stock by hardware and mail order houses, but it may be ordered from a dealer in tin-smiths' or sheet metal workers' tools. Any good tinner or plumber will tell you where to order one. The forming mallet is easily made from a block of maple or a piece of broom handle as described under Shop Appliances. It is taken for granted that such simple tools as rulers and pencils are at hand.


Materials Needed Aside from the Cans.- Galvanized wire, 10 or 15 feet each of the following diameters: 1/16, 1/8, 3/16, 1/4 if impossible to obtain all these diameters, get 1/8 inch or larger). Wire nails, about 1/2 lb. each of the following sizes: 2d, 3d, 4d, 6d, 8d, 10d, 20d (d is the abbreviation for penny). Tinned rivets, several dozen of the smallest size (a box containing one gross is about as cheap as six dozen) . Can of lye or 2 pounds of washing soda. For heating the soldering copper, a heater of some kind, such as a blue flame kerosene stove, gas furnace or common one-burner gas stove, charcoal furnace, or gasoline plumbers' torch with attachments for holding copper. A large can or pail, or an old wash boiler for holding the hot lye solution.

Supplementary Tool List. - The tools named in this list will be found very convenient for making the more advanced models, particularly the hand drill and the twist drills which are used with the hand drill. The supplementary tools are by n means necessary for making the tin can toys, but if one can afford to get them, they will be found extremely convenient. However, almost any of the' models may be made with the tools listed on page 29 if one is sufficiently skillful in the use of them. The more work one does with tools the fewer tools on needs if the tools are intelligently used. The tools in both lists should be purchased, i possible, as they are all tools commonly used in metal working shops. Purchase the tools listed on page 29 first and go as far as possible with them, and then purchase as many of the supplementary tools as possible when you need them.

Except when noted otherwise, these tools may be purchased at any good hardware store. SUPPLEMENTARY TOOL LIST