Making Tin Can Toys

by Edward Thatcher 1919

Cutting Into and Opening Out Cans and Boxes

There is one very easy way to cut into and open out a can or box. To make wheels, small trays and other things, a good part of the sides of the can must be cut away leaving a small portion of the sides attached to the bottom. The part that is cut away may be flattened out and used to make various things. As most of the cans used are cut down to various dimensions in this manner, either to use the" bottom with part of the sides, or to obtain flat sheet of tin, it will be well to consider the easiest way of doing it.

Tin Toy Truck Plate 2

First, determine how much of the bottom portion of the can is to be left intact. Then using a pair of dividers opened to this dimension, make a line parallel with the base of the can and completely around it. To do this, hold the can down to the bench with the left hand so that it may be turned against the divider points as shown in Plate IV, a. Hold the dividers firmly down to the bench and against the can so that the uppermost point is held at exactly the same height from the bench during, the turning or marking, while turning the can against the point to mark it. Then using a pair of straight metal shears, cut down each side of the seam or joint in the side of the can to within one-half inch of the horizontal line you have marked with the dividers (see Plate IV, b).

Bend out the narrow strip containing the seam and cut it off with the shears. This will give you an open slot in the side of the can in which the shears may be easily introduced to cut horizontally around it. Do not try to cut directly on the line marked around the can with the dividers but begin cutting about half an inch above this line and cut completely around the can until you have cut off the whole top part of it. After you have cut away the larger portion of the metal, the narrow strip remaining above the line may be easily cut away as it curls up out of the way as it is cut by the shears.