Is there any way to fix old rattle cans?

33 posts in this topic

Posted (edited) · Report post

i recently picked up a large lot of older Rustoleum rattle cans at an estate auction for $1. I got a large array of colors.

One of the colors is metallic hammered copper, and was brand new and never used. I was very excited to get this color.

When heavily misted over a base of gold (another rattle can color from the same box), it gives a realistic, aged, brassy color.

I shook that can until my arm fell off, sprayed about two short blasts with it, and then the can stopped working completely. i tried three other nozzles on the can, to no avail.

I called Rustoleum customer service, and the rep suggested that the can was 'too old to have useful life' and that the solids in the paints 'settled and clogged up the plastic inside the can'.

Is there any way I can save this paint? Do you know of any old tricks of the trade that might help me save this old can?

While I am asking dumb questions, should I try to shake my other cans on occasion, in hopes of keeping them from going bad? Should I store the cans upside down? Would any of this help?

Thanks in advance!!!!!!!!

Edited by clovis

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Posted · Report post

My suggestion is to trash the Rustoleum and get Krylon. I always have problems with Rustoleum cans clogging up but I've never had a problem with Krylon.

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Posted · Report post

Throwing paint away will not solve his problem. I suggest (taking any and all precautions) decanting the paint (however you feel comfortable poking a hole in the can) and storing the paint in a solvent safe container/jar. From there, you could airbrush it.

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Posted · Report post

l have had this happen to different brands of paint. l have only had it to happen to paint stored in uncontroled temps. lts your call to try to decant them for airbrush...

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Posted · Report post

Decant it. It's no big thing.

Yes, the contents are under pressure. The problem with contents that are under pressure is when you have a SUDDEN release of that pressure. Do it so it's not sudden. When I have one that won't put out anymore, I just drill a very small hole in the side near the top. Go slow, as in twisting the bit by hand, until you make that initial penetration of the metal. The pressure will slowly seep off, then after a few minutes you can drill a larger hole and simply drain the can.

Easy peaz.

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Posted · Report post

Take one of those ratcheting clamps that will span the can and tip length, Heat and shake the can and put the clamp on

Turn the can UPSIDE DOWN and squeeze the clamp until you hear the air hissing out. Hang this somewhere and let it gas out.

Carefully tear the cap off the can with large pair of side cutters. Pour out paint in jar. Let it gas out further.

Personally, I'm not real sure about Rustoleum on plastic cars :D

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Posted · Report post

If it were I , I would just get rid of them. I believe they are more trouble than they are worth. That's just me however. Good luck if you try and save them. Let us know.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I've had several cans of the "Hammered" Rusto paints do the same thing, sometimes new-off-the-shelf. :(

The "hammered" texture is achieved with silicones to give a somewhat-controlled "fisheye" effect, plus glass flakes and powdered metals suspended in the paint .You can see why clogging would be an issue. The texture of the hammered finish is really way too huge to be of much use on a model, IMHO, but it looks great for restoring vintage toolboxes and other things that had a similar coating when new, or for special effects on other 1:1 projects and parts. <_<

I've been able to bring SOME of the cans back to life by repeatedly shaking for a LONG time, GENLTY heating (not over 100deg.F.), storing them up-side down for a week or two, and on occasion, slamming the bottom of the can down on a hard surface repeatedly :angry: during a shaking session, which I imagine helps to knock-loose clogs in the pickup tube inside the can (on which shaking will have little effect).

It all comes down to what your time is worth, and how much you want to invest in saving a can of paint you can replace for $5. B)

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Posted · Report post

It all comes down to what your time is worth, and how much you want to invest in saving a can of paint you can replace for $5. B)

That sums it up nicely!

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Posted · Report post

Drill a hole in the can??!! Holy cow, that's horrible advice. Throw that stuff away and go buy a new can. Even if you don't get the WORST case scenario, anything other than a perfect scenario involves cleaning up a lot of paint. Is that worthe the price of a can of paint? Hell no!

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Posted · Report post

Drill a hole in the can??!! Holy cow, that's horrible advice. Throw that stuff away and go buy a new can. Even if you don't get the WORST case scenario, anything other than a perfect scenario involves cleaning up a lot of paint. Is that worthe the price of a can of paint? Hell no!

It's really no big deal if you follow Gluhead's (post 5) advice to the letter. And WEAR EYE PROTECTION !!!!

The secret is sneaking up on the initial penetration and making a VERY small breach with the can upright (preferably held firmly in a vise...wrap the can in a rag, or use cushioned jaws, and don't clamp it hard enough to crush it.) Common sense is a big help here..

Having the can upright will leave the paint at the bottom, with the propellant at the top. Making a hole at the TOP will let the propellant escape, but no paint.

Once you allow the pressure to bleed off through the VERY SMALL initial penetration, open it up (as Gluhead says) and simply pour the paint out. Use a filter to remove any metal particles from drilling.

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Posted · Report post

My suggestion is to trash the Rustoleum and get Krylon. I always have problems with Rustoleum cans clogging up but I've never had a problem with Krylon.

Ain't that the truth!!!

I told the customer service rep at Rustoleum that I never had problems with Krylon, and she replied "Our paints are much thicker and therefore have greater durability".

FWIW, I picked up a can of Krylon Galvanizing Primer...wow!!!! That is some nice stuff!!! Lays down flat and thin. I bought it off the clearance rack for $2.50, and now wish that I would have bought all the other cans just like it.

I'll be much more likely to buy Krylon paints in the future.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It all comes down to what your time is worth, and how much you want to invest in saving a can of paint you can replace for $5. B)

Well, as much as I hate to admit it, money isn't growing on trees around here.

We are self employed, and we had a tough winter. Aside from that, I've already spent enough in my lifetime on MRI's, doctor's visits (@ $285 per visit), and medicines (@ $350 a month) that I could have bought very nice examples of the 1:1 cars that I am building models of.

While I am thankful to be alive, having a dang tumor in your head can be an expensive proposition.

I was just curious if there were simple old tricks to getting use out of a clogged rattle can. I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish with either my time or money. I'd rather spend that $5 on 4 new bottles of Testors...rather than having another can of hammered copper that I won't use very often.

Edited by clovis

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Posted · Report post

I know how you feel, cardiac patient since '03 w/bypass in '07. You have caught my interest, where do you find Testors in the bottle for $1.25?

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Well, as much as I hate to admit it, money isn't growing on trees around here......

......I was just curious if there were simple old tricks to getting use out of a clogged rattle can. I don't want to be penny wise and pound foolish with either my time or money. I'd rather spend that $5 on 4 new bottles of Testors...rather than having another can of hammered copper that I won't use very often.

My $$ tree died a while back, and I've been known to spend 2 hours saving a $5 rattle can when I could have been doing billable work at $35/hr.

Not always entirely logical. :wacko:

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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You have caught my interest, where do you find Testors in the bottle for $1.25?

Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.

Of course, it is supposed to be one coupon per day, per person. I've gotten lucky a few times and had a cool cashier...and sometimes I walk to the car and come back in, LOL. The things I do to save 47 cents....LOL.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I am going to try to save the rattle can.

I know this sounds crazy, but there is a Sherwin Williams store just a mile away. Sometime soon, I am going to swing in there and ask one of the employees to put the can in their shaker. I am 99.9% positive that they have special apparatus to shake a rattle can.

I just wonder if that prolonged shaking might break up whatever is clogged inside the can. it probably won't work, but since it is free, (and most S-W employees are happy to shake cans for customers) it is worth a try.

Edited by clovis

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Should be fun to watch the pimply-faced kid in the paint store (who knows how to work his phone and game console and not much else) try to make a shaker designed for lidded paint tins accept a rattle can. Kinda like watching monkeys with footballs.... :blink:

Please record it and post on Yu-boob. <_<

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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Should be fun to watch the pimply-faced kid in the paint store (who knows how to work his phone and game console and not much else) try to make a shaker designed for lidded paint tins accept a rattle can. Kinda like watching monkeys with footballs.... :blink:

Then again, I could have dreamed that up. I sometimes imagine things...and I don't even drink!!!!

I think they have a steel box that holds a rattle can and fits into a full size shaker.

Then again, sometimes I dream stuff up and imagine other things...and I don't even drink!!!!!

Edited by clovis

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It's never occurred to me to drill holes in dud cans. I have been throwing them away.

However, if Bill and Gluhead say it's safe (taking the appropriate precautions) then i'm game to try it.

Just so happens I have a big can of gloss black enamel that's about to die.

Want to shake a rattle can the easy way? Just find your local Triumph owner, and ask him to go for a ride with a can strapped to the frame. From experience a '71 250 will shake enough to leave a trail of parts down the road so it should have no problem mixing your paint. If you can't find one of them then try any late 70's twin from any of the British manufacturers. :D

Edited by zenrat

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Posted · Report post

An automatic centerpunch is great for releasing the pressure from rattlecans.

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Posted · Report post

I've never discarded an empty/used can of spray paint unless it's been punctured.

I've covered the bottom of the can with a rag and punctured the can with wire cutters. Always making a second puncture on the opposite side to allow pressure to escape while pouring it into the airbrush bottle or an airtight glass container.

I discovered only making one puncture can cause the propellant to squirt the remaining paint across the workbench and not into the container.

The same can be done with partial cans. Letting the can sit for awhile disperses the propellant, and major spills can be avoided.

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Thank you for the continued replies!!!!

I still haven't had a chance to have the can shaken on a professional shaker, but I'll report back on this thread when I do.

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I stopped in our local Sherwin Williams store today.

SW corporate policy must mandate that they hire no one over the age of 14.

When I asked if they could shake a rattle can, this gal looked at me as if I were standing there buck naked, and then tried to politely explain that most spray cans have the directions printed on the can, and told me that I should shake it vigorously using my arm while holding the can in my hand.

"You will hear a thing inside making noise" she added.

I tried to explain further, saying that I was hoping a vigorous shaking on a machine agitator might help free any blockage inside the can, which of course, fell on deaf ears.

Oh, well. I tried.

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Posted · Report post

The auto paint store I frequent here in Mesa always asks me if I want my aerosol cans shaken and have a machine just for that.

In the 70's I worked for a major supplier of the valves that are used on the aerosol cans. Many times they had me or someone in Maintenance open cans for Quality Control. I personally wouldn't advise anyone to just puncture a can, that hole will immediately

become a spray tip. The only way I could see that work is if the propellant was completely evacuated.JMHE

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