Many Professional painters trained in oil enamel work prefer to make their own paint buckets. These are often referred to as “cut pots” or “enameling pots”. Many traditional painters maintain that these cut pots are superior to store bought metal paint pails and cheap flimsy plastic buckets. It is true from my experience that a converted paint can has a thicker wall and is less prone to rusting. A store bought metal paint bucket will rust at its seems within two days; in contrast a paint can inner plating is designed to maintain and store paint for years. Consider that some high end paints cost $60 or more per gallon, it stands to reason packaging would be designed to protect the contents from factory to end user. The construction of an off the shelf paint bucket is designed to be used once; and in the case of the homeowner doing a small project this is often the case; hence the economy built fits the market.
From a practical standpoint a cut pot made from a paint can is more efficient. The handle can be pinched between the thumb and palm; the fingers extended to brace pail. The off the shelf paint bucket is larger; and it is very difficult to use the same “palming” technique. Ergonomics and comfort are important to quality and efficiency when you are challenged with a paint project that could could require 50 or more hours of brush work. Best practice is to only fill your cut pot 1/5, this keeps the paint from drying out. “Ready” buckets still have a purpose on the job site; the larger size makes them better for mixing putty and transporting water for cleaning tools. Many painters new to the trade are often surprised when they see “cut pots”, they are used to buying 10 “ready” buckets per job and then tossing them when the project is complete. Although my intention was not to save on the cost of buying paint buckets, I reckon using “enameling pots” has saved me from putting thousands of “Ready” buckets in the landfill.
When I began as a painter in 1990 virtually every home interior was painted with oil enamel on trim and casings and painters would boast about using the same “enameling pot” for months. These enameling pots would be name tagged and cleaned everyday along side expensive white china pig tail enamel brushes.
Instructions to make an “enamel pot”
1. Clean empty paint can
2. USE PROTECTIVE GLOVES & SAFTEY GOGGLES. Use a 5 in 1 tool and puncture lip with sharp edge, push down and cut along perimeter. Complete circumference and remove extracted metal.
3. Use handle side of 5 in 1 tool and hammer down any protruding metal on lip; (the quality of paint can construction has diminished since 1990). You can also use pliers to crimp down edge.
4. Create a spicket: find the center point between handles on lip and indent one inch on either side then pull center piece out. This takes some practice and I have made hundreds of them so I use thumbs and 5 in 1 handle; although it is much easier to shape the metal wall with pliers.
My preference since 1990 has been to make “enameling pot” from the smaller sturdy eurogallon metal buckets from Fine Paints of Europe, the size is comfortable…and I am a creature of habit. “Dutchlac” was the name of the enamel paint in the early 1990’s, now it is called “Hollandlac”