DIY 5 Gallon Bucket Project STARting Point
First understand that a five gallon bucket is not a 5 gallon bucket all the same. There’s different materials that they are made from; apart from some being made from metal, aluminum, or even wood; even some of the plastics are different, so much so that it is enough to make some projects unpractical for the given intended use. It’s important to note that most projects made with these kinds of buckets are the food grade HDPE 2 type, even when the end project will not be used for storing food or water. It’s perhaps ironic that the food grade buckets tend to be stronger for utility usage. Metal and aluminum buckets are seldom used because they are easily dented, may rust, are noisy when used for hunting and fishing, and the metal would conduct electricity which is generally not desired for most projects.
Measurements and Layout
There is only one universal denominator as far as measurements of 3½, 5, and 7 gallon buckets go; and that is the size of the top opening rim, which is approximately 11 and ¾ inches wide. This is done as a mutual benefit among the different manufacturers so that various lids, seats, and other accessories fit their bucket. Another common yet not universal denominator is the size of the bucket bottom base, although this is known to vary slightly depending on the manufacturer. The bucket height (measurement from bottom base to opening rim) is not an exact common denominator among manufacturers. The term “5 Gallon Bucket” is not considered to be an exact measurement as far as the bucket itself goes, but more like a reference. And when talking about “Five Gallon Bucket Projects,” including 3½, 6, 7, and 7½ gallon buckets into the mix of jargon are known misnomers, but an accepted form of reference on the general topic.
Thus, the phrase: “Measure twice, cut once”… applies to 5 gallon bucket projects as much as any other type of project. Measure those buckets!
You can quickly find the center line of circular layout using the below technique…
Aside from choosing the color, lid, material, it is crucial to inspect each bucket for quality control. Inspect and select your buckets especially paying particular attention to the opening rim. If you have nicks or cuts in the rim, it will impair any potential swiveling action, such as that of a swivel seat. And will potentially cause poor lid sealing and closure qualities.
Using adhesives is generally not the preferred joinery method for most bucket projects. It is difficult to create a strong bond with glue type of adhesives onto the synthetic plastics such as HDPE 2 and other surface films. Such adhesives have been known to peel off of the plastic buckets. However, sometimes it may be the only practical choice depending on the project. And if applied correctly, can in fact hold a fairly strong bond. Also, adhesives can be used in bucket projects as a temporary holding technique to apply another joinery method and/or to assist another joinery method. Furthermore, glues and adhesives can be used as filling agents between gaps of different materials.
An adhesive that generally bonds great to most surfaces for most DIY projects such as the PL Pro Line** brand construction adhesive did not bond effectively to HDPE #2 buckets in our tests. Of course, this is only necessarily true when the bonding target is the bucket surface itself. If you are gluing separate components that will later be joined to the bucket/s, then the best adhesive will be whatever bonds best to that particular material’s surface.
Also keep in mind that in some cases, it may actually be desired that there is not a strong bond of surfaces, such as when a part or material is only needed for a temporary bonding.
Though it is now possible to spray-paint plastic buckets with the new type of spray enamels and plastic primers, it is not generally recommended. When you think about the time and the money, it is nearly always a no-brainer. Yes, you can buy the cheaper ad-printed buckets such as the Home Depot**, Lowe’s**, or Wal-Mart** brand buckets and paint them to your desired color; but you’re not saving money and certainly not saving time. If you buy a bucket for $ 3.00, and then buy a can of spray paint for $ 4.00 (and hopefully that can will cover the entire bucket externally) are you saving any money than by just buying a colored bucket? And do you want it painted internally as well? That’s not an easy thing to paint. Nearly always the better option is to buy the color of bucket you desire if it’s available (and nearly every major color is available) if your project requires a colored bucket.