Putting a strap handle on a 20 mm ammo can.

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When we started gearing up for river running in the early nineties we bought a bunch of 20 mm “rocket boxes” to contain various supplies and to carry “solid human waste” off the river. W named all of our boxes. The boxes for food and such got names of our favorite people, names like Georgie, Gerry Garcia and so on. The poop cans got names of less favorite persons, usually some politician who’s record on river and wilderness issues we found to be lacking.
These are great dry boxes and are the standard in the river running community. I have thought for a long time that having a handle on the top would be a fine thing. I am always banging and scraping my knuckles while trying to get a 20 mm can out of a drop hatch. After numerous applications of Mom’s Stuff the scrapes finally are put right. A handle on the top of the can would also allow for carrying two at once in a balanced way that would not put undue stress on my lower back.
In this post I will show what I came up with.

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I start by drilling two 1/4 inch holes through the lid where I want the straps to attach.

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Using a propane torch I heat a 20 penny nail and burn holes in the strip of nylon webbing I will use for the strap handle.

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This is the hardware I will use to attach the handle. Starting on the left is a 1/4 inch stainless steel machine bolt, a 1/4 inch flat washer, two 1/4 inch rubber washers and a 1/4 inch locking nut.

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After placing the flat washer on the bolt I thread the strap on followed by the rubber washer.

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I apply a small amount of a liquid gasket product or silicon rubber to the threads of the bolt.
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The neat thing I discovered is that the 1/4 machine bolt fits so tight that I have to screw the bolt into the hole in the lid and it sort of taps its self in.
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After fitting the other rubber washer onto the bolt as it sticks through the bottom of the lid I smear more liquid gasket material in the threads and tighten on the locking nuts.

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There is the first finished handle. I waited over night and tested it by submerging the whole box for several minutes in my spa. It is water tight.

35 Responses to “Putting a strap handle on a 20 mm ammo can.”

  1. Jean Says:

    Utilitarian and low-tech. Thank you for sharing your solution for “handling” a problem. I appreciate that you’ve always been willing to share your knowledge with others and I know I’m not the only one who has learned how to handle some problems through your teaching.

  2. Tom Rampton Says:

    I think this is a great idea, Joe. I’m glad the bolt actually threads through the hole and seals well, since a rocket box isn’t what you want dropping onto your toe! And that it doesn’t leak is good, obviously.

    If I were doing this (and maybe I will) I’m not at all sure what I’d use to seal it up. You used liquid gasket, and I’m not sure what I’d decide on. That, epoxy, silicon? You probably want something not subject to cracking. And you can always reseal them.

    When I set up my ammo cans in the early eighties, my dad had paint spraying capability and a sandblasting business. I LIGHTLY sandblasted them (heavy blasting will seriously warp the metal) and sprayed them with two-part epoxy paint. It’s 2010 and they’re still quite good.

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