• Making a Chum Can

    Grant Ferris
    Grey/Bruce Outdoors

    To ensure it could be done easily, I built a spare chum can as follows with simple tools, I didn’t even use my vise but did everything by hand to ensure it could be done with a minimum of tools and equipment.

    Parts required :

    • Two hinges, one inch wide.
    • One kitchen strainer, 2 and 5/8 inches wide, the same size as a soup can.
    • Two soup cans.
    • Solder and flux
    • Emery cloth
    • One cupboard door magnetic latch, preferably all metal.
    • A dozen small self-tapping screws or very small nuts and bolts. (These are used temporarily only, they can be removed or left on the can after soldering)
    • A piece of lead to give weight to the lid, it can be any shape but a section 1/2 inch wide by 1/4 inch thick by 4.5 inches long bent into a donut shape works perfect.

    Tools required:

    Electric drill or small drill press with 1/8 inch bit, soldering torch or soldering iron, screwdriver to suit screws, pliers, hacksaw, tin-snips, file, gloves and safety glasses.


    First, cut one whole end from the first soup can.

    Throw away the rest. This piece must include the rim so either use a hacksaw, grinder or one of those strange can openers that cut the rim off from the side rather than the end.

    Take the second can and open it using a conventional can opener. Throw away the lid, cut out the closed bottom with your tin snips.

    Take the strainer apart, throw away the plastic handle and cut off the bottom sections of the handle leaving two legs about 3.5 inches long each.

    Solder the strainer mesh section (rim and all) to the soup can, the end that you opened with tin snips or hacksaw. Take the strainer handle section and bend it to fit over the top of the strainer. You have to tweak it a bit but when it fits flush to the sides of the can, solder it in place to provide a lifting point for your chum can. See photo.

    Now you have a can with a strainer and a lifting ring. Next step is to make a latched lid.

    Take the good lid with rim and using hacksaw and snips, cut out a one inch section of the protruding rim edge on opposite sides of the lid, you can trace out the section using your hinges. This is to allow the hinge to fit flush to the lid. One hinge gets fashioned to each side of the lid. Only one will be used for a hinge, the other is a contact point for the magnetic latch. Fasten the hinges in place temporarily using small screws or bolts through 1/8 inch holes. Fasten one hinge only to the side of the can, let the other swing free from the lid. The first one acts as a hinge, second as a contact point to hold the lid closed with the magnet.

    You should now have a lid with two hinges mounted, the lid held in place on the can with one hinge, the can with the strainer mounted on the opposite end to the lid and all that is required is to mount the magnet. If you found a hardware store with all-metal magnetic cupboard door latches the rest is easy. Otherwise you may have to mount your plastic based magnet last, after all soldering is done.

    Assuming you have a metal magnet holder, place it on the side of the can just about ¼ inch below the rim where the non-working hinge half can contact it.

    Bend it a bit so the legs fit the curves of the soup can. It should be held in place temporarily with two screws, one on each side. Slide it up and down until you have it located so that the lid when closed will allow the second hinge to contact either side of the magnet. This allows some adjustment to holding strength.

    Coil the lead and fit in to the outside of the lid. Prepare it for soldering.

    Solder everything together after cleaning and using flux. Wash off all the acid-based flux with dish soap and water. You can remove the screws or leave them in place; the solder is holding everything together. Afterward you can paint it with any of the Metal Rust paints or Aluminum paint. You have a chum can that will last a lifetime.

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