Welding Bottle Ownership
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  1. #1
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    Default Welding Bottle Ownership

    I made the mistake of purchasing a Oxy/Acetylene bottle set off Facebook as ours had emptied and we didn't have a spare set. We've rented gas bottles in the past, but have tried to stick to owned bottles in the last 5 years as the rentals have ended up being a bigger fiasco for us to keep track of.

    So I'll start with the set I bought used. I got a SW size Acetylene and a K size Oxygen for $150, which I felt wasn't bad as the Oxy was full, they were a little rusty, and may need to be re-tested. When I picked them up, I saw some well worn names on them, but I naively figured that the names were not the big players I was familiar with, so they likely didn't matter. I took them to our usual welding supply shop, and they refused to exchange them due to the names as they might be stolen rentals, so now I've got homework to do to see who will exchange them.

    The Oxy bottle has a collar that reads "Central Welding Supply" and an old Airgas sticker. I called Airgas and they said that they wouldn't take it unless I could prove I bought it from them, and that even if it didn't have a name, I'd still have to prove ownership. There is a Central Welding Supply in Alvin TX, so I can call them in the morning, but they don't look to be an Airgas dealer, so the label is odd. On the bright side, the bottle is full, so I can recoup some cash there.

    The Acetylene bottle is empty and has "Property of Gulf Oxy HSTN Tex" and no decals. I can't find this company in any searches so I assume they were bought out by someone?

    Google search has just given me the impression that commercial bottle owners don't play well together. If their name is on the bottle, it's theirs regardless of who paid for what, and if someone else's name is on it, they likely won't touch it (which Is why I prefer to own my own).

    One other issue: The Oxy bottle we started out with we bought from Praxair. Our local welding supply didn't want to touch it either as they pointed out it had a blank aluminum ring glued to the top covering up a Praxair ownership ring . We didn't know it until the glue came loose, but now we're having to go back and find a receipt for it so we can get it exchanged for one with a (hopefully) blank neck.

    So I guess this is half a rant, and half an inquiry as to how many of you have had to fight stuff like this and how did you do it? Is it really this hard to exchange these things? I can understand if these things were stolen rentals, but I've also read about companies selling marked bottles the same as blank ones, so how can they really keep track of them?

    Once our Oxy bottles are sorted out, I have half-a-mind to paint and stamp them with our own company crap and just leave them at the supply shop to get filled the same as we do with our Propane bottles, but I know that some gases like acetylene are a bit more involved to recharge and exchanging is about the only option.

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    Grind and smooth off the raised letters on the ring and repaint, sanding primer as needed to fill sanding marks. Even heatgun the sticker off the bottle you have and put on it. Take them straight to the dock for exchange, do not ask desk clerk if it is OK to exchange. Tell them you will be working out of town and need linde bottles since they will be exchanged somewhere else. All is golden at that point.
    Always ask for a linde bottle. (or blank)

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    I have mixed feelings about cutting off the names as it feels unsafe, but might be the only option other than just handing them over.

    The Acetylene bottle has the name stamped into the neck of the cylinder, not in raised letters on a ring, so removing metal wouldn't be an option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    I have mixed feelings about cutting off the names as it feels unsafe, but might be the only option other than just handing them over.

    The Acetylene bottle has the name stamped into the neck of the cylinder, not in raised letters on a ring, so removing metal wouldn't be an option.
    Cutting and grinding or chiseling-off rings is VERY unsafe. So is use of any sort of filler on scars or pits. Bad advice. VERY! Detected, it gets the cylinder condemned out of hand - no need of hydrostatic test.

    Just don't!

    Given they ALL need periodic testing? I don't see the advantage to a smallholder in owning them. At all.

    Once had to move seventy-thousand of the buggers Long Binh to Newport for retrograde to Okinawa on "Massillon Victory", now a museum ship, in just three furious 26-hour days.

    Even at those numbers, I didn't really want to "own" them either!

    Our official TO&E of a coupla thousand, each, was already more than we had time and manpower resources in-country to test. Wartiem need was so great for cutting, DoD was even FLYING in pallets of O2 outta Defense Depot Tracy on long-haul C-130's. Surely glad those brave loadmasters and aircrew knew their shit.

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    I've bought tanks off of craigslist too, Just tried to make sure that they were Airgas tanks or some company that Airgas bought out on the neck ring. Renting tanks is just stupid in my opinion. At $50 a tank x my 10 tanks that's a lot of money going out for something that I will own for more than 5 years. Rentals only make sense to me for transient workers that only need a tank for a short job. I have 2 Reynolds welding tanks now that I am going to try to exchange at some point. If they wont take them i'll be grinding off the neck ring letters too. If they cast blank ones then the letters are not critical to the structure of the tank. Sometimes they give me one with a lettered neck ring and sometimes not. I don't care as I always go through them and they will always fill my tank. Its just the cost of doing business.

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    Find a small welding supply store. They're usually less strict and will be glad to exchange your bottles for filled ones of their own. This way they lock you as a customer to the mutual satisfaction.

    Airgas and other larger stores don't care about business that much and are harder to deal with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post
    I have mixed feelings about cutting off the names as it feels unsafe, but might be the only option other than just handing them over.

    The Acetylene bottle has the name stamped into the neck of the cylinder, not in raised letters on a ring, so removing metal wouldn't be an option.
    The rings with the raised letters are a separate piece, not part of the pressurized bottle. The rings "can" be changed but that is a hassle, that is how the different companies get their name on the bottles- have their ring on it.
    As for the stamped in name, a slop of paint should be able to help you excange it. I agree with Thermite about filling scars and damage on bottles.

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    I do 10 year leases on the larger size bottles. but I have also picked up a few from scrap yards or auctions and slide them into the rotation. so I think I own 3 of the 8 bottles I have and as the leases run out the bottle goes back if its not needed, just keep one set of leases going. here is the deal if I have a rented bottle slide out of a truck and get lost I get charged so they DO sell that bottle and its mine. so this stolen bottle thing is a scam, I called the cops on praxiar when they tried to seize one from me, they wouldn't fill but they gave me back my bottle. I DONT deal with the local praxair dealer, that little stunt by the manager cost them a chance at my business and 4 of my brothers businesses we were all unhappy with our local norco and were looking. not any more. minor scraches they dont care but arc strikes on a bottle means junk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    The rings with the raised letters are a separate piece, not part of the pressurized bottle. The rings "can" be changed but that is a hassle, that is how the different companies get their name on the bottles- have their ring on it.
    As for the stamped in name, a slop of paint should be able to help you excange it. I agree with Thermite about filling scars and damage on bottles.
    Not "me". US Government. Civil, under ICC authority in that era. Mine at the time, LG Cassidy, Chief of Engineers via 'strong dotted line" if local brass chose to challenge it. Compressed gas safety regs are in USACE portfolio - 3rd and 4th Corps Tactical Zone, USARV my specific "reach".

    ID rings - or valve replacement and such are meant to be dealt with by those trained for it. Only. At the time, Belvoir could generate a Lootenant of Engineers in 21 weeks. Cryogenics tech, Corp of Engineers took longer. 26 weeks, and the intake had to have near-as-dammit the same tested IQ. 90th percentile or above. Several of my team had already earned Master's Degrees in various Engineering Disciplines. Others had been commercial HVAC techs. Or driven coal trucks in Appalachia.

    Funny part is the lootenant left active duty with the simple "civilian equivalent occupation code" of "blaster".

    The SP4/SP5 Oxy/Acetylene/CO2 guys had a much better crack at a good job with the industrial gas companies!

    Providing.. the even BETTER trained US Navy or USAF "Base Fuels" veterans hadn't gotten all the best jobs, first!


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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post
    ID rings - or valve replacement and such are meant to be dealt with by those trained for it. Only.
    I was not thinking of swapping out rings, just mentioning they are a removable part and not critical to the integrity of the tanks ability at holding in the high pressure gas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob F. View Post
    I was not thinking of swapping out rings, just mentioning they are a removable part and not critical to the integrity of the tanks ability at holding in the high pressure gas.
    The paint won't stand any "pressure" either. Kinda useful at preventing RUST, though!



    The "non-shat" alloy is tough stuff. That ain't the same as "immortal", even if it sets a Helluva high bar at trying to be. We had a couple of bottles each side of the door to my Orderly House with B-40 rocket round damage. Shaped charge had pierced one side, jet had been stopped before clearing the other on the Oxy bottles. Acetylene jugs on display had only had to deal with 7.62 Rooshin machine-gun piercings.

    "Bad Day" for the hit team as did it. Straight leg infantry team in the zone saw it go down, took the gunners AND the whole damned balcony they were hid on right TF off the side of a villa with a Mike 79 40 mm grenade round!

    As-of 1967-68, we still saw quite a few Oxy AND Acetylene cylinders as first entered Federal service in the First World War and were covered with progressive test date stamps kept-current ever since.


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    Quote Originally Posted by M.B. Naegle View Post

    ... I called Airgas and they said that they wouldn't take it unless I could prove I bought it from them, and that even if it didn't have a name, I'd still have to prove ownership. ...

    So I guess this is half a rant, and half an inquiry as to how many of you have had to fight stuff like this and how did you do it? Is it really this hard to exchange these things? ...


    I've been dealing with this issue for 40 years, too. Own two sets, had to wait bottles to travel to Albany NY to be filled, then back, pay for hydrotesting, been accused of stealing cylinders, blah, blah, blah. It's just the attitude of many oldschool welding suppliers. Easy enough to come up with a bill of sale. They even insisted on painting my cylinders a different color, with my name and phone number on them, so they could tell them apart. At my expense, of course. And they got the phone number wrong.

    But about ten years ago, Airgas bought them out. I rolled in, put my chartreuse cylinders on the dock and asked when they'd be back. The new guy said, "We'll load you up now, unless you want to wait " and laughed when he saw the expression on my face. He said he'd been shocked too, but that Airgas had run the numbers and it was cheaper to exchange them and do the testing themselves than it was to keep customer owned bottles separate and track them.

    So I'm a bit surprised to hear Airgas in Texas isn't exchanging. If anyone in your store cares, have them call the Barre, VT office and talk to them.

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    "Customer Owned Bottle" is the tag they hang on mine.

    Yes, I have to get them hydro'd myself (local fire extinguisher place was recommended, and they are pretty reasonable, shop around)

    Yes, I have to drop them off, and come back to pick them up when they are filled (some places only fill 1 day a week)

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    A welding supply place won't do their own hydrotesting?

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    By chance, I found that most bottle problems are solved with a bill of sale from the seller to you. The gas guys may not exchange it, but they will fill it for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilho View Post
    A welding supply place won't do their own hydrotesting?
    I have yet to find one (been to 4 welding supply houses)

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilho View Post
    A welding supply place won't do their own hydrotesting?
    Depends on what "tier" of "welding supply". Small & medium, "No Fine Way".
    No more than yah find a live cow being milked in the dairy section of a supermarket.

    It's a pain in the ass. A nuisance expense. A serious investment in equipment, trained staff, calibration & records-keeping, Even a hole in the ground. Literally. In case they burst. MIL-SPEC "legal" in 'nam. It was all we had.

    All that costs MONEY.

    Sent "up the food chain" to the actual "distillery", and/or off the distribution line to specialists, usually.

    Examples, my "local" patch:

    http://safeairsystems.com/hydro/

    Hydrostatic Testing Services in Virginia (VA) on ThomasNet.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilho View Post
    A welding supply place won't do their own hydrotesting?
    Heck no, then they'd be liable for the stuff they sell.

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    Keep trying, IM sure there are more than one airgas locations near you. The last time I was there they said they would fill any bottle I brought to them as long as it was in test.

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    As far as I understand, there is a distinction in the department of transportation regulations between cylinders under 125 cu ft nominal size and the “full size” tanks of 300 cu ft or so. Below that, it is at the discretion of the supply house wether they handle it or not, above that, and they are mandated to only refill (transport?) their own.

    Of corse all cylinders must have a current test.

    My opinion is there are a lot of tanks that are just too old and should be retired. I’ve seen brand new tanks leak from the weld too tho ( B tank!)

    Absolutely no way I want my LWS testing anything critical!!!!

    They also consider the smaller tanks an annoyance and will do anything to discourage you from using them. One of my local ripoff joints was charging me 1 dollar a cu ft for argon before I switched


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