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Bought 250 cu. ft. Argon bottle in a private sale

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  • Bought 250 cu. ft. Argon bottle in a private sale


    This weekend a local restaurant owner showed me a 250 cu. ft. Argon bottle that he said he found in his mother in law's yard while they were cleaning her house and property to sell, so she could be moved into another house. The marking seem to indicate that it is what is called a Type K size bottle.

    I paid him $25 for it and when I took it home my MIG gauge showed it had 2300 PSI in it. Shortly afterwards I got suspicious about the bottle possibly being leased by his deceased father-in-law, or other deceased relative. I called the local supplier whose company name was stamped on it and pretended like I wanted to buy the same size bottle. The lady informed me that they only lease 200 and 300 cubic foot bottles. I asked about the cost of a refill on their larger bottles and it sounded like it would be around $175 !!!.

    So it sounds like the bottle can't be exchanged or refilled? The guy who sold it to me said I could come by his restaurant and he would sign a bill of sale that I told him I would draw up, so I still think his he and his family have legal possession, but that it may be in the form of a lease.

    Since I'm trying to learn how to TIG weld maybe I could use up most of the gas and then bring it to the distributor stamped on the bottle and then worst cause scenario is they would confiscate the bottle, but I would have still gotten my money out of it and then some.

    Please advise how I should proceed. I do not want to get into trouble over this.

  • #2
    You’re not going to get in trouble over this unless your area, for some reason, has a rash of welding gas thievery going on. I’ve taken cylinders with airgas necks to my LWS, which is a regional outfit called Coastal Welding. I’ve been able to swap them no problem, except on one occasion they refused my cylinder, I think it was a new guy. So I took the refused cylinder home, fixed the collar with a flap disk and some spray paint, took it right back to the same place and swapped it.

    If you don’t have the paperwork, and depending on your state, you’ll probably have to open an account and get that cylinder listed under your name so you can keep swapping it.

    I’ve also taken used cylinders that I’ve acquired from various sources and traded them in for different cylinders. For example, when my uncle passed away, he had about a half dozen MC acetylene cylinders, those are the small ones like for AC tech use. I took them all down to coastal welding and they gave me trade in value for another big argon cylinder.

    Lots of ways to go about this, brother. None of which are going to get you in trouble unless you knowingly bought stolen goods. Just be honest and upfront with your LWS and you should be good to go.


    • #3
      Our local bottle tester will grind the writing off for $2 when they test them. It’s your bottle.
      Bob Wright


      • #4
        There are too many variable for anybody to be able to give you a definite answer...just lots of maybes. In some areas/some shops, they won't sell certain sizes, so it's possible that bottle was leased and you don't really own it "legally" since it wasn't theirs to sell to you. That won't get you in trouble, but you might not be able to swap it without signing a lease agreement. Some shops don't care about neck rings, some do...just depends.

        On top of that, it may or may not be in test. In some situations the cost of the test is on you, and others it's on the supplier...just depends.

        Regardless of all that, you can't get a 250 filled for $25 anywhere I've heard of, so you aren't out anything no matter how it plays out.


        • #5
          I've ground off defunct companies from an embossed ring and repainted them. No biggie. Probably didn't even need to, but I didn't want any hassles from the teenager at the counter. The exact fill/exchange procedures will vary greatly around the country.


          • #6
            All of the above.
            Trailblazer 250g
            22a feeder
            Lincoln ac/dc 225
            Victor O/A
            MM200 black face
            Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
            Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
            Arco roto-phase model M
            Vectrax 7x12 band saw
            Miller spectrum 875
            30a spoolgun w/wc-24
            Syncrowave 250


            • #7
              Use the argon, and if your LWS won't re-fill or swap, make a wind chime!