Make: a tiffin pail from old tuna-fish cans

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Cultural appropriation?

That reminds me—a few years ago I was walking down the street in my neighborhood (in Minneapolis, MN, USA) carrying leftover cooked food to a friend who was then a poor and time-strapped student. What I had was several identical round plastic deli take-out containers, each with a different food item in it, stacked and placed in a long narrow plastic bread bag which I had knotted at the top. As I walked swinging the bag from the knot, I ran into another friend who said it reminded her of the tiffin pails she had seen on her trip to India. We were both pleased at the association :slight_smile:

I suppose there’s some version in every culture, huh?


Awesome! You could use the really big tuna cans, too.

A buddy of mine keeps some of his wargames in tiffin stacks. It only works for games that don’t have any boards or large pieces, like Kings’n’Things or Carcassone or whatever. He keeps the rulebook wrapped around the outside and held by the tiffin clamps.


Heavy metal poisoning, here we come.

Seriously, just buy them. Dremeled tuna cans are not food-safe containers.


Tin toxicity is a real thing, but even a very small person would have to ingest over 5g of the metal before suffering ill effects. Nominal tin coating weight for light coating (as in, cans not required to have a high corrosion resistance, like tuna cans) is 2.8g/sq. m. A tuna can is about 3cm deep and 8cm in diametre, with a total surface area (inside and out) of 150 sq. cm. If you scraped every last bit of tin off of it, you’d get… 0.04 grams.

Your concern seems to be misplaced.


I wouldn’t be particularly thrilled for tin to leach into food, but as you mentioned the amount ingested i think would be fairly low. Probably not as bad as having plastic leach into food.

The downside is you wouldn’t have any way of heating your food within the metal tins in a microwave, you’d need a separate container or plate for it. Unless you pack food that can be eaten cold or at room temperature. In which case i’d rather stick to my pyrex containers for lunch.

I do rather like the design for the Tiffin pail though, i am not familiar with it.

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But tiffins are mostly stainless steel. These tuna cans will rust away into nothing, plus cans tend to have a lacquer interior to seal the metal from the contents of the can.

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One could throw away the tuna, and just use the cans.


You could balance these on your lap and eat early in the day.

Breakfast At Tiffin-knees.


Most cans also have BPA liners these days, so you get that long-term fun too!


I had a co-worker who brought one of these in to work one day and I have been coveting it ever since.


My son takes a tiffin to school for his lunch; they are super practical. They are also really cheap, so I’m not particularly tempted to try to make miniature ones from used tuna tins…

(Nor are they difficult to get, in Toronto leastaways… )


Tuna was one of my least successful boycotts, along with Nestle, Exxon, BP, and the endless Koch investments.

These seem like selling points, to me! I’d rather have lacquered steel than stainless touching my food any day.

Sadly I suspect the coating of the tuna cans isn’t any lacquer I’d be comfortable with. It’s probably some nasty petrochemical sludge that never even came near family Kerriidae.

Pretty sure a lot of cans are lined with BPA or its less - well-rested relatives. Not sure if that’s true for tuna cans.

Yeah, if you only look at the tin content. Your analysis ended prematurely.

Watch the solder, watch heating the tins, watch for rust, watch for the welding rods etc etc. There’s a fair amount of work to do to make it healthy.

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Out of curiosity- what’s the concern with food touching stainless steel? I thought it was the gold standard, so to speak…

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Would you please provide reference links to solder used in tin cans? It’s great to be cautious of something hypothetical, but I’ve not been able to find any information on the type of solder used, the quantities used, and their toxicity information. Have you?

I’m not sure what welding rods have to do with anything; I’ve seen nothing to indicate that modern 2-piece cans are welded at any point.

The rusting issue is pretty much a red herring; regular tiffins are made of similar materials and would be just as subject to rusting.