InstructablesTV: Open a Can With a Knife

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Introduction: InstructablesTV: Open a Can With a Knife

This week on Instructables TV we open a can with a knife.
This is a very useful skill, because often there's no can opener to be found.
In fact, there were fifty years when cans HAD to be opened without a can opener.

W'pedia sez:
"The first tin cans, invented in 1810, were heavy-weight containers that required ingenuity to open, using knives, chisels or even rocks. Not until cans started using thinner metal about 50 years later were any dedicated openers developed."



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Step 1: Advanced Technique: Open Can With Ballpoint Pen

From my Yucatan Proa trip log:

A Bic ballpoint with the hard clear body as seen here is good for this.
Some pens are made of soft plastic that isn't as good. This old model is great. It survives salt water and all kinds of abuse. The ink doesn't run when it gets wet. I liked it better than an "astronaut" pen that failed on the same trip.

Open Can with Pen:
1: Using a corner of the pen's blunt end, score the can across top. This makes a big "X" in the top of the can.

2: Stab a hole in the middle of the top with ballpoint. This is easier than it sounds.
Now there's a hole in the middle of the X. A hole with four corners.

3: Enlarge the rips in the four corners. Push each corner along with the handle of the pen til it reaches the edge. Pry up each flap.

4: Eat contents with two sticks as chopsticks. Plan uses for the interesting metal thing you have left.

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22 Comments

There should be a "DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME" warning at the beginning.

The knife used must have been really blunt otherwise it would have ripped open the guy's palm.

One of the first things parents teach their kids in the kitchen is never to cut towards yourself. Always cut away from your body.

The video and advice is irresponsible. Kids might not know you are trying to be funny and actually try it.

That video probably had the best introduction I have ever seen.

wow, this is actually how i open all my cans. Tim, you have a very neat technique, for some one who looks like a crazy man. very tidy can edges. Actually, you can open a can with butter knives. but you have to use a "psycho" stabbing motion, and you have to do it a bunch of times until you get one near the edge, then you can use a leaver action to tear a hole large enough to get the contents out.

Heh, i once sharpened a butter knife because i was too lazy to get a sharper knife.

I love your hair in that first picture...

Im good I have a can opener on my pocket knife lol. Will remember both tricks for just in case uses.

Or do as I do. Step1:make can sized hole Step2:put can in hole Step3: put a small amount of flash powder on top of can, add fuse Step4: light fuse and RUN!!!

Glad to see it done. Does the knife blade material have an effect? Relatively soft stainless steel vs. good knife steel (1095?). (But Tim, what did your granddad say about eating with your knife???)