How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener

Whenever I go to the store I usually spend a few extra minutes wandering around looking for any good prepping items that I may need to stock up on, that are on sale, or perhaps that I just never thought of before.  At the grocery store just yesterday I was cruising up and down the aisles when I noticed there was a sale on some nice sturdy, classic style can openers.  Of course I bought three right on the spot.

Sure I’ve got a few can openers at home but if for some reason they were to break or I bartered or loaned some to friends I would have no way to get into any of the canned food that I have stored.  So why not add a few more openers to my stores just in case?  Couldn’t hurt, right?

Of course it doesn’t hurt to have extras of just about anything.  I’m a firm believer in the old prepper’s saying, “two is one, and one is none”.  Or is it, “feed a cold, starve a fever”?  I forget.  Anyway, the openers went into the shopping cart and off I went with a grin on my face.

During the drive home I began thinking it would be a good idea to learn how to open a can without a can opener altogether.  I know I’ve got an old fashioned can opener on my Leatherman tool but I was thinking it would be nice to learn how to open a can without any type of tool made specifically for that purpose.  So, since we’re not in the middle of any type of emergency and the power is up and running along with the internet I decided to do a little research.  What I found (in about ten seconds) were several different ways to open a can without a can opener.

The first video I came across involves simply taking a knife and plunging it through the top of the can and then muscling it around the lid until the can is open.  This method is pretty straightforward but also looks a little dangerous and like a pretty good way to ruin your knife.  I’ve got to think that even if I were careful I’d end up cutting myself at some point.  And the last thing you need during an emergency situation where a trip to the ER may not be an option is a bad cut.  Here’s a link to the video I saw, judge for yourself.

The next method I came across was similar but used a spoon instead of a knife.  I like this method better.  While it’s still possible to cut yourself on the edge of the can you’re much less likely to get a deep cut like you would from a knife.  Check that one out here.  Wearing a leather glove in the hand you hold the spoon with makes this method much easier.

Here’s another nifty trick that still involves using a knife but which weakens the seam on the lid of the can so that much less force is involved when you need to bring the knife into play.  It looks a lot safer, still uses a knife though.    Check it out here.  I tried this one myself but spent more time weakening the seal by rubbing it on some concrete and was able to pop the lid off without a knife or any type of tool at all.  However the can I was trying to open didn’t have much if any liquid inside.  Opening a can of soup the way I did would have been a messy waste of food.

All three of these methods work just fine and will serve you well in a pinch.  On the other hand, you could just buy a few extra can openers the next time you see them on sale…

~ Butch



4 Responses to How To Open A Can Without A Can Opener

  1. I’ve used knives for years to open cans. Mostly using the bushman mini. It hasn’t been damaged at all.

  2. I believe one of Cody Lundin’s book described opening a can with nothing but an abrasive surface. You place top of can on surface and rotate it’s top edge in circular pattern, wearing away the thin metal until its gone.

    I’ve never tried it myself but it sounds plausible.

  3. I have a boatload of the P-38 can openers … one on each key chain, one in each car, a couple in the B.OB. and others in many other places … i.e. tool bags, fishing supply bags etc.