Wednesday, 20 July 2016

09:07 – Long-time reader Mikeric sent me email with a question about #10 cans: “I am curious about how you open them. I have spotty luck with can openers.”

Good question, and one that many preppers never think about because they don’t realize it can be an issue. The problem with #10 cans is two-fold: first, they’re tall enough to make it difficult or impossible to use a standard counter-top can opener, electric or manual. Second, the lid on #10 cans may be recessed deeply enough from the rim that some can openers may just spin the can around without the cutter blade coming into contact with the lid itself.

For emergency use, the best bet is military P-51 and/or P-38 can openers. The P-51’s and the slightly smaller P-38’s are cheap, fast, and effective (once you figure out how to use them). If you depend on canned goods in your food storage, you’ll want to have a bunch of them scattered around so you’re never lacking a can opener. As a matter of fact, I just added a 20-pack (ten of each, P-51 and P-38) to my Amazon cart. That’s 20 US-made, military-issue, Shelby can openers for about $9. You’ll want at least one in each of your emergency kits, plus several more scattered around your kitchen and food storage areas.

For daily use, you’ll want a normal can opener or openers. We threw out our electric can opener years ago. It worked only with normal size cans, didn’t work when the power was down, and was difficult to keep clean. Our main can opener now is an Oxo safety can opener that Barbara got at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

We also have a couple of standard manual can openers, of the sort that Swing-A-Way pioneered in the late 1930’s. Swing-A-Way can openers made prior to about 10 or 15 years ago are just about bullet-proof and can open any standard or institutional size can. They’re still sold for $5 or $6 apiece, but unfortunately they’re now made in China and are reportedly now typical shoddy Chinese junk. There’s a US-made version sold under the name EZ-Duz-It, which reviews say is as good as the original Swing-A-Way openers, but I haven’t seen one of those.

Finally, if you find yourself without any tools at all, you can open a can by pressing it against any concrete surface and turning the can until you’ve ground down the rim.

More science kit stuff today, as usual.