November 10, 2014

Step By Step Photos of How to Use a Manual Can Opener (Plus 4 various styles of manual can openers)

A manual 'butterfly' style can opener

In our home we have three can openers, none of which are electric (by choice!).  While we usually use a more typical can opener with the long handles and rubberized grips* we also have a great old stand-by that is more compact and since it was made before we outsourced everything to China, it is made WELL and is sturdy and heavy; not a cheap bendable Chinese hack.   The funny thing about manual openers is that although I'm relatively young, no one my age or younger seems to know what they are or how to use them!

When my children have friends over and they are going to open a can, it's funny that most of them haven't a clue how to use a long-handled manual can opener, much less this version.  (I know they would be completely stumped if they saw the even smaller military version of a P-51 or P-38 opener!)

Here are 4 various styles of manual openers:

Deluxe Can Opener with Black Grips

Compact  Butterfly Can Openers

P-51 Can Opener or P-38 Can Opener

This is a step by step photo display of using the compact butterfly style opener.

  • Place the 2 small metal clips over the edge of the can you are going to open with the long 'tail' of the opener down in an open, relaxed and loose position.
  • While gently pressing the opener against the can, lift the 'tail' up.  There will be some resistance as this is the piece that will be now touching the top of the can and will soon pop through the lid.
  • Place your thumb on the short side nearest you, your fingers on the tail, (and I had to do this 1-handed to hold the camera) but your second hand is holding it in place on the butterfly 'wings'.
  • Turn the 'wings' just a tiny bit while holding the tail piece firmly - the motion created by starting to turn the wings causes the metal to pierce the can lid and pop a hole.
  • Keep turning, as the momentum will continue to cut through the metal and follow the curve of the can, opening as you go.
  • When you get to the end, push the 'tail' back down to lift the blade and the opener will fall away from your can.

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