Opening Pails

Recently we have been asked “How do I open my pail of … ?” Most of the time these pails are the small 1 gallon pails containing 5 lbs of fixed oils or other additives. Today, we will show you how to open these pails. I asked Taylor to help me demonstrate how we open these pails without cutting the lids by using a pail wrench or bare hands.

A pail wrench is easy to use as well as efficient with the energy used to open the pail. Did you know that a pail wrench is a simple machine and is classified as a Class 2 Lever? This allows us to multiply the force exerted and open the pail easily. You can find pail wrenches in our catalog under the Equipment category.

To use a pail wrench, place the pail on a work surface that is at a comfortable height. You don’t want the top of the pail to be high, otherwise you can stress your shoulders just trying to take the lid off. I like to place the pail on the floor and kneel down if the pail is a large pail, but usually I can work with a small pail on the counter tops.

Take the claw end of the wrench and fit it over the lip of the pail lid. The handle will point down toward the counter or floor. You do not want the handle of the wrench to be over the lid or you will put more force into taking the lid off than is necessary. It is best to have the pail wrench on the opposite side of the bucket so you can use a pulling motion to lift the lid.

Lift the handle of the wrench until the lid begins to lift. Turn the pail slightly, about 1/8 of a full revolution and repeat until you have loosened the entire lid. Now you should be able to lift the lid and pull it off.

When you are ready to close your bucket again, simply press the lid back on. It will require some pressure to press the lid back on but if you don’t want to use your hands, consider using a rubber mallet instead. We use rubber mallets to hit the lids and seal a bucket without damaging the lid. You can usually purchase a rubber mallet at a home improvement or hardware store for under $20.

Isn’t that easy?

Now before you wonder if a pail wrench is required to open buckets, it isn’t. You can open a pail with your bare hands. A pail wrench may be faster, but it is not required.

Place the bucket on a counter or other work surface that is at a comfortable work height. Set your hands on the opposite edge of the bucket lid. This will cause your arms to form an upside down “V” with your forearms resting on the bucket lid. Slide your fingers between the lid and pull the lid up. Turn the pail slightly, about 1/8 of a full revolution and repeat until you have loosened the entire lid. Now you should be able to lift the lid and pull it off.

Fitting the claw end over the lid.

Placing the pail wrench on the opposite side.

Pulling the wrench up to loosen the lid.

Look closely, this lid is now loose in one section.

Loosening one of the last sections.

Lifting the next section of lid.

Pulling the lid off the pail.

Removing a lid with hands:

Making a V shape with the arms.

Pulling the lid off the pail.

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One Comment

  • Wednesday says:

    I’m certain there are very good reasons for shipping my coconut oil in these containers… but the instruction to use a pail wrench threw me a curve. What is a pail wrench? Where to I find one? How do I use it?
    OK, that Q is answered above, without 20 minutes of internet searching.
    How did I miss not reading I was going to need one?
    Or I can just risk skin and nails trying to pull the lid off.
    It’s been a long week.

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