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View Full Version : opening old stuck caps on oil tubes


Pilan
01-07-2003, 02:16 PM
i purchased some old paints about 2 years ago. they are a superior paint and love to use them. problem is the cap is stuck and they are soft tin or lead like tubes. yes, i am very much aware of the danger however i promise i wont lick my fingers or sniff it excessively.

seriously, can someon please give me a tip on how to open them. I just tried to open a vermillion but the cap twisted right off along with the top of the tube :( .
i want to start using them so please response asap. thanks. if not and i have to twist the caps off what is the best storing method?

thank you
Pilan

KPowe
01-07-2003, 10:58 PM
Matches or a lighter can be used to warm the paint around the cap, then it usually just comes off with a little persuasion.

paintfool
01-07-2003, 11:01 PM
OOh. Tough one. :( Sounds like those tubes are really flimsy! I do know that you can buy replacment caps but i'm afraid i don't remember which on-line supplier carries them. I'll see if i can't find out for you. Maybe if you set the tubes upside down in an inch or so of paint thinner fo a bit they'll come off easier. When you re-cap the tube wipe the excess paint from the threads of the tube first and rub a bit of vasoline on them. This will prevent dried paint from gluing them shut.

Pilan
01-07-2003, 11:24 PM
Originally posted by paintfool
OOh. Tough one. :( Sounds like those tubes are really flimsy! I do know that you can buy replacment caps but i'm afraid i don't remember which on-line supplier carries them. I'll see if i can't find out for you. Maybe if you set the tubes upside down in an inch or so of paint thinner fo a bit they'll come off easier. When you re-cap the tube wipe the excess paint from the threads of the tube first and rub a bit of vasoline on them. This will prevent dried paint from gluing them shut.

Cheryl, these are old paints that I purchased at a garage sale. They are the matisson brand paints and most have been opened. They are so yummy and juicy I absolutely love them. I know they probably are leaded but they are great. Anyhow, I keep my tubes very clean once I open them. I am going to try the desolving method. You dont think they will ignite or does oil paint ignite, duh! i really am not sure. i must look like a real dork!:eek:
Pilan

paintfool
01-08-2003, 04:49 AM
LOL Pilan! No, you don't look like a dork! :D I don't believe that the paints themselves are flammable. Many Roads idea of warming them is probably a good one. Personally though i think i'd try using a hair dryer first. Or maybe even a pan of nice hot water. That will be perfectly safe.

Pilan
01-08-2003, 01:02 PM
Cheryl thank you! I was not real sure of this. I guess since I have not heard of anyone dying of an tubed oil paint explosion I could not have been positively sure. I sure don't need any awards labeled on my tombstone "another smart darwin award recipient" :( . Now thats really stupid :D .

I think I'll try the hot water method first.
Pilan

Originally posted by paintfool
LOL Pilan! No, you don't look like a dork! :D I don't believe that the paints themselves are flammable. Many Roads idea of warming them is probably a good one. Personally though i think i'd try using a hair dryer first. Or maybe even a pan of nice hot water. That will be perfectly safe.

Pilan
01-08-2003, 01:05 PM
Kathy, thanks. I am a wimp here. Cheryls warm water suggestion I will try first, now if all else fails then go to the trying to desolve it and then lastly to the hot match :eek: trick.

Pilan

Originally posted by Many Roads
Matches or a lighter can be used to warm the paint around the cap, then it usually just comes off with a little persuasion.

jimb
01-08-2003, 01:28 PM
Pilan,
I have kept a small pair of pliers in my paint box for years. Sometimes caps get a little stubborn and need a little persuasion. I too have a problem with flimsy tubes but most of the time the cap gives before the tube does if you grab the tube very close to the cap end.
If you really love this stuff and are in danger of ripping your tubes, I would recommend buying new empty tubes, cutting the crimpted end of the old tubes off and filling the new tubes with your paint. I belive that Daniel Smith carries empty tubes.
Good luck!

lillie
01-08-2003, 03:22 PM
I wrap the top of the tube (close under the cap) with a small strip of duck tape or packing tape, several rounds of it, then try the pliers on the cap.
It give a little more 'body' to the lead tube and you can apply a little more pressure.
;)

Lot of good suggestions here to open stubborn paint tubes, some I think I'll try next time..

:D

Pilan
01-08-2003, 06:30 PM
Jimb, this is a great suggestion and maybe the best to do. So I would have to be patient and order the tubes but then I would be able to use the paint without it squeesy all over my hands. hmmmm, thank you. If they wont come off with the hot water thing then this maybe an alternative.

Pilan
Originally posted by jimb
Pilan,
I have kept a small pair of pliers in my paint box for years. Sometimes caps get a little stubborn and need a little persuasion. I too have a problem with flimsy tubes but most of the time the cap gives before the tube does if you grab the tube very close to the cap end.
If you really love this stuff and are in danger of ripping your tubes, I would recommend buying new empty tubes, cutting the crimpted end of the old tubes off and filling the new tubes with your paint. I belive that Daniel Smith carries empty tubes.
Good luck!

Pilan
01-08-2003, 06:32 PM
wow, these suggestions are great. the hotwater may make the tube soft and then the top of the tube would twist and tear easier :mad: if I need too then I will try them all.

thank you all
Pilan

Originally posted by lillie
I wrap the top of the tube (close under the cap) with a small strip of duck tape or packing tape, several rounds of it, then try the pliers on the cap.
It give a little more 'body' to the lead tube and you can apply a little more pressure.
;)

Lot of good suggestions here to open stubborn paint tubes, some I think I'll try next time..

:D

KPowe
01-08-2003, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by Pilan
Kathy, thanks. I am a wimp here. Cheryls warm water suggestion I will try first, now if all else fails then go to the trying to desolve it and then lastly to the hot match :eek: trick.

Pilan


No problem, Pilan. Everyone in my painting group keeps matches or lighters with their paints and we've used this method for years. The instructor who has been painting for 40 years says he has used it all that time, so there is some history. You don't heat it up enough to catch the oil on fire, just enough to loosen the lid. Then pliers can take the lid off in a hurry.

Maryj Hicks
02-17-2003, 03:41 PM
Pilan...You can buy empty, new metal tubes. If you end up tearing the tub just have a new one ready to transfer the paint into.
( you may have already solved your problem ):p

Mary

CarlyHardy
02-17-2003, 07:30 PM
I use a candle when I need some heat for a really stuck cap. I find that holding the match is worse on my finger tips! LOL

A bit of linseed oil will clean up the caps and keep them from sticking again too. I've used linseed oil on my door hinges for years! Stops all squeeking!!
carly

lorelou
02-18-2003, 05:28 AM
Pilan,
I opened some 20 year old oil paints with a hot hair dryer in a matter of seconds.

yoyita_yoyita
02-28-2003, 05:55 AM
:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Very good ideas in this thread. I use a flat plastic jar opener, the circular type always with my oil paints. Pliers have come to my rescue other times, or putting them under warm running water in the sink.

Another trick I use, and this is when I make a "mother" color, let say I mix a lot for making the color of a dress etc. I place the mixed oil in the sealable plastic containers of 35 mm film. I add a little of clove oil to retard drying time and affix a label (from any office max or office supply) and write the color on it.
You can go where they develop films and ask them for the canisters, they don't use them and probably will be happy to give them to you, I would recommend bringing them an small box for them to place the unused plastic canisters and you go and pick it up when you want.

I have never used the empty tubes, I guess I always had enough plastic canisters :D


Regards.


Yoyita (http://www.yoyita.com)

coolartsybabe
03-08-2003, 05:44 PM
Thanks for asking that question, Pilan. I've had the same problem from time to time. I have had quite a few unhappy old tube opening fiascos including using pliers and doing nothing but twisting the tube and watching it burst all over me and everything else.

Don't know why I haven't tried the hot water trick. I've run hot water over the jar and tube lids of food and household products.

All of the suggestions here are really great.

ginatec
03-19-2003, 04:49 PM
Very hot water straight from the tap just over the top works for me...I then use the pliers.

s-augustson
03-22-2003, 08:18 PM
I'm bad, I always twist them off with my teeth. Probably not the healthiest thing I could be doing.

Shawn Augustson
http://www.augustson.com

Helen Zapata
03-28-2003, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by s-augustson
I'm bad, I always twist them off with my teeth. Probably not the healthiest thing I could be doing.

Shawn Augustson
http://www.augustson.com

hahaha.. oh my, you made me laugh right out loud! No dear, I DON'T think that's a good idea. Buy yourself some pliers! I do that, and the hot water thing if it's really stubborn.

white-anubis
04-08-2003, 12:17 PM
When my mother gave me her 20 year old set of paints, there was an old nutcracker included. What a great and simple device! I can twist anything off with it!

cobalt fingers
04-18-2003, 10:39 PM
some great paint comes in some crumby tubes

ginatec
04-19-2003, 03:46 AM
I must agree some paints are in terrible tubes. Has anyone else had to resort to opening the bottom of a tube and transfering the contents to another tube? I have only had to do this once...thank goodness, It's a messy job!:)

calvo
04-20-2003, 10:38 AM
I've always had better luck at holding the pliers motionless and turning the tube than vice versa. I can't figure out the physics involved, but it works for me.

Calvo

Vikk
04-20-2003, 11:57 PM
I just wanted to thank everyone for all these wonderful tips on how to open stuck paint caps and what to do if the tubes tear. I picked up quite a number of paint tubes and brushes--at least 15-25 years old -- from my mom this weekend and have been trying to figure out how to clean them up and open some of the more stubborn ones. Plenty of good ideas. The paint is fine. Many are the old Grumbacher small tubes.

She also had a box of 24 Sergeant's pastels for $1.80. A glass cutter for $1.88 and a bottle of Damar for 51 cents. My mom just turned 88 and was astonished when I told her of the cost of art supplies today.

vikk

ginatec
04-21-2003, 03:27 AM
Hi Vikk
I still have some tubes of paint that are getting on for 25/30 years from my student days...the paint is fine, it just seems to last and last:D Hope you manage to get all your tops off!

Vikk
04-23-2003, 08:37 PM
Hi Gina,

Thanks for letting me know about the paints. I'm looking forward to using them. With all the suggestions on this thread on how to remove the caps, I'm sure I'll be successful in my efforts.

vikk

Pilan
05-01-2003, 01:26 PM
Hi all, I just wanted to tell you all thank you again. The metal tubes are the hardest to twist off. Some have plastic caps making hard when they melt a bit. I think for the really bad ones I will put in the film cannisters someone here suggested, this way I dont have to purchase new empty tubes. I think I will use the fuji plastic film cannisters the white ones which are a bit transparent. Kodak is black.

One question was they mentioned the put clove oil to retard drying. Do you mix it in the paint you transfer to the film cannister or do you put a drop on top of the paint after you put it in the plastic film cannister?

And yes, there are some great paint in some bad tubes.

Thanks

yoyita_yoyita
05-03-2003, 01:04 AM
I think you can do both mix it with the paint or put it on top. I usually mix it with the paint.

tubbekans
12-18-2003, 06:45 PM
Originally posted by CHClements
I use a candle when I need some heat for a really stuck cap. I find that holding the match is worse on my finger tips! LOL

A bit of linseed oil will clean up the caps and keep them from sticking again too. I've used linseed oil on my door hinges for years! Stops all squeeking!!
carly

I tried some of the suggestions and wanted to share some results. I got 30 some very old paints (cheap) and managed to get only 1 open with fingers. A couple tubes had already been twisted so they were ripped. These paints were probably 20 years old? Anyway:

Hot water - no help on these guys.
Turpentine soak - no help either, but nice clean tubes!
Candle flame on the cap - Worked good, 23 open after a couple seconds flame and then pliers twisting.
Remainder would not budge, even after the caps had started to melt!

I then tried using the candle flame on the tube metal itself rather than the caps. Rotating the tube top in the flame several times did the job. All the remaining tubes opened fine, and no more melting plastic caps!

Can't say I know this helped the paint. But I'm a real beginner, so maybe I won't be able to tell the difference.

Thanks for the tips all!

TeAnne
12-26-2003, 05:30 AM
Originally posted by ginatec
Very hot water straight from the tap just over the top works for me...I then use the pliers.

I was going to say this when I got to the bottom. You said it first. :)
This method works for me.

Johnnie
12-27-2003, 01:18 AM
Originally posted by tubbekans



I then tried using the candle flame on the tube metal itself rather than the caps. Rotating the tube top in the flame several times did the job. All the remaining tubes opened fine, and no more melting plastic caps!

Can't say I know this helped the paint. But I'm a real beginner, so maybe I won't be able to tell the difference.

Thanks for the tips all!

Hi

Sure that would work. I did same thing also on couple of Winton tubes that were being difficult. The metal tube is a far better conductor of heat which allows the heat to radiate up into the threads. To me its the only way to release stubborn caps.

Also what I do after is , I clean the threads super clean then rub vaseline on the threads and clean out the caps with thinner. They never stick again.

Johnnie

bluemagoo
01-03-2004, 12:31 AM
wow. i love this site. thanks everyone for input. i have been struggling with some tubes and the bottoms exploding. now i have some good info how to solve my paint problems.
thanks!!

bbuggia
03-04-2004, 03:56 PM
No problem, Pilan. Everyone in my painting group keeps matches or lighters with their paints and we've used this method for years. The instructor who has been painting for 40 years says he has used it all that time, so there is some history. You don't heat it up enough to catch the oil on fire, just enough to loosen the lid. Then pliers can take the lid off in a hurry.

Ditto on the above message. My mother taught me this when I was VERY young (and I am now VERY old, ha) I not only keep matches in my french easel I also keep one of those rubber things that help open jars. Much lighter to carry in the easel. Works every time for me....

Joan52
06-02-2004, 12:48 PM
boil a kettle -pour boiling water into a cup or narrow container-put paint tube in boiling water srew top down and leave for up to 10 min. if necessary and the top will come of easily. If the tube is likely to get soft you can put just enough boiling water to emerse the lid replacing boiling water every few min. When you attempt to undo the lid hold the tube with your fingers as close to the top as possible. Narrow pliers are a must in your paint box-hope this helps

JesusFreak3_13
06-04-2004, 02:31 AM
Oh! I know this one! Have you ever seen those little things for opening jar lids? They are about the size of your palm and they are made out of a type of rubber. I had the same problem with my paints, where when I tried to twist off the cap, the tube twisted too. I used that little rubber thing and it was like the cap was never even stuck.
Hope that helps!

dad bakes
03-05-2012, 10:14 PM
boil a kettle -pour boiling water into a cup or narrow container-put paint tube in boiling water srew top down and leave for up to 10 min. if necessary and the top will come of easily. ...

Worked amazingly well on some 5 yr old tubes tonight. Thanks!

libby2
03-12-2012, 05:13 AM
Oh man does this sound like a good idea: linseed oil, boiling water.... my paint tube lids do stick! Thanks for all the good ideas. :)

mastermesh
03-17-2012, 12:48 PM
hit the cap on the edge of a table... sometimes that can help break the seal that is acting like glue causing the cap and tube to stick tight. Also, nice pair of needle nosed plyers sometimes helps in turning the cap (be careful not to damage the cap too much since you likely will want to reuse it)