Is there a simple household technique to undo the seam of olive oil cans?

Olive oil is sold in 3L metal cans. They might have a shoebox profile - are brand names OK? Filipo Berio brand. There are smaller volumes as well. These metal olive oil cans are seamed in some specific way, similar to other cans. If the can could be "opened" the way modern-era "can openers" do - leaving no sharp edges, the can might be put to new uses around the kitchen or beyond.

I have tried an Oxo modern-era "can opener" that leaves no sharp edges - but this makes a mess of the can. I have a 6-inch hand seamer that will not work. I have tried a cold chisel and this has some promise but also makes a mess of the can.

I have looked for unusual tools and found out about can seamers, jump shears, or other things. There was an artist on public television showing how she undid certain metal cans with a pedal-driven shear. One day perhaps I might get such a tool but for now I am looking for easier/simpler methods. I might ask about this on Arts and Crafts Stack Exchange, but figured to start where the olive oil can came from - the kitchen. Perhaps if I know what to look for, it will help - for instance, the type of seam.


... but even if I "open" the can in an ordinary fashion, it would be interesting to know the precise process that introduces the seams.

  • Are you talking about the cans with rounded rectangular lids?
    – Sneftel
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:40
  • 2
    FWIW, the “modern” can openers you’re talking about don’t unroll the seam. They just cut it in a way that leaves less jagged edges.
    – Sneftel
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:44
  • updated - thanks @Sneftel. Feb 24, 2023 at 16:13
  • 2
    Just to be clear ... you're not talking about unseaming it to get the olive oil out, you're talking about doing so in order to re-use the can? If that's correct, you might also try one of the crafty SEs, who might have more tool suggestions than we do.
    – FuzzyChef
    Feb 24, 2023 at 20:00
  • 1
    Whatever you find that works, I would recommend investing in a deburring tool to clean up the edge afterwards.
    – Joe
    Feb 27, 2023 at 1:51

2 Answers 2


I re-use large soda and beer cans, my guidance is not to try and undo the seam if you can avoid it because then there's a relatively sharp edge you have to deal with. The seam is blunt, you don't have to worry about people cutting themselves on the top. A can opener with a deep reach is best for this, don't worry about the edge it leaves because you can soften that using a file. You may have to hunt around one that's got the depth.

If you do decide to get the bead off you can do it by filing the very top of the bead. Better yet use a rotary tool with a metal cutting disc to carefully grind it off, it's much faster.

  • how about an angle grinder - overkill? Feb 24, 2023 at 16:24
  • An angle grinder is a sledgehammer to crack a nut, it would be very difficult to control. You'd end up taking off half the can!
    – GdD
    Feb 24, 2023 at 17:29
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    A mini rotary tool like a dremel with a grinding disk would be perfect, though.
    – FuzzyChef
    Feb 24, 2023 at 20:10

How about using those side cut can openers that leave the seam with the lid rather than with the can?


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