Help me remove this lid!
November 7, 2020 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Help! Any ideas in how to remove the metal top from this this vintage glass cocktail shaker?

We got this at a thrift store. The top is tightly attached to the glass bottom. There is a bit of rust visible around the edge between the metal and glass. It is not budging at all. I did try (briefly) heating the top with a butane torch, and nothing moved. It is on so tight that there is nothing I can slip between the two to loosen it. I am afraid that I will break the glass.

We are not very invested in this (just a few bucks), but it would make a great housewarming gift! Thanks for your help and ideas!

posted by to Science & Nature (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the spout cap will come off, fill the beaker with ice water to just below the cover. Then heat the cover.
If no success, put something like the side of a chisel against the cover edge and tap gently with a hammer. WD-40 might help.
Sometimes with closely fitting things, finesse can work. Try to work the cover off. It might be skewed and needs a little gentle persuasion.
Good luck!
posted by H21 at 2:53 PM on November 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Try turning it upside down and liberally applying a penetrating oil product like WD-40 around the whole perimeter. Wait an hour, do it again. Wait an hour do it again. Then start to work on loosening it. One or two strap wrenches like these are worth having around because they help with a zillion similar problems that come up (opening food jars, etc).
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:55 PM on November 7, 2020 [2 favorites]

Penetrating oil might do it, as recommended above (I’d do 3 in 1 over WD40). Or you might try getting some CLR in there if you think it’s rust.

Unfortunately sticking is a common problem on this kind of cheap shaker with a glass base and a very thin, shallow metal top. Shaking with ice can lower the internal pressure sufficiently to deform the metal a bit while sucking it down extra tight. Not much to do about that and it will probably happen in the future. The good news is that these shakers are a lot better to look at than they are for making cocktails, so it’s not a huge loss if the top never comes off but you like how it looks.
posted by slkinsey at 3:45 PM on November 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Imgur is blocking me from seeing any of the images linked from AskMe these days, so I can't be sure, but in every older glass cocktail shaker with a metal lid I've looked at (many), the lid has been chrome plated brass or copper; therefore I doubt it's rusted. You could check with a magnet to be sure, though.

I would try a 2 step process: first, hold the shaker upside down in your hand gripping the very bottom, and tap it not too sharply with the edge of a wooden spoon on the glass all around just above the metal part. The objective is to get the glass to ring and let the vibrations loosen the connection between glass and metal.

Then I would try to drive the metal part off the glass by placing a bamboo chopstick against the very narrow edge of the metal where it overlaps the glass and tapping the other end of the chopstick with a small utensil of suitable heft. If the metal were to be steel you could use a brass or copper rod instead of bamboo or other hardwood, but that would mar chrome plated brass. If the bamboo won't do the trick, you could try the tip of an old and otherwise useless silver plated spoon or butter knife if you happen to have one.
posted by jamjam at 4:28 PM on November 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'd try the penetrating oil or wd-40. I'd guess there's a rubber ring on the inside that has degraded over time and become all stucky and would hamper/dampen some of the direct twisting attacks.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:32 PM on November 7, 2020

run the lid under hot water; might get the metal to expand just a little.
posted by theora55 at 8:16 PM on November 7, 2020

Air pressure might pop the top off. If you drop a bit of baking soda in there, then follow up with vinegar, a lot of carbon dioxide will be generated. If you hold your thumb over the spout the pressure will build up. I would not recommend doing this inside, though, and wear heavy clothes in case the glass shatters (very unlikely) before the lid pops off.

Another way to get some air pressure is carbonated soda. If you shake it up that will also generate some pressure.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:59 AM on November 8, 2020

If you mess with pressurizing it please wear safety glasses! And let us know if you get it worked out :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 9:42 AM on November 8, 2020 [1 favorite]

Ditto H21, but dont use WD40. WD40 is a solvent and might effect or exacerbate issues long term. Try a silcon based spray, but the hot/cold in H21 & theora's I think is your best option.

I'd avoid the pressure - unless you have a preference to recover the metal lid rather than the glass.
Final scenerio: pick if you prefer the lid or glass more.
posted by rubatan at 2:14 PM on November 8, 2020

Hey, everyone! IT WORKED! Here are the steps I took:

1. Sprayed some WD-40 in there and let it sit overnight upside down.
2. Found some "Liquid Wrench" and sprayed that in there as well.
3. Tapped around the lid with a wooden spoon.
4. Then I pressed the wooden spoon up against the lip, and used second spoon as the hammer to tap.

It came off after about a minute of tapping. Very impressive -- almost as impressive as the fact that I did not break the thing.

THANKS, everyone!
posted by at 1:31 PM on November 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I see that you've fixed it, but for posterity's sake, I've solved this exact problem by filling the shaker completely with water, then freezing it - the expanding ice pushed the top right off.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:42 PM on November 12, 2020

Oh I just remembered another trick -- dry rice. Fill the shaker full of rice, pack it as full as possible, then fill it with water. The rice will slowly absorb the water and expand, pushing the top off. I seem to recall this being how skulls are gently disassembled into their individual bone plates.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:34 AM on November 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

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