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I have several 5 gal. plastic buckets with a tight fitting plastic lids that I want to remove. The lids are not the typical vertical slots that you just break open to pry the lid off so I need another approach. I tried cutting my own slots but that is extremely labor intensive and messy (I have 20 buckets to do.) It appears my choices with a router are a slot cutting bit or a straight cutting bit. Does anyone have a suggestion about how to do this, possibly with a jig? The lids have a rubber O-ring just under the outside rim so I would need to cut below that and above the plastic hook that secures the lid to the bucket.The attached diagram is a cutaway of a lid top section. :unsure:
 

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Trey, attach a guide bushing to your router and it will give you the needed offset to use a slot cutter. If your reason for cutting the lids is because they are difficult to open a 5 gallon pail opener only costs a couple dollars.
 

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Hi Trey

You are making a easy job to hard I don't think the maker of the buckets wanted to make a string with one end, so to speak :) what goes in must come out and I'm sure they have a tool/device make just for that job on that type of bucket..I would suggest you call the guy you got them from and ask how do you open this thing...



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I have several 5 gal. plastic buckets with a tight fitting plastic lids that I want to remove. The lids are not the typical vertical slots that you just break open to pry the lid off so I need another approach. I tried cutting my own slots but that is extremely labor intensive and messy (I have 20 buckets to do.) It appears my choices with a router are a slot cutting bit or a straight cutting bit. Does anyone have a suggestion about how to do this, possibly with a jig? The lids have a rubber O-ring just under the outside rim so I would need to cut below that and above the plastic hook that secures the lid to the bucket.The attached diagram is a cutaway of a lid top section. :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Mike, I appreciate your help. I have that same lid removal tool and it doesn't work on this type of lid. :-(
 

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Bob, I agree with you, I always try to look for the easy solution first. In this case the guy I got the buckets from had no idea how to get the lids off. It turns out he never takes them off, just pours the contents out of the spout in the lid. In researching the bucket website it didn't list a tool for lid removal so I sent them an inquiry about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Mike, I appreciate your help. I have that same lid removal tool and it doesn't work on this type of lid. :-(
 

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Thanks helped with my problem I had a 5 gallon pale trying to figure out how to get the lid off. Went to my home center sure enough in paint section they had the tool for removing the lid just a couple bucks..
 

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Pine Knot,

I am giving some tought to your problem and perhaps the better tool to remove the lid consistently from the buckets, may be the table saw, say you add a tal supprot fence and some supports to each side, then just rotate the bucket carefully on the spinning blade, which you can vary how close to the lip or how centered on the o-ring you want and by rising the blade you can control the how fast the lid is cut away, you can get carried away and even build a cradle with some old inline skate wheels that help you compensate for the taper on the bottom vs the top part and make it glide smootly as you turn it. Same concept as your original tought but you bring the part to the machine rahter than the machine to the part.
 

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HI Ziggy

I think he has something in the bucket that he wants out but not all over the table saw :)

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Maybe this illustrates the idea better.
 

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I just use a die grinder with a cutoff wheel and zip some slots around the top:)
 

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Dremel tool with the small saw blade will work well. The also have a carbide bit that I use to open sealed ammo cans with as well
 

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Here at the campground we have chlorine tablets for the pool that come in buckets that are a pain to open.
My method at first was to use a utility knife to cut vertical slots about ever 3" in the lid. I finally got smart and started using a Dremel tool with a saw blade. I cut all the way up to the O-ring, but not through it.

Make sure you slow the Dremel down or the plastic will melt around the teeth of the blade, also let it cool for a second or two between every cut.

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Ziggy for the table saw idea.

Ziggy, my table saw is in storage and not accessible at the moment. I had thought about doing what you said but couldn't figure out how to work around the wire handle that sticks out of two sides of the bucket. That messes up the bucket rotation so I went with the router instead.





Pine Knot,

I am giving some tought to your problem and perhaps the better tool to remove the lid consistently from the buckets, may be the table saw, say you add a tal supprot fence and some supports to each side, then just rotate the bucket carefully on the spinning blade, which you can vary how close to the lip or how centered on the o-ring you want and by rising the blade you can control the how fast the lid is cut away, you can get carried away and even build a cradle with some old inline skate wheels that help you compensate for the taper on the bottom vs the top part and make it glide smootly as you turn it. Same concept as your original tought but you bring the part to the machine rahter than the machine to the part.
 

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Thanks John

I used a grinder on the first two buckets and ran in to two problems. 1} It was really hard to guide the grinder consistently and 2) It made a real mess. I had plastic "skittles" all over the place.




I just use a die grinder with a cutoff wheel and zip some slots around the top:)
 

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Thanks Dallas

I was using the Dremel but it quit on me. I am hoping I didn't burn the motor out.



Here at the campground we have chlorine tablets for the pool that come in buckets that are a pain to open.
My method at first was to use a utility knife to cut vertical slots about ever 3" in the lid. I finally got smart and started using a Dremel tool with a saw blade. I cut all the way up to the O-ring, but not through it.

Make sure you slow the Dremel down or the plastic will melt around the teeth of the blade, also let it cool for a second or two between every cut.

I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Tommy

Do you use the Dremel freehand or do you use a jig to hold everything? I'm afraid my cut would be all over the place if I did it freehand.


Dremel tool with the small saw blade will work well. The also have a carbide bit that I use to open sealed ammo cans with as well
 

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Did you consider a root zip or Sawzall?
Either could be attached to a sufficiently long bar which would ride the top of the bucket. I'd start with a 2x4 screwed to a strip of plywood 2' long.
Step on the fence and rotate the cutter around the bucket.
Distance of cut governed by thickness of fence.
 
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