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Best way (or tool) to open a shipping tube from

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  • Best way (or tool) to open a shipping tube from

    I recently placed a couple of orders for aluminum stock from Each shipment came packed in a sturdy, heavy cardboard shipping tube, capped at each end by a round block of wood that is stapled multiple times to the tube.

    The tubing makes a good holder for the stock, so I'd like to find a good way to open up one end by removing the block of wood, without tearing up the end of the tube (or my hands, or the metal) in the process.

    So far I've tried various poking, prying, and pulling tools (such as screwdrivers - yes, I know that screwdrivers are for driving screws and not for poking, prying, or pulling staples) - I have several cuts and bruises on my hands to show for it.

    I have also tried using a pocket knife to scribe a circumferential line about an inch below the mouth of the tube and then trying to pull off the cardboard layer by layer. Tedious, time consuming, and not particularly effective either.

    Finally, when neither of those approaches worked, I've tried hacking away at the cardboard with my knife like a crazed Jack-the-Ripper wannabe (which eventually worked, but now the end of the tube is pretty well torn up).

    I have avoided taking a Sawzall to it (or putting it in the bandsaw) both because that seemed like overkill, and also because I'd like to avoid accidentally cutting into the metal stock.

    There must be a better way, a tool or a technique that I can use when I get my next shipment... Suggestions are welcome...

  • #2
    I just walk over to my vertical bandsaw and cut right below the lowest staple, never hit the metal inside the tube yet and I've done it hundreds of times.


    • #3
      I do the same as Mochinist.


      • #4
        Opening Cardboard Tubes

        I find the same challenge when encountering the dreaded cardboard shipping tube. The aproaches that have worked best for me are to use some dental tools that I am lucky enough to have acquired over the years. They are designed for prying out teeth when doing an extraction and are very heavy duty. More commonly available tools that also work are "Fencing Pliers". These have pincers at the top and a curved tapered spike on one edge that are good at getting under the staples and are available at all the major home stores. What also works, but sacrifices some of the tube is the Black and Decker Versa tool saw. It is small enough to safely use one handed and cuts through even the thickest cardboard tube with relative ease.
        Fred Townroe


        • #5
          Chuck it in the 4-jaw, use a steady, and part the end.

          Or something.


          • #6
            I guess that I've been too timid in my approach...

            Next time I get one, I'm gonna let the bandsaw rip away...


            • #7
              I always liked to keep the length of the cardboard tube so I had a special "prydriver" (screwdriver) that I used to pry up the staples, then pulled them out with pump pliers.

              Yes, it takes longer but I have tubes from 12 ft long stock that I can still cut in half and send out 6 foot-long pieces if need be.


              • #8
                when we would sell crome shaft for hydraulic cylinders we would saw it in the cardboard tube so the dirty saw vice jaws did no mar it. I can see why you want to save it, its good to keep some around.


                • #9
                  Chop saw works good also jus cut right below the staples.


                  • #10
                    same here

                    I cut it right below the staples that way I still have a closable container. Jan


                    • #11
                      Sounds like Online Metals have resoved thier packaging problem. I've read several times that folks where getting empty packages that were suppose to be filled with metal stock.

                      I would rather have tools that I never use, than not have a tool I need.
                      Oregon Coast


                      • #12
                        I always use the bandsaw. Helps clean the blade.


                        • #13
                          Drill a small hole in the side, squirt in some starting fluid, then hold match to the hole. Opens the tube without problem.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 914Wilhelm
                            Drill a small hole in the side, squirt in some starting fluid, then hold match to the hole. Opens the tube without problem.
                            LOL this thread is fun now.


                            • #15
                              If you were to ever receive a mailing tube from me you would probably find it clearly marked on each end "OPEN OTHER END ONLY!" Just my slightly warped sense of humor.

                              Errol Groff
                              Errol Groff

                              New England Model Engineering Society

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