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Would a P-38 can opener be OK as a cache item?


TeamGumbo
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I have been trying to figure out something cool I can leave as a signature item, and I am considering ordering a bunch of P-38 can openers (the ones that used to come with C-Rations).

 

It has a sharp edge, but that edge is only about 1 cm.

 

I've had one on my keychain since basic training and still use it (not only for opening the occasional can, but to open boxes, loosen screws, etc.). A very handy tool to have that I'm sure folks would use.

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If it is not individually wrapped, you may want to put it in a small zip lock bag to keep the inevitable cache moisture from them. That would also protect the 'sharp' edge from accidental contact with fingers.

 

I'd love to find one of those.

Edited by Airhead-kb
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I'm old enough to have a few C rations laying around.from GI days.

We were hiking once and decided to spring a (sometimes not so) tasty treat on my teammates.

Turns out the skeletonized "hikers" can opener blew apart.

BUT, a p38 on my car keys saved the day - sorta.

STILL can't get them to believe that yeast IS in the crackers (with accompanied very dry PB/jelly) and that they weren't growing penecillin :)

 

Happy camper finding one of those little life-savers in a cache. Excellant idea !

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I have got one out as a travel bug right now that I carried since '68 and used for 18 years with the Boy Scouts. TB1FDZJ to see a picture of one if you don't know what they look like, it is in a cache in Utah since 9/3/07 if you want to go get it go to GC13901 out side of Salt Lake City. Some one nice enough to put tape on the sharp part, I did not think of that because I carried it so long and it never did anything to hirt me, but I did not think of small kids getting ahold of it.

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OH MY GOD! THAT'S A DANGEROUS WEAPON! IT CAN PIERCE METAL WITH LITTLE EFFORT AND DOES NOT BELONG IN A CACHE! AN INMATE MIGHT GET ONE AND TAKE OVER A PRISON. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?!

 

Oh, did I forget to open with a <facetious> tag? So sorry.

 

I think they're a pretty cool trade item myself.

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We have been cleaning out our local surplus stores of those P-38's, we put them in just about all the caches we find, they even fit in most micros. Everybody around here loves them and they don't stay in a cache for long. We put them in a small zip bag with a tag that tells what they are. Great swag!

Edited by DaFunkyFrogs
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OK, you guys convinced me, thank you. I ordered 50 P-38s and 50 P-51s (they are the larger version).

 

I'd like to send each of the respondents ***thus far*** one or the other: just send me an email with your snail mail addy and preference, and when these arrive I'll send one to you.

 

Keep in mind the P-51 might not be ideal as a keychain fob since it's a little larger, but it opens cans quicker and is easier on the hands.

 

My email address is vickersdavis(at)yahoo.com. They should ship in 3 to 5 days so I reckon they'll be here the end of next week.

 

I had been putting tiny LED keychain flashlights in the caches I found, but I think these are a little more robust and all-around useful, plus they'll fit in the micro caches I've been running across.

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OK, you guys convinced me, thank you. I ordered 50 P-38s and 50 P-51s (they are the larger version).

 

I'd like to send each of the respondents ***thus far*** one or the other: just send me an email with your snail mail addy and preference, and when these arrive I'll send one to you.

 

Keep in mind the P-51 might not be ideal as a keychain fob since it's a little larger, but it opens cans quicker and is easier on the hands.

 

My email address is vickersdavis(at)yahoo.com. They should ship in 3 to 5 days so I reckon they'll be here the end of next week.

 

I had been putting tiny LED keychain flashlights in the caches I found, but I think these are a little more robust and all-around useful, plus they'll fit in the micro caches I've been running across.

 

That is very generous of you and I'll gladly take you up on the offer as I can't find the one I got out of a cache last year. ;)

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OK, you guys convinced me, thank you. I ordered 50 P-38s and 50 P-51s (they are the larger version).

 

I'd like to send each of the respondents ***thus far*** one or the other: just send me an email with your snail mail addy and preference, and when these arrive I'll send one to you.

 

Keep in mind the P-51 might not be ideal as a keychain fob since it's a little larger, but it opens cans quicker and is easier on the hands.

 

My email address is vickersdavis(at)yahoo.com. They should ship in 3 to 5 days so I reckon they'll be here the end of next week.

 

I had been putting tiny LED keychain flashlights in the caches I found, but I think these are a little more robust and all-around useful, plus they'll fit in the micro caches I've been running across.

 

How very cool of you! Thank you and a PM will be sent soon!

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I have a bit of a reputation of putting lots of small camping trinkets (from the Meijer camping section) in my caches when I place them...and the stuff disappears pretty quick. Among the items, p-38 can openers. And I have found many of them in various other caches all over Michigan.

 

I honestly think they make a great sig item. Especially with a little laminated history card.

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The "sharp" edge on a P-38 is not that sharp. They have a small hole on one end that is designed for them to be carried on a keyring or your dogtag chain, the hazard is so small I wouldn't worry about it. many people would not know what it is, so maybe a card with text describing it's use can be helpful to include. A Cacher named motogrrl(no longer with us) used to leave them.

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If I had ever found a P-38 in a cache I probably wouldn’t have known what it was.

 

wrapper.jpg

 

If you want to label them (which is probably a very good idea), it would be a fairly straightforward matter to correctly size this image of an original label, print it, and then either (1) tape it around the opener or (2) stuff the opener, with the label image folded around it, into one of those tiny zip-lock bags available at hobby stores.

 

Doing so would also help address the issue of the otherwise exposed blade.

 

Now that I’ve read about P-38s in this thread and on the Internet I would be thrilled to find one in a cache!

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If I had ever found a P-38 in a cache I probably wouldn’t have known what it was.

 

wrapper.jpg

 

If you want to label them (which is probably a very good idea), it would be a fairly straightforward matter to correctly size this image of an original label, print it, and then either (1) tape it around the opener or (2) stuff the opener, with the label image folded around it, into one of those tiny zip-lock bags available at hobby stores.

 

Doing so would also help address the issue of the otherwise exposed blade.

 

Now that I’ve read about P-38s in this thread and on the Internet I would be thrilled to find one in a cache!

 

It's a good thing they pointed out which was the can opener and which was the can, otherwise I would have been completely lost!

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It's a good thing they pointed out which was the can opener and which was the can, otherwise I would have been completely lost!

I thought that was pretty funny too. They probably insulted more than a few soldiers with that one.

 

I wonder if the field manual of the time showed similar illustrations explaining, for example, how to shoot at the enemy -- with labels and arrows indicating which item in the drawing is "your gun" and which is "the bad guy?"

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I wonder if the field manual of the time showed similar illustrations explaining, for example, how to shoot at the enemy -- with labels and arrows indicating which item in the drawing is "your gun" and which is "the bad guy?"

 

Yes

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I don't think I had ever heard of P-38s until I saw this thread. That's cool!

 

There is at least one website selling them in bulk for 25 cents apiece.

 

p38opener.jpgp38_canopener225.jpg

 

canopener.jpg

 

Be careful of the 25 cent knockoffs they are cheep aluminum and not steel and will bend the first time you go to use them, I tried buying them for the scouts but were not worth my trouble. But of course as swag thye would be okay as long as finders didn't really want to use them.

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Be careful of the 25 cent knockoffs they are cheep aluminum and not steel and will bend the first time you go to use them, I tried buying them for the scouts but were not worth my trouble. But of course as swag thye would be okay as long as finders didn't really want to use them.

 

The ones I ordered are high-grade and stamped "US" and the company that made them (Shelby I think?). I would never leave the cheaper versions in a cache...they would just be frustrating (and hardly what I'd want as my "signature" item!).

 

I'm not sure what the rules are here about posting the website where I ordered them, but if you Google "p-38 greatest invention" you will see it pop up.

 

I have no affiliation with them other than as a customer.

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While they are safe for caches I have a 6 inch long scar on the outside of my right leg. I carry a P-38 Viet Nam era and one time while getting dressed quickly the p-38 was open and the tip was sticking out of my pants pocket. It wasn't a deep cut but the scar has been there for 20 years now. so be careful but always care one.

Edited by Michael
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Found this on USCav.com , the military/police supply store. Thought it might be interesting to add here.

 

Uses:

# Can opener

# Seam ripper

# Screwdriver

# Clean fingernails

# Cut fishing line

# Open paint cans

# Window scraper

# Scrape around floor corners

# Digging

# Clean out groove on Tupperware lids

# Reach in and clean out small cracks

# Scrape around edge of boots

# Bottle opener

# Gut fish (in the field)

# Scale fish (in the field)

# Test for 'doneness' when baking on a camp fire

# Prying items

# Strip wire

# Scrape pans in the field

# Lift key on flip top cans

# Chisel

# Barter

# Marking tool

# Deflating tires

# Clean sole of boot/shoe

# Pick teeth

# Measurement

# Striking flint

# Stirring coffee

# Puncturing plastic coating

# Knocking on doors

# Morse code

# Box cutter

# Opening letters

# Write emergency messages

# Scratch an itch

# Save as a souvenir

# Rip off rank for on-the-spot promotions

# Bee sting removal tool (scrape off w/ blade)

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Security made me leave mine outside (I had to hide in flower pot near the door) while attending a concert once. I no longer carry it since all the 911 homeland security flight rules, etc. Have cut my leg with it and ruined several pants pockets over a period of time too.

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Nope not a '109, but I think its an Ki-43? Oscar...

 

 

The one and only P-38,

86075d91-8952-4fd0-81ee-21d686689372.jpg

I'm pretty sure they made more than one. :unsure:

 

Besides, that one has lost it's right engine. I can't tell for sure, but it looks like a Me Bf-109 on it's tail too. If that's true I hope help shows up soon!

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OK, dang the ripped britches and torn legs and the TSA and the rock and roll concerts, several *wink* lucky geocachers have P-38s and P-51s inbound, take care and use them in good health.

 

If you happen to find a TeamGumbo military can opener in a cache, please be careful!

 

Kindest regards,

 

Vickers

 

P.S. After, oh, 25 years or so of working around box cutters and really tall telecommunications towers and power tools and knives and machine guns and axes and hatchets and forklifts and tin snips and steel benders and what-not, my ugliest work-related scar is from a ...

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pair of Vise-Grips that I punched through my palm.

 

Cheers!

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wow... I had not thought of those things since the early 70's. I was a USAF B-52 pilot and we always got those things packed in our meals. I was always amazed about how such a tiny simple thing could be so effective in what it does. I would always bring my home after a mission but they are all gone now :huh:

 

I would love to pick one up in a cache.... I think it is a great idea. But you might have to pack instructions with it too. I bet most younger non-military people will not know what the heck it is.

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wow... I had not thought of those things since the early 70's. I was a USAF B-52 pilot and we always got those things packed in our meals. I was always amazed about how such a tiny simple thing could be so effective in what it does. I would always bring my home after a mission but they are all gone now :)

 

I would love to pick one up in a cache.... I think it is a great idea. But you might have to pack instructions with it too. I bet most younger non-military people will not know what the heck it is.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

I still have one on my keyring (aka 'Guy's Charm Bracelet' *LOL*) I carried in Nam with FMAW (Marines) based in Da Nang as part of Operation Shu-Fly; '64-65. Not only do I think they're good swag - it's especially befitting given the outdoors nature of most participants - in fact I bought a dozen I found at an area Mil-Surplus store not long ago, with the very intention of making them a regular part of my stashes, which I've done in the 3 I've planted so far. (Yeah...a noob.)

 

But to heck with packing instructions! Those "younger non-military people" and the many other 'unwashed' can find their own way, if they're so inclined -- I think bare bones adds to its mystique. *LOL* Such an historical item, the significance it indicates, and like Bob says, I truly enjoy the unusual magic of things that do their job so well, so unfailingly, just as they were designed to -- almost a lost science these days. Anyway, Bob if you'll PM me your snail addy, for the job you did I'd be honored to send you one of these I have, one vet to another, if you'd care to have it.

 

I might even have one for Mr. Greenjeans. :laughing:

 

~*

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