making canning jar lids: looking for info : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I am looking for information on making canning jar lids. I keep looking at the ones in the pantry and thinking, "well, it isn't rocket science," and wondering if they could be made if you had access to a small machine shop of some sort. Presumably they are stamped out of sheet metal of some sort, then the inside center is enameled, and a rubber gasket of some sort attached.

Any thoughts about this?

Robert Waldrop FREE Printable flyers for distribution during y2k disruptions

-- robert waldrop (, July 22, 1999



It may be possible to use thin styrefoam (like fast food container) to replace the rubber seal.

I've wondered about work arounds for new lids myself.

-- Jon Williamson (, July 22, 1999.

I don't get it. Why fool around? Rubber lids are cheap and can be reused over and over again.

-- BigDog (, July 22, 1999.

Rubber lids are cheap, yes. And can be used over and over again, no. At least not if you are following USDA recommendations, or the manufacturer's for that matter. If you want a reliable seal, you need a new lid.

-- Mommacares (, July 22, 1999.

How about using parafin. When I was a kid my mother poured hot parafin into the top of the jars when she was canning. I don't think this will work for all foods but may work for some. This would reduce the number of lids you would need.

-- (, July 22, 1999.

Chubby Hubby is a tinkerer...he always has some little project that he is making. And he already has all the machine shop tools to do it with. But he has learned that in many cases its a whole lot cheaper, (not as much fun, I'll grant you) to go buy the damn thing!! By the time you got the machine, the sheet of brass, the enamel, the rubber ring and the ring that holds the whole works together, you would have a fortune invested. Go buy the lids. Buy them by the case lots and keep in a cool place.

Taz...who has been down this road years ago!!

-- Taz (, July 22, 1999.

We have about 1500 lids and I plan on getting more. I'm not interested in making them, but any information on how to re-use them would be very much appreciated! (I hate dried food and am not fond of the effects other long-term storage methods have on taste either.)

-- Gus (, July 22, 1999.

1. Regarding buying lots of them, I am already doing this (every time I go to the grocery, for anything, I buy some lids). But, depending on how far things fall, it remains a finite item. I hope to have enough for 2 or 3 year, but what happens after 2 or 3 years if the market hasn't come back? Plus, it seems likely to me that there will be more jars than lids in circulation, and there could be localized shortages.

2. I am not proposed this as a cost-effective idea for now, a situation where they are made in factories and shipped all around. I am looking for information to disseminate so that the knowledge of how to make these kinds of lids will be widely known, in many different places, in case it is needed.

3. I am dubious about reusing the lids that you buy at the store. This is pretty universally frowned on by experts on home canning, although you hear a lot of anecdotal stories about people doing this. If the medical system is compromised, it seems to me that "better safe than sorry" is the rule.

4. The styrofoam idea is Very Interesting. I don't know enough at this point to evaluate it however.

5. Paraffin might work for jams and jellies, but it seems unlikely to me that it would work with pressure canning.

6. Taz, do you think your Chubby Hubby could be prevailed upon to at least speculate on how a person would do this? e.g., what kind of metal, what kind of rubber, affixing the rubber to the lid, etc.

Thanks for the responses, but let's keep thinking.

-- robert waldrop (, July 22, 1999.


I've asked before here on the prep forum and got a resounding "no way, don't even think about it" from several psoters. Like you I am interested in finding out if it is even theoretically possible.

If it was a try-it-and-get-sorta-sick matter it woild be one thing but I'm afraid it's a try-it-and-die sorta matter.

Will be watching with great interest to see what pops up.

If you should find anything out off forum, would you be sure to post me privatelt? TIA


-- Got Thermometers?

-- Greybear (, July 22, 1999.


If you are REALLY careful and REALLY lucky sometimes the lids come off without tweaking, thus might be reused (the test is - does it pop down and seal after processing?). It just occurred to me that if you want to remove the lids in such a way as to avoid damage I guess you could heat them in a water bath to open them? Probably would need to make sure they were submerged so as to heat the rubber gasket and avoid explosion..... just a thought.

-- Kristi (, July 23, 1999.

Ms. Big Dog, a canner since she was 10 years old, expressed astonishment, but maybe we are talking apples and oranges. We have the OLD-FASHIONED jars with the rubber rings (not lids, rings). So long as you can "accordion them" without them cracking, they are completely re-usable. Huh? True, the "modern ones" with the ring embedded in the top are not reusable.

Who's on first? Or are we off-base?

(just finished canning fresh cherries and pickles ...)

-- BigDog (, July 23, 1999.

Hmmm, Ms. Big Dog, maybe there is some confusion here. Are you talking about the canning jars that have a glass top, a rubber washer, and some kind of wire apparatus on top to hold the glass down on the jar?

-- robert waldrop (, July 23, 1999.

Speaking for Ms Big Dog: yes.

-- BigDog (, July 23, 1999.

1. The Unversity extension food specialists no longer are allowed to recomment the wax method - even for jelly and jam there is too much risk of food poisoning from air - microscopic holes etc.

2.I vote for buying all the lids possible.

3.Pure silicone rubber that is FDA approved for food use is the only product I am aware of that would work as a substitute rubber ring for the old style canning jars.

This is very hard to get to set up hardened without heat to cure.

the new style lids have a very thin layer to seal, very important. I would like to know how to duplicate this, I do not know at this time. Vacuum is very tricky...

Whatever we try - we have to experiment for long term vacuum test.

My first test will be with rubber cement I may end up using GE gray silicone, Aircraft grade. If it is thin enough, it may work, not FDA approved for food containers though.

-- Living in (, July 24, 1999.

Regarding the big dog subthread. . .

Are those kind of reusable jars still manufactured and sold?

Robert Waldrop

-- robert waldrop (, July 24, 1999.

Living in the real world,

More power and success to you! Keep us posted about developments.

Robert Waldrop

-- robert waldrop (, July 24, 1999.

Lehmans sells the old style reusable jar rubber rings. They also sell a German made canning jar with a reusable ring and a glass top that is secured with small clips that are removed after the canning process. These jars and seals are made by Weck. I used some of the Weck jars last year and liked them but they do cost more initially than Ball or Kerr. Weck has a web site, sorry I don't have it but you could do a search.

-- Lian (, July 24, 1999.

We have about 250 of the re-usable kind and 200 of the new type. We got most of the older type for free or near-free through garage sales and watching for ads. Most people want to get rid of them because they are .... "old". We are still seeing them available, since most folks are getting out of canning, not into it.

-- BigDog (, July 24, 1999.

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