General Category > Wood/Casks

Cask Bung / Shive Removal

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Bruce B:
Anyone find a good method yet for extracting bungs or shives from empty casks?  I asked a few people at NHC and no one has found a really good removal method.  I found the following on UK Brewing Supplies but was wondering if anyone else had a different suggestion.

Not speaking from experience, BUT IMO, i think a slide hammer / dent or bearing puller
(used in auto repair) that could hold a collett and drill bit would be a wonderful method.

But maybe someone else of more experience would chime in.....???

We use a hammer and a small but sturdy crowbar at our pub.  It works pretty well once you get the hang of it.

I use a wooden shive and a plastic keystone. The wooden shive is easier to pound in for me. The plastic keystone seems less likely to split when driving the tap. I got my cask last spring and used it four times in 2012. Worked like a charm.

I carefully use a hammer and chisel to break up the shive by splitting it in the center. I use a soft aluminum bicycle tire iron as a fulcrum and pry the pieces out. Anything that goes into the cask flushes out during cleaning.

The keystone was more difficult. Finally I hit upon the way you remove a handle from an ax head - drilling smaller holes into the keystone to reduce the press fit pressure. Once I've drilled a dozen holes around the circumference of the keystone I can pry it out with the aluminum tire iron fulcrum and the chisel - wielding the drill and the chisel carefully to not damage the keg.

Hope this helps!

I've had my eye on that device from UK brewing as well.  Currently I just struggle away with a screwdriver, knife, and hammer.  It's not a pretty affair and it's the biggest single hassle in dealing with casks.

Having done a fair number of shive extractions at this point I'm pretty optimistic that the design of that thing would work.  Though, you may be able to do the same for cheaper using some black pipe and fittings.  I'm thinking a 1/2" pipe for the handle, reducing bushing, and then 1/4" pipe for the bit that goes through the shive hole.  You could probably put that together for about half the price from local home depot parts.  I'll give this a try when I do my next cask, which will probably be St. Paddy's day.

Any chance we could get you to put a quick camera phone video on YouTube showing your technique?



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