Canon’s Official Solution for Stuck Lens Filters: Use a Hammer and Hacksaw

When travel photographer Craig Pulsifer accidentally smashed the front of his lens recently and found his lens filter fused firmly to the metal threads, he went to Canon for help. The removal process explained to him by a Canon Professional services technician is probably something most people wouldn’t think to try: use a hammer and hacksaw to surgically remove the stuck filter. Pulsifer followed the advice, and found that it works quite well (though he does warn that it’s “not recommended for the faint of heart”).

The photograph above shows the tools that you’ll need. In addition to the hammer and hacksaw, you shoudl have a bulb blower and pliers on hand.

First, slice into the rim of the stuck filter on all four “sides” using the hacksaw. You should cut the frame down to the glass (being careful not to hit the actual lens itself, of course):

Using a ball-pein hammer, tap the filter’s glass harder and harder until it finally shatters (don’t increase your power too drastically lest you smash your front element as well):

Using your pliers, pull the shattered pieces of glass out of the filter:

Blow off any stray bits of glass and metal from the front of your lens. Using your pliers, bend and peel the edges of your filter’s rim toward the center of the lens in order to pull pressure away from the inner threads:

After some wiggling, the stuck filter (or the remaining frame) can be pulled off of the lens threads:

Blow off all the remaining debris from your lens, give it a thorough cleaning, and then add a new filter if desired:

There you have it: Canon’s official process for removing stubborn lens filters that just won’t come off your lens.

Image credits: Photographs by Craig Pulsifer and used with permission