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To avoid breaking the lever off a stuck tap, the way to open it is to free the taper by tapping on the BOTTOM end of the spindle with a small hammer. There is a small Thackeray washer under the retaining nut, which allows for the clout on the bottom to raise the taper on the operating lever off its taper seat in the body of the tap. Once freed, you can put a drop of oil into the taper which should keep it free for a year or two…. This is a darn sight easier than trying to get a rusty split-pin out for a complete dismantling.