How to Remove Nails From Wood

One of the most daunting tasks, when refinishing and refurbishing wooden furniture, flooring, and walls, is removing nails on wood. Nails don’t have grooved heads like screws which makes it very difficult to work with. When nails are deeply buried in wood, the task is even harder. But no doubt, you need to deal with deeply buried nails if you want to have a smooth and flawless surface. This guide will show you how to painlessly remove nails from wood.

Nail removal basics

There are ways to get rid of stubborn nails stuck on wood. Some of these techniques use a special kind of tool, made just to remove stuck hardware on wood.

Things you’ll need

  • Claw hammer
  • Pry bars
  • Cat’s paw
  • Nail kickers
  • Nail Jack.
  • Safety materials (goggles, protective boots, and heavy-duty gloves)

Instructions

Using a claw hammer

Source: https://www.finehomebuilding.com/2008/01/17/pulling-stubborn-nails

A hammer is a basic tool and most homes have hammers handy. But not all hammers are the same. Some hammers have blunt ends while some have a blunt end and a claw as well. Choose a claw hammer to be able to remove nails efficiently. If the nail is not deeply buried in the wood, then a claw hammer can easily get it out.

It is easy to use claw hammer when the nail is not so stuck deep in the wood. Locate the nail that needs to be removed. Position the claw hammer to the head of the nail and pry it out with the claw until its head elevates from the wood. Once the claw has held the head of the nail, you will be able to take the nail out.

Using a pry bar

Source: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Estwing-12-in-Double-Ended-Nail-Puller-DEP-12/202183870

A pry bar is a tool for dismantling wooden pieces. This has a claw, similar to a common hammer, but only bigger. You must have a pry bar and a hammer for support. Find the nail that you want to be removed and place the pry bar on the head of the nail. Using a hammer, bury the pry bar into the side of the nail head. Once the nail head is seen, insert the bar between the fissures and pull the nail out with strong pressure.

Using a cat’s paw

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%27s_paw_(nail_puller)

A cat’s paw is smaller than a pry bar and therefore gentler. It will remove the nail gently without ruining the wood where the nail is buried in. But you need to use it well otherwise you might still end up destroying wood.
Prepare the cat’s paw with a hammer. Angle the cat’s paw at 45 degrees above the nail head. Strike with a hammer to let the cat’s paw get a hold of the nail head. When the nail head is out, pull the cat’s paw backward to completely remove the nail.

Using a nail kicker

Source: https://nailkicker.com/pages/v2-parts-list

Another useful tool for removing stuck nails is a nail kicker. This tool can remove nails fast but you need time to prepare the tool. A nail kicker pushes the nail out but it could be dangerous if you are not used to using it as a tool. But the rewards are good because it will cause very little damage to wood and can be used even for deeply buried nails. Simply position the nail kicker on top of the nail head and push its surface. The tool will kick out the nails while some will completely fall off. If the nail is still in the wood, you can still use the nail kicker to push it out.

Using a nail jack

Source: https://toolguyd.com/nail-jack-and-nail-hunter-nail-removal-tools/

A nail jack will need to be pounded to hold on to the nail head. But once it has secured the head of the nail, it will easily hold on to the head to take the complete nail body out of the wood.

Position the nail jack above the nail head. Use the nail jack puller and dive into the nail head. Grab hold of the head. Once done, squeeze the nail jack’s pliers and bend the tool to pull the nail out. Unless the nail is deeply stuck in wood, it will easily come out.

Conclusion

Removing stuck nails is a pain but definitely important in any woodworking project. You must allot time to remove all nails that can affect the surface of your project. There are a variety of tools to use; find one that will work for you.

  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY
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