The Tool Barn

Pulling Nails

This subject is not often covered and seems trivial. However, those who lack the brute physical strength necessary to haul out 16 penny sinkers likely feel differently. A few tips can help get you get rolling, it is a matter of applying your available strength properly.

Items needed:
Wood block
"Cat's paw" (optional)
Safety Suggestions and Tips
Use eye protection
Wear gloves if necessary
Level of difficulty

Time Required:
   0 hours


Normal method

Step 1:

Examine the nail to be pulled. If it is mostly or completely driven in, apply the claw part of the Claw Hammer and pull/push on the handle.

Pulling w/ block

Step 2:

In the event that you are faced with a nail that is partially driven (or pulled) you will likely have to employ a block to get better leverage. This is especially true of older construction. As the wood dries, it clamps down on the nail making it very difficult to remove.


Step 3:

If there is no block available or the head of the nail comes off, the hammer may be turned sideways and pry the nail loose. This does not tend to work as well with older hammers as the edges inside of the claw are somewhat smoother.

Cat's Paw

Step 4:

If you have many nails to pull, you might consider employing a "cat's paw" or wrecking bar. These tools have a special shape which makes it easier to pull lots of nails without wearing yourself out.

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