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How to pull out nails from a plank of wood?

How to pull out nails from a plank of wood

Shop for End Cutting and Carpenters Pincers

Carpenter's and end cutting pincers Carpenter’s pincers are designed to extract small and medium nails sticking out of wood. You can also try using end cutting pincers for this, but their sharper jaws make it more likely that you’ll accidentally cut through the nail instead of pulling it out.
Pulling out nail from piece of wood with carpenter's pincers

Step 1 – Grasp nail

Hold the pincers vertically over the nail. As long as the head of the nail is slightly protruding from the surface of the plank, you’ll be able to grip it in the pincer jaws.

Rocking pincer head back and forth to loosen nail

Step 2 – Rock pincers

If the nail won’t budge at first, squeeze the handles together and try rocking the pincers gently back and forth to loosen it.

Pulling out nail with carpenter's pincers

Step 3 – Pull out nail

Keeping one side of the pincer head flat on the surface of the wood, pull the handles down and towards you in a rolling motion. This will bring the jaws up, together with the nail.

Gripping nail on underside of wood If the nail head is buried too far in the wood to get a purchase, you may be able to pull it out through the back, as long as the end of the nail is sticking out of the other side. This is only practical if the nail has a small pin-type head, however, otherwise the wood will probably split.

Turn the plank of wood over and grip the nail stem on the underside.

Pulling nail out backwards through underside of wood Again, lever the nail up by bringing the pincer handles down towards you. The pincers should pull the whole nail right through the wood and out of the other side.

This requires more effort than extracting the nail from the top, but will cause less damage than trying to dig out the head of the nail.

Knocking nail through from other side of wooden plank If the embedded nail has a large head, you’ll find it too difficult to pull it out through the back. Instead, try turning the plank over and hitting the underside of the nail with a hammer or pair of hammerhead pincers to force the head upwards.

Once the nail head is clear of the surface, you should be able to grip it with the pincers and pull it out.

Repairing hole with wood crayon When you’ve extracted the nail, fill in the hole using wood putty or a wood repair crayon – available in a range of colours. This is also a good idea if you’re unable to extract a deeply embedded nail and want to disguise it.

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