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How to pull nails using a pry bar

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Which design is best?

pull nails, pulling nails, nail pulling A nail slot or nail puller is required for pulling nails. All pry bars except for the standard pry, adjustable pry, and aligning bar feature nail slots, and are therefore suitable for this task.
angles marked on demolition bar, forty degree bent claw, 140° movement, demolition bar, nail puller, pulling nails A bent claw allows a greater degree of movement for leverage than a straight claw, making the task easier on the user.
angle of movement offered by a straight claw A straight claw provides a lesser degree of movement as it is forged at a 180° degree angle to the shaft of the bar. When pulling a nail at this angle, you won’t be able to push down on the shaft to lever the head of the nail upwards without quickly meeting the surface of the object being worked.
extra movement The above images show the angle of movement when using a straight or bent claw to pull nails from a surface whose length exceeds that of the bar itself. If pulling nails from a surface which the bar can pivot about, such as the head of a fencepost or narrow plank of wood, the angle of leverage will be greater for each claw.
Wonkee Donkee says: No matter what surface you’re working on - a bent claw will always give you greater leverage!

What else will I need?

hammer, steel claw hammer, steel hammer, claw hammer A hammer.
scrap wood, blocks of scrap wood, wood scraps, waste wood, reclaiming wood, blocks of wood, A piece of scrap wood.
A power drill, power drill, cordless drill, cordless power drill, drill, electric drill, battery powered drill A drill.

Wonkee’s hoof-by-hoof guide

nail pushed up from under board, nail in board, push nail up from beneath, protruding nail It’s likely that you will need to push nails up from beneath in order to pull them. To do this without damaging them, follow these steps:
block of wood, scrap wood, scrap block of wood, piece of scrap wood, scrap piece of wood, wood

Step 1 – Find a scrap piece of wood

Find a scrap piece of wood – a block of medium thickness (7-10cm [3-4in]) would be best.

drilled hole, hole drilled in wood block

Step 2 – Drill a hole

In your scrap wood, drill a hole a little larger than the diameter of the nail you will be pulling.

turn board over, upside down floorboard, protruding nails, wooden board, nails

Step 3 – Turn board

Turn the board you will be pulling the nails from over.

Make sure you leave enough space beneath the board for the nails to come out! For support, use two blocks of wood (or similar) with a gap between them.

nail in hole

Step 4 – Place scrap on nail

Push the hole in the scrap of wood down over the protruding end of the nail as far as it will go. The point of the nail should show just above the hole.

striking nail with hammer, pushing nail through from beneath board, nail, hammer, board

Step 5 – Hammer nail through

Strike the end of the nail with your hammer. The wooden block will prevent it from bending or breaking and becoming stuck. The head of the nail should now be high enough to fit the claw of your bar beneath.

Now you can pull the nail free – this is the easy part!

How to pull a nail free

demolition bar pulling nail out of wood

Step 1 – Position claw

Slide the bent claw of your bar forward around the nail until the nail fits snugly inside the ‘V’ of the slot.

wonkee donkee says: if you need to, you can strike the heel of the bar lightly with a hammer
pulling nail free

Step 2 – Pull nail

Apply downward pressure to the opposite end of your bar until the nail lifts free.