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What are the parts of a pry bar?

Shop for Pry Bars

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Pry bar claw types

straight claw, crowbar, pry bar, crowbar claw, claw bar,

Straight claw

A straight claw is forged in line with the shaft.

Most bars feature a straight claw at one end.

bent claw, pry bar, crowbar claw, cat's paw, yellow crowbar claw, claw

Bent claw

A bent claw offers increased leverage.

The inbuilt fulcrum of the rounded heel makes using the bar in levering applications easier by increasing leverage; this means the bar is more effective at levering on its own, negating the need for an added fulcrum such as a block of wood, which may be required with straight claws.

adjustable head pry bar,

Adjustable claw

This is a relatively new claw design which can be adjusted and locked at the preferred angle, from 0 to 180°. This makes it extremely versatile for use in awkward spaces, and for a range of varied tasks.

To find out how to use an adjustable pry bar, see  How to adjust the claw on an adjustable pry bar

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Bevelled claw

Pry bars are unusual in that not all claws available are bevelled. A bevelled edge tapers in width, facilitating easier penetration beneath and between objects.

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Wide claw

An extra-wide claw provides a larger surface area to prevent sideways ‘rocking’ motion during precise prying applications.

Flat claw

A flatter claw profile allows deeper penetration into tight spaces, as well as preventing sideways ‘rocking’.

Deeper penetration increases leverage by giving greater surface-to-surface contact between the claw and the object being lifted, allowing a greater distribution of the force input by the user.

nail slot, crowbar claw, pry bar claw, nail lifting, nail pulling, pulling nails,

Claw with nail slot

Another unusual feature of pry bars is that not all claws feature a nail slot. Where a nail slot is incorporated, it can be used by sliding the slot around a nail until it fits snugly, and applying pressure to the opposite end of the bar to lever it up out of the hole.

See  How to pull nails using a pry bar for a more detailed guide to nail pulling.

Wonkee Donkee says: "Most claws can take nails from 0.5-1.5cm diameter."

Pry bar tip types

pointed tip, crowbar, pry bar, pry bar tip, pencil point, pointed end,

Pointed tip

Some pry bars have a pointed or ‘pencil point’ tip at one end. This is usually used for aligning or locating ‘mating’ holes and workpieces in construction, engineering and carpentry.

Rather than a tip, the majority of pry bars have a second claw.

Pry bar heel types

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Rounded heel

A rounded heel makes use during prying applications easier on the user because it allows the claw to ‘rock’ backwards on the heel through the full angle of leverage available.

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Flat heel

A flat heel has the benefit of providing a flat striking face, allowing the user to strike the heel with a hammer when penetrating tight spaces.

Pry bar shaft types

round shaft, bar shaft, crowbar shaft, cylindrical shaft,

Rounded shaft

A completely rounded shaft, which is easy to hold and cheap to produce.

Because metal stock often comes in round or hexagonal bars, bars with round shafts require less forging and are therefore some of the cheapest available.

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Flat shaft

A wide, flat shaft is also available which allows the user to penetrate tight spaces more easily. This type of shaft distributes force evenly across its width, decreasing the risk of damage to the object being lifted.

Contoured shafts are also flat, but incorporate additional design features, as detailed below.

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I-beam shaft

Shaped like a capital ‘i’, an I section shaft benefits from some of the toughness provided by a flattened shaft, but is lighter, and can be made more economically, as less material is required to produce it.

contour shaft, bent shaft, curved shaft, utility bar, crowbar

Contoured shaft 

You will find this kind of shaft in bars referred to as ‘contour bars’. A contour bar’s shaft curves back, providing a ‘contoured’ shape.

This type of shaft is notable for its ‘spring’ and the increased leverage it offers.

hexagonal bar, hexagon, hexagonal bar shaft, aligning bar

Hexagonal shaft

A six-sided shaft which aids grip in wet or otherwise slippery conditions, and makes it easier to apply force to the end of the bar when levering, by providing a flat edge (or six!) for the hand to rest on.

Because metal stock often comes in hexagonal or round bars, bars with hexagonal shafts require less forging and are therefore some of the cheapest available.

What is a nail puller?

nail puller, nail puller in crowbar Some pry bars incorporate a nail puller; a small hole in the shaft of a bar, usually pear or tear-shaped, which can be placed over the head of a nail and used, in the same way as a nail slot, to pull it free.

The benefit of a nail puller is its ability to surround the head of the nail on all sides, so that it can’t slip out during levering. This also means that nails can be pulled straight upwards, preventing damage.

However, whereas most nail slots can accept nails of between 0.5 – 1.5cm, most nail pullers have a more limited range of 0.5 – 1cm.

As any bar with a nail puller will also have a nail slot, this needn’t affect your purchase decision, but should be considered when choosing which part of the tool to use when pulling nails.

Can pry bars have handles?

handle, bar handle, pry bar handle, crowbar handle, non-slip handle, Rarely, a pry bar may incorporate a handle in place of a claw or tip. A handle gives the user an area to hold comfortably while working, and may be non-slip for ease of use or cushioned for shock absorption.