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Thread: How do you get old nails out of salvaged wood?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    How do you get old nails out of salvaged wood?

    I've got some 150+ year old timbers that I'm pulling all kinds of old, rusty nails out of. Some are square cut, some not. Some come out in one piece, some not. Some I have to "dig" into the wood to get out, some not.

    Anybody got a slick tool or method for getting nails out without damaging the wood?

    Jason

  2. #2
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    I'm doing the same thing with some 100 yr old wood. Digging and pulling. A crowbar gets the big ones out.
    Never, under any circumstances, combine a sleeping pill, and laxative on the same night.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myk Rian View Post
    I'm doing the same thing with some 100 yr old wood. Digging and pulling. A crowbar gets the big ones out.

    +1 on digging and pulling - make sure you use a metal detector!
    Sawdust is some of the best learning material!

  4. Hi,

    There would have been this nice solution: http://www.nailkicker.com

    Unfortunately, they are unable to produce this product anymore. If you can find a used one, I think it would be your best option.

    Benoit

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    South Dakota
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    Me too

    Digg'n and pull'n, screwing up a bunch of wood but I can't find a better way either. And use a metal detector.
    The Plane Anarchist

  6. #6
    I have one of these.....works pretty good if you don't have much to grab, it tightens up as you apply more pressure...

    http://hand-tools.hardwarestore.com/...er-613231.aspx


    maybe a cat's paw? puller too.
    Dave W. -
    Restoring an 1890 Victorian
    Cuba, NY

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Forest Grove, OR
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    If I can't drive them through the board then I use a plug cutting bit to cut a shallow circular hole around the nail head and attach a pair of vise grips, then twist and lift. I either fill the hole with the next sized plug cut out of a raggedy area of the board, or just plane off the top of the wood until the plug holes are gone.

    I'm thinking about building a really powerful electromagnet to just draw the nails out, much like a Quarter Shrinker.
    http://capturedlightning.com/frames/...n=bookmarkfeed

  8. #8
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    The plug-cutter sounds like a great idea!

    Jason

    Quote Originally Posted by Josiah Bartlett View Post
    If I can't drive them through the board then I use a plug cutting bit to cut a shallow circular hole around the nail head and attach a pair of vise grips, then twist and lift. I either fill the hole with the next sized plug cut out of a raggedy area of the board, or just plane off the top of the wood until the plug holes are gone.

    I'm thinking about building a really powerful electromagnet to just draw the nails out, much like a Quarter Shrinker.
    http://capturedlightning.com/frames/...n=bookmarkfeed

  9. #9
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    Nov 2006
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    A bit overkill for me.

    Most of the nails that I'm pulling out are very small and break apart quite easily from decades of corrosion.

    Jason

    Quote Originally Posted by Benoit Bissonnette View Post
    Hi,

    There would have been this nice solution: http://www.nailkicker.com

    Unfortunately, they are unable to produce this product anymore. If you can find a used one, I think it would be your best option.

    Benoit

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Hayesville N.C.
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    211
    Beside using my joiner and planner I use a crowbar. If the area is big I find a nice tight knot and build a plug to fit in it. I have since purchased a metal detector which has more than paid for itself if I use it.

  11. #11
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    Mar 2005
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    Raleigh, NC
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    Pin punch works most of the time for me.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2007
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    Whidbey Island, Washington
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    [QUOTE=Dave Wagner;1253616]I have one of these.....works pretty good if you don't have much to grab, it tightens up as you apply more pressure...

    http://hand-tools.hardwarestore.com/...er-613231.aspx


    Dave - I bought one of those, but have been pretty frustrated. I can't get it to grip the nail well, particularly if the head is gone already. Any secrets as to how to use it? Does the nail head have to be intact and protruding a bit above the surface?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    central PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wagner View Post
    I have one of these.....works pretty good if you don't have much to grab, it tightens up as you apply more pressure...

    http://hand-tools.hardwarestore.com/...er-613231.aspx


    maybe a cat's paw? puller too.
    I always wanted one of those, but not for $65! I found one listed one time (used) for $15 but I was too late.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lexington, South Carolina
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    112
    I've used the nail puller Dave referenced with good success on heart of pine timbers. You do have to have about 1/4" of the nail to latch on to. If the nail has broken off flush with the board surface or below it, I use a cheap chisel to chop out an area (about 2" in diameter) around the nail. Use the sliding hammer on the puller to get some purchase on the nail and lever it out. You should approach the nail from the opposite direction that its going into the board.

    Explaining this is a lot more difficult than doing it.

  15. #15
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    Dec 2008
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    Northern Michigan
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    I have welded another nail to the old head on occasion when I needed to save as much wood as possible and then just pull it out, but I am a fair welder as my hobby used to be off road racing. Just a quick zot with a MIG and they pull right out without much damage. I wet the wood first to slow the burn. Usually one pass with a plane will take off the char.

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