Are you dismantling things? Or have you made a mistake during one of your DIY projects? If yes, then a nail puller will come in handy to help you. Pulling out nails may seem like a difficult task. But you can do it within seconds by using the correct tools and techniques.
Pulling out nails is easy due to the invention of a nail puller. There are various types of tools available in the market. You can choose yours depending on the work that you are doing. If your work is superficial, you should use pliers to pull the nails from the back.
In other cases, you can use the traditional nail puller that causes minimum damage to the surface. Traditional nail pullers can even pull nails that have been embedded in the surface for a long time.
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Structure of a Nail Puller
To understand how a nail puller works, you should know about the structure of the tool. It has three parts that help in pulling out the nails. The jaws of this hand tool are the part that grips the nail by its shaft and then pulls it out. These hinged jaws are connected to the box joint that handles the strength to pull out long nails.
The pivot point of the nail puller is the fulcrum of this simple machine. It provides leverage when the jaws are inserted to pull the nail out. It is located near the jaws of the puller and is often called the base heel. The jaws clamp around the nail shaft due to the leverage provided by the pivot point.
If you have a nail puller with a handle, the handle provides the force that inserts the jaws in the surface of the wood. While using a tool with a handle, you do not need a hammer to exert more force.
In a nail puller without a handle, there is a striking point in place of the handle. You need to use a hammer to strike the back of the tool. This will provide the force required to insert the jaws into the surface of the wood and help pull out the nail. Storing and carrying a nail puller without a handle is easier because of its compact size.
Working of a Nail Puller
Nail pullers remove the material around the head of the nail to provide enough space to pull the nail out. So, the surface around the nail will be damaged. Then, the jaws of the tool will grab the nail head from the bottom, and you can pull the nail out.
The more force that is applied, the tighter the grip of the jaws. Some materials that are hard to penetrate may need another tool to create space. You can use a drill to clear the space around the nail head.
The correct way to use a Nail Puller
The process becomes easier and smoother, with a better understanding of the technique. The chances of severely damaging the surface of the wood also decrease. These steps will guide you to use a nail puller correctly.
Nail puller with a handle
- Positioning the jaws – Position the jaws of your nail puller half an inch away from the head of the nail. If the jaws are placed right beside the nail head, your tool will not be able to go under the nail head. You will not be able to remove the nail, and this will result in a chipped surface. The area of damage could increase if the jaws are too far away.
- Use the handle to insert the jaws – The handle of the nail puller will move vertically to exert the force required to insert the jaws into the wood. Make sure that the jaws are deep enough to clamp under the nail head and not over it.
- Pivot the nail puller – Once you have positioned your tool and inserted the jaws, use the base heel to create the leverage. The jaws will clamp around the nail shaft once you pivot the tool.
- Pull the nail – The last step of the process is pulling the nail out. The jaws should have clamped around the shaft of the nail. Pull the tool upwards and remove the nail. For longer and older nails, you might have to use the pivot to clamp tighter around the nail.
Nail puller without a handle
You will need a claw hammer to strike the back of the tool and provide force when using a nail puller without a handle.
- Positioning the jaws – Position the jaws of the nail puller on either side of the nail head while keeping a distance of a few millimeters. The jaws need that space to break the surface and clamp the nail.
- Use the hammer to insert the jaws – Unlike the nail puller with a handle, you will need a hammer to strike the back of the tool. Hold the tool in one hand and use your other hand to hold the hammer. Hit the striking point until the jaws of the tool are sufficiently inside. Apply more force to pull out nails that are long or have been inserted for a long time.
- Pivot the tool – Using the claw of the hammer, hit the striking point until the tool has been leveraged. The base heel of the tool would rest against the surface of the wood.
- Pull the nail – Once the jaws have gripped the nail and the tool has been pivoted, you can pull the nail out easily.
To sum up
One of the important things to remember while using a nail puller is that damage to the wood surface is imminent. Some tools and techniques can be used to minimize the damage.
Sanding the surface and using a wood filler will help repair any damage caused due to pulling nails. You can reduce the damage to the surface by placing thin plywood under the pivot point of the nail hammer.
Bonus video: How to Use a Slide Hammer Nail Puller
Thank you for reading!