How to Remove Nails From Old Wood


Demolition, or deconstruction, is a complicated procedure that can be hazardous. When you remove old wood from a structure, the nails left in the boards pose a definite puncture hazard. So, it's important to put safety first. When you remove a piece of old wood you should remove any nails to avoid this hazard and keep the work area as safe as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Framing hammer
  • Piece of scrap 2 inch x 4 inch board (8-10 inches long)
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Safety glasses
  • Leather work gloves
  • Hard hat
  • Straighten the back, or pointed end, of the nail with the claw end of your hammer. Slide the prongs of the hammer around the nail until the point is touching the inside of the claw. Press down on the handle of your hammer to lift the point. Lift the handle of your hammer to raise it into an upright position. Use leverage on the hammer to straighten any major curves remaining.

  • Knock the nail through the board with the head of your work hammer. Place one side of the board onto your scrap block. Place the block with the head of the nail next to the block without touching it. Hit the point of the nail to drive it through the board. Flip the board over so that the protruding head is facing up.

  • Place your scrap block of wood on top of the board a few inches from the nail. Slide the fork of the claw of your hammer around the head of the nail with the top of the hammer on your scrap block. Pull back on the hammer handle and the nail will slide free.

  • Throw your nails into the bucket and stack the boards after nail removal to ensure a neat, safe job site.

Tips & Warnings

  • A hammer poses pinch point and strike point hazards. Always use caution and common sense when using a hammer. Always wear proper safety equipment, such as leather work gloves and safety glasses, when using hammers and other hand tools. A hardhat should be used when doing any demolition job.

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