The latest crowbars — and their uses
When it takes a heavy, blunt object to drive a metal spike through solid wood, you definitely need something stronger than your fingers to pull it back out. That's why the tool gods invented the nail puller. (Well, actually, that's why the Romans invented it — right after they started using nails.) By forging a claw on the end of a fulcrum, early carpenters were able to increase their grasping and leveraging strength enough to undo their missteps with ease.
With the 19th-century advent of balloon framing, which replaced timbers joined by pegs with lumber held together by nails, the market for ways to extract those nails took off. Today you can find everything from flat bars, good for levering heavy objects as well as pulling nails without marring wood, to cat's paws, with sharp claws that dig deep to grab hold of a stubborn fastener. One or both should be on any renovator's tool belt, and another half-dozen specialized pullers, like the ones shown on the following pages, within easy reach.
Look for little or no bevel where the
jaws meet, so they can grab or snip a nail close to the surface. Uses: Plucking finish nails out of moldings without marring the surface, or cutting their heads off flush so the molding can be pulled away.
Shown: Channellock end nipper, $16.
This bar has a Japanese design, with one of the business ends rotated 90 degrees so it doesn't dig into the user's hand.Uses: With the flat end, pulling moldings without damaging them, adjusting windows during installation. With the claw, prying out finishing nails and ripping away moldings that will be discarded.
Shown: SharkGrip pry bar, $16.
Wedge the thin end gently behind moldings to tease them away from the wall without damage.
Where to Find It
C.S. Osborne & Co.
Enderes Tool Company, Inc.
Apple Valley, MN
The Stanley Works
New Britain, CT
Impact nail puller:
Cooper Industries Inc.