How Do You Remove Nails Without Damaging Wood

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Nails are essential items when building places, renovating your home, and other projects in the workshop. You can remove nails from wood or other medium using a hammer, nail guns, and other tools.

Often throughout your home improvement journey, you’ll face the task of removing nails from sunken wood. Even though it’s a simple task, it can get complicated when the nail tightly embeds in the wood.

You’ll want to remove the stuck nail by utilizing a proper tool that won’t damage your wood. Since herein, any slight mistake can be disastrous.

How do you remove nails without damaging wood? Keep reading as we expound more on the discussion.

how to remove nails from wood

Get the Tools Ready

Removing nails stuck in wood will require some bit of preparation. You’ll find that there are several tools on the market and each works differently depending on the task at hand. Some simple tools include a claw hammer, cat’s paw, pry bar, reciprocating saw, and other accessories for use at the workshop. 

Each of the tools mentioned is unique for different circumstances. It’s vital to assess your situation before choosing a nail removal option that will deliver the best result.

Your safety comes first when removing a nail, and it’s necessary to prevent accidents. For this reason, you can wear workplace protective gear such as boots, gloves, and goggles.

Protect Your Finished Surfaces With a Wooden Block

The next step is to protect your finished surfaces during the nail removal process. You can place a block of wood or lever on top of your surface or wood. Also, this wooden plank will provide a sufficient grip of the nail for maximum efficiency.

Use a Claw Hammer 

Although the hammer may not be the best choice to remove the nails, it can be an option if there’s no other tool to pull out nails. For home projects, you can consider a claw hammer which will do the job perfectly. In addition, a claw hammer is readily available and reasonably priced.

Start by placing the hammer on the head of the nail. Next, pull the nail gently while applying little pressure. It’s important to note that too much force can damage or break the wood.

As soon as the head appears, use the claws of the hammer to pull it out. Repeat the procedure until all the nails are out. This method works well if the nails are too deep in the wood and the nail head is easy to clamp with a hammer. However, it may not be the best option for headless, rusty, or bent nails.

Remove Bent and Galvanized Nails Using a Pry Bar

If you have a lever, you don’t need to add a block to protect the wood. However, a pry bar can damage your wood permanently, and it’s essential to use an additional cube.

Pry bars are the best option when removing galvanized or bent nails. Start by placing the pry on top of the block and apply force as you reach the nail. Next, pull the bent nail gently.

Removing Headless Nails Using Pliers

Removing headless nails requires the use of a diagonal cutter and nose pliers. Place the pliers close to the nail and grasp the tip of the nail. Pull the nail from the wood while keeping the clamp straight. Release the tight grip and move the nail gently.

Repeat the process until the nail is on the wood’s surface. Capture the headless nail and replace it using the diagonal cutter. Avoid grabbing it too hard as it can cut the nail in the middle.

Then, get hold of the nail and begin moving the pliers. Repeat the procedure without applying too much force. Turn on the other side of the nail and finally pull the nail when the major part is above the surface.

Using a Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw is another method you can use for nails stuck in the wood. Although it can reach nails buried inside the wood, the downside of this method is that it requires experience when using a reciprocating saw. If you’re ready for the technique, you can look for a very sharp tip for cutting the nails.

Use a Nail Kicker

A nail kicker or a pneumatic gun shoots air pressure to pull a nail hidden in the wood. The advantage of this method is that the setup uses low power. Also, the processes are quicker and smoother than other methods. 

In this approach, begin by preparing your wood by identifying the place where you need to remove the nails. Place the claws on the head of the nail and push lightly on the wood surface. Automatically, the device pulls out the nail without damaging the wood.

Using a Screwdriver

Like other methods, place a lever or a small plank of wood to protect the wood surface. The screwdriver is a practical device for pulling nails out of surfaces.

With this technique, slide the screwdriver just below the nail head. Move the lever lightly to push the nail out. When most of the nail is above the surface, use pliers to pull the nail out.

Use Scissors

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you’ll probably look for the cheapest option out there. And if you just want to get nails out of the cupboard, you can use scissors to remove nails. Push the scissors under your nail head and press gently. Pull the nail but ensure the tips of the scissors don’t dig into your wood surface.


If you want to remove nails from wood, ensure that you don’t damage the wood surface. Tiny nails can be difficult to remove, and hence, require a lot of care to protect the wood.

The different methods in our discussion are the popular possibilities of how to remove nails without damaging wood. Even without proper tools, you can still grab home-based tool for your DIY project. Hopefully, your nail removal process will be easy, and your wood will stay as good as new.

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