LumberJocks

Not Heavy Duty Enough for Reclaiming Hardwoods

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Review by PurpLev posted 1834 days ago 2371 views 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Not Heavy Duty Enough for Reclaiming Hardwoods Not Heavy Duty Enough for Reclaiming Hardwoods Not Heavy Duty Enough for Reclaiming Hardwoods Click the pictures to enlarge them

I ordered this to tackle the nail pulling process I encountered while reclaiming some Bowling alley floors. As I mentioned in a comment on my blog, I usually am not inclined to order anything online that I have not been able to experience first hand. but since I was desperate, and it just so happened that this product was mentioned a couple of times here and there just when I was looking for nail pulling devices, I figured I’d take the plunge and go for it – a little out of the usual, but I was in great need, and had high hopes for this one.

I expected more of this product then it delivers.

To be fair I was dealing with the worst nails possible which are twisted hardened steel nails as you can see in the first picture (along with the rest of the tools I used to pull the nails – those tools were more useful than the Nail Jack for this application). But at the same time – Nail Jack Tools has 2 tools (currently): the Nail Hunter which is a smaller version and “lighter duty” and the one I got and reviewed here -the Nail Jack which is the larger more heavy duty tool – apparently not heavy duty enough. I run computer systems through vigorous test environment for work, and if they pass, I know they can handle anything, and if not – we’ll usually mark their limitations for users to know in advance – I could only hope for something similar from this tool. but alas I am the tester for this one as well in my case.

In theory this tool has lots of potential. it has a very comfortable grip handles (which it does). it has:

front jaw (Picture 2): Can either be used like a Cats Paws and dig under naills to pull them out, and also has gripping steplike inner jaws that are supposed to grip the nail shank (if the nailhead breaks) and pull it out. In practice these jaws didn’t seem to have enough gripping power to handle the hardened steel nails as it slipped out of them. also since there is a need for great leverage and force in order to pull those nails out from the hard maple strips, and in addition to that there is the reaction from the nail itself (when force is applied) it was practically impossible to keep a grip on the nail with the tool handles as they tend to open up.

Rear Jaw and Striking surface (Picture 3): on the back of the tool’s head there is a hard flat surface that can be used as a striking area for hammers in order to dig the front jaw under nails. this is similar to the cats’ paws and worked well, and just like the cats paws the front jaws would get nicked from the nails and wood. The Rear jaw has a “W” shaped jaw that is supposed to grip a nail with a 3 point contact for added power. I found that indeed you have to have the nail contact all 3 points in order for this to have any effect, otherwise the tools is unstable and not useful. In my case -if I was able to get the nails out of the wood that much – I might as well have completely taken them out with whatever other method I was using.

I ended up pulling 100+nails with the cats paws which was much simpler and allowed me to put much more leverage on it, and apply much more force to get those nails out. nails that broke their heads off I ended up using the pin punch, and tapped them from the other side (this was actually one of the hopes I had for the Nail Jack to handle), there were about 2 nails that I was able to pull with the nail jack, which is far less than the work I had planed for this tool to perform.

I was hoping this would be a valuable $30 tool, but it ended up being a $30 worth of a review. I hope that at least it’ll be useful as that. I was contemplating giving it just 1 star since it really did nothing for me, but gave it 2 since it does have lots of potential, and maybe for other, less extreme applications it would work much better. I’ll try using it again once I get my hands on some hardwood pallets (once I free up some lumber space first) and see if it will do any better for those.

Thanks for Reading,
Peace.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.




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PurpLev

8476 posts in 2253 days



11 comments so far

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2358 days


#1 posted 1834 days ago

Well, that is disappointing. I was hoping that something like this would help with your problem.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Karson's profile

Karson

34862 posts in 3005 days


#2 posted 1834 days ago

Sharon: I think a tool like that was designed to be able to dif into the metal of the nail and be able to exert it’s pressure to hold it tight.

i think the hardened nails are so tough that it’s impossible to grip the nail effectively. If the head is gone it’s like pulling a wet noodle with wet fingers (but a noodle made very tough)

Glad that you got the job done.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2253 days


#3 posted 1834 days ago

Thanks sIKE, luckily I had Karson’s advices to follow :)

Karson- Indeed those nails are something else… I think the magic moment was when I decided to pry the strips apart before trying to pull the nails out. once I got that, I was able to hammer the nails from their tip side, pushing them (1/2 top of the nail) out of the maple strips, from which point I was able to use the cats paws to do the rest, or as you suggested , use the pin pinch to drive the nails that broke out (since nothing would grip those damn noodles from the pulling side). Thanks again… your insights an suggestions were most valuable.

surprisingly, I have no problems eating wet noodles with wet chopsticks… gotta inspect that more closely next time I eat, maybe learn a thing or two :o)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112002 posts in 2181 days


#4 posted 1834 days ago

Thanks for the review

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View reuser's profile

reuser

13 posts in 1967 days


#5 posted 1834 days ago

To be fair, this is an industrial application for this new group of tools, and while the design certainly works in ways that no other tool does, the real test in this group’s desired level of performance will come soon enough.

But the next tool coming out by Nail Jack Tools is the monster of the group, the so-called Nail Jack Pro. It is drop forged and you can hit it with a sledge hammer. The inside jaws actually score the shaft of the nail without cutting it, and you can crank out any one of them, headless rusted or not. PurpLev is right, for this hardcore approach the regular Nail Jack will fall a bit short. I can get you a preview of the NJP by getting it sent right to your house PurpLev. Here’s how it looks, and here’s what it does!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRqgB42OEYc&feature=related

-- reuseit!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2253 days


#6 posted 1834 days ago

Fair enough reuser – after my experience with the Nail Jack, one of the thought that came to mind was that although this is the “bigger” one, maybe this is too much for it to handle – which brings another question to mind – what IS the Nail Jack aimed at? I know the Nail Hunter is mostly aimed at finish nails, which lead me to assume the Nail Jack is aimed at more robust applications.

Thanks for the offer by the way – I would really appreciate a chance for some hands on experience with the “Pro” model and see if it might fit better my needs for reclaiming lumber for woodworking.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View reuser's profile

reuser

13 posts in 1967 days


#7 posted 1834 days ago

The regular Nail Jack is a “medium duty” model designed to remove nails, staples and brads from reclamation projects, remodels and demolition to get most used wood back. I think it does a super job within that level of use. With all soft woods and many old barn wood and the like, you won’t find anything that is faster and does less damage. Take a look at the blog. www.nailjacktool.com The Nail Jack is great for pulling any brads or headless nails through the back of your wainscoting and baseboard. For the really hard woods with the nails designed to stay in (like pallets or maple bowling alleys) you have to upgrade to the Nail Jack Pro, which I’m afraid won’t be available for another 90 days. It has taken a LONG time and a lot of money to get what I know you guys are waiting for to the market, but it is coming and I think that where we’re going is where no design has been yet, and it is my life’s goal to have MOST people say “this is BETTER than a cat’s paw!” You will be getting one of only a handful that exist on this earth via Fedex! Please understand that this is new territory and it takes time (I am a one guy show!) but we WILL get there! No I am not trying to do a commercial here, I am trying to explain what I am trying to do to get all of our perfectly good wood back. Please forgive me if this is “spammy”, it is not meant to be.

-- reuseit!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2253 days


#8 posted 1834 days ago

Thanks reuser – on the contrary, I’m glad you jumped in to stand up for your product. like I said -it shows great potential, and in a way I wasn’t too excited about writing a less then favorable review on it, so I’m glad this is growing to a discussion that presents the product in a better light. with that said – the review is based on my current experience with this particular model, and as I stated, I will try it out on different (more ‘medium’) applications with hopes to have better results.

Sorry if the review came as ‘too’ negative, but I simply stated the facts. My part here is to be the “tester”, and in a way – help you guys come up with something better performance wise (which it seems like you’re already ahead with that one) and also in terms of marketing -perhaps add some applications notes for each model so that people would know which product would work for them (and if at all).

believe me – I’ve had my share of bumps on the back/side of my hands from working with the cats paw and missing some hits (still have those , and that happened almost a month ago) and I really wanted to say “wow, this is WAY better than the cats paw..” lol – hopefully with the next one.

Thanks again.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View reuser's profile

reuser

13 posts in 1967 days


#9 posted 1834 days ago

Fair enough!

I am up to the challenge, and if I’m successful…lots of us will be happy.

-- reuseit!

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11639 posts in 2292 days


#10 posted 1832 days ago

I’m sure that those spiral nails weren’t driven by hand and more than likely were also cement (heat activated glue) coated. Sounds like the nails were doing their best to do their intended job and put up quite a battle : )
I’ve tried in the past to take apart hardwood pallets to reclaim the wood and ended up mostly cutting the boards as close to the nails as possible to salvage as much as I could. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to drive a spiral nail into Rock Maple , never mind being able to pull the nail back out . LOL
Nice review and totally fair in my opinion . You’ve got to figure that 99 percent of the reclaimers would be using these on softwoods like Pine , Spruce and or Fir .

Any progress with the September Picnic yet , Sharon ?

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View reuser's profile

reuser

13 posts in 1967 days


#11 posted 1832 days ago

Ultimately though, as a tool designer/inventor, I am seeking the solution, the tool that can do it all. I have to admit that I have ended up feeling a little bummed at this review of the Nail Jack, even if it came up short in a rather extreme scenario, but it also pushes me to get the industrial version out there! Hey, I am only human, just another wood lover. This is ultimately a “family” of tools, and the designs are very promising. I have a model design that I’ve only shown a couple of people and of course my patent attorney, and I think it’s the only tool that I know of that would quickly and effectively remove the brittle, head broken off rusty nails that occupy most of the world’s pallets.

In the meantime, the Nail Jack is going to keep getting better, stronger (faster?) Stay tuned!

-- reuseit!

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