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Forum topic by Slava posted 10-25-2010 02:33 AM 1385 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Slava's profile


4 posts in 2188 days

10-25-2010 02:33 AM


My wife has been dreaming of a solid farmhouse table and I sweared that I will build one for her… I have acquired these awsome 6” x 2” seasoned oak boards from a 100+ years old barn. They used to hold a ceiling and there was a row or two of nails still sticking out of one edge. It was not a big deal to pull the handmade nails, but there is a plenty of the nail-ends embedded in the wood. I will have the wide side planned, but I am still inthe dark on how to smooth the side with all these remaining nails…

Can I just use a circular saw, use the blade that can cut through the nails and saw off 1/2 inch?

Thank you.

8 replies so far

View Pawky's profile


278 posts in 2221 days

#1 posted 10-25-2010 02:43 AM

Sometimes I’ve been able to use vice grips to pull the nails out. You only need a small piece of the nail to be sticking out then to grab a hold of it and leverage it out.

View canadianchips's profile


2306 posts in 2414 days

#2 posted 10-25-2010 02:51 AM

My neighbor is using a metal detector before he planes his boards. If the piece of nail is embedded deep enough you may not have to be concerned when planing. If you can’t get it out, maybe using a center punch and pushing it deeper as you plane will work. (Depends on how many pieces are left in there)
I am using reclaimed lumber and I hit nails that I thought were gone ! I have learned to do the rough work with a plane that I don’t care about-just resharpen it often. When I am confident that there are no more nails I bring out my better plane.
Good Luck.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View GaryL's profile


1094 posts in 2248 days

#3 posted 10-25-2010 02:56 AM

I bought an inexpensive handheld metal detector (Cen-tech) to use on reclaimed wood for restoration projects. Has saved jointer knives and molder knives. Dig a small as possible hole into the hole that is showing metal. A small screwdriver ground down works well for me. You’ll feel it click on the metal when you find it. Then dig until you can get a small needlenose vice grip attached. Grinding down the nose of the vise grips helps too, to minimize the size of the “excavation”. A slight twisting while pulling hopefully works the first time to prevent further hole enlargement.

I think Harbor Freight sells a detector that is made by Cen-Tech.

Hope this helps..

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3204 days

#4 posted 10-25-2010 03:44 AM

To get to the nails with the buried ends (I am assuming they were driven in all the way and not broken off) you need a tool called a “cat’s paw” .
Sears sells a good quality one, and I am sure many other places do. You want one with good hard steel in it, not the cheapest one.

I would remove any metal you can get to. Leaving the metal in the wood will still let it rust and stain, as well as tear up any other tools or sand paper you use on it.

If you do try the circular saw route (and I am not recommending it), I would strongly suggest you use a HSS steel blade (NOT one with carbide teeth). Also use the thickest kerf blade you can find. The carbide teeth may shell off and start ricocheting around. Very sharp and deadly shrapnel. I have had it happen and it is definitely near the top of my “least favorite ways to make my day exciting” list. Down side to this is it will probably take a dozen blades to get through that much oak and nails.


-- Go

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17570 posts in 3093 days

#5 posted 10-25-2010 06:24 AM

I buy old blades to use for this, they are cheap, nobody uses steel blades any more. Craigs list and yard sales. The ones I really hate are the rusty ones that break off when you try to pull them ;-((

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Slava's profile


4 posts in 2188 days

#6 posted 10-25-2010 01:03 PM

Yes, these nails are wrought iron, hand forged and must be 200 years old. They are rectangular in shape and heavily rusted. On the bright side, this metal is very soft…

Would it be possible to just leave them in those boards that will be inside the tabletop?

Thank you for your suggestions!


View Beeguy's profile


178 posts in 3054 days

#7 posted 10-25-2010 10:28 PM

Every so often someone invents a better mouse trap. I have found the “Extractor” from Jefferson Tool to be one of those times. Often I used Channel Lock Pliers for pulling nails where the head pulled off. It allowed you to “roll” the nail out but it did slip a lot. Then I came across the Extractor and it fixed all the problems using the other pliers. I can’t believe how handy they are. I even bought a pair for a friend who was always borrowing mine. About the only thing that would make them perfect would be a flat side to use a a light hammer to side tap the nail. But kinowing most people, myself included, would end up using it for a hammer.

Here is the website. Shop around a bit because the prices vary.

-- Ron, Kutztown, PA "The reward is in the journey."

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3204 days

#8 posted 10-26-2010 03:53 AM

Bottom line, I would think that Yes, you could leave them inside the tabletop. Over years, if moisture gets to them, they will continue to rust and may swell or stain the wood black. However, they are probably at a point now where they will not do much more corroding unless they get a new source of moisture/oxygen. If you seal the table top on the bottom as well, you probably won’t see any bad effects other than a dark stain, and that may not even occur when your grandchildren are old. Look how long they have already been there, and there is no indication on the wide surfaces. Put the cleanest sides to the outside, because that will be where they will be noticed first.

Besides that, even if something does show up years from now, she will probably not know where it came from, and even if she does, will disregard it as she will treasure the table you built for her just because “you promised”.

Go build that table.


-- Go

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