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Best way to deal with nails in wood

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Forum topic by mbs posted 12-05-2013 02:33 PM 985 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mbs

1438 posts in 1594 days


12-05-2013 02:33 PM

I had an old black walnut tree cut down and slabbed into 9/4” thick planks. I have roughly 50 planks. The bandsaw found/cut a bunch of nails (ugh).

I think the easiest way is is to cut out the sections of wood that contain nails. Unfortunately, that would leave me with some pretty short sections in some cases. Other ideas are:

1) Try punching the nails through with a nail set if they go through the entire slab. I’m not sure how successful I would be to keep the nail set on the nail. And, most of the nails don’t go all the way through the wood.

2) Set the nails deeper in the wood with a nail set and leave them there. Just make sure none of the other milling operations affect that part of the wood.

3) level the slabs with a router using a parallelogram. Route around the nails exposing some material to grab with a nail puller

4) Dissolve 3/16” of the nail with some acid. leave the remaining nail in the wood. Not sure what type of acid to use, how long it would take and what it would do to the wood/finish.

5) Plan on sacrificing a set of jointer and planer knives to level the wood. Just keep the nails exposed.

6) sand the panels flat and leave the nails in the wood

I’m sure I can do a combination of the ideas above depending on the situation and desired use for each slab of wood. Just curious if you’ve got a better idea that’s worked for you?

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.


31 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112087 posts in 2231 days


#1 posted 12-05-2013 02:40 PM

You basically have to dig them out even if it damages the wood ,other wise you will damage all of your tools trying to use the wood later. If you don’t have one buy a metal detector ,they start at around $20.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Don W's profile

Don W

15029 posts in 1221 days


#2 posted 12-05-2013 02:43 PM

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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patron

13034 posts in 1995 days


#3 posted 12-05-2013 02:59 PM

i use drift punches
(set from the big box store)
to punch them thru to wood
they are straight shanked
so don’t ‘wedge’ open and split the wood

i use them for removing finished trim too
that i will need to replace at job sites

for broken screws i use a small chisel
around the stub
and the smallest pair of vice grips made
(real vise grip brand not the knock off ones)
would work for a nail too
with a putty knife between
so you don’t mar the wood

then plug the hole with matching wood

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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mbs

1438 posts in 1594 days


#4 posted 12-05-2013 03:16 PM

I agree, Jim, it’s best to get the nails out. We detected some metal using a metal detector but we couldn’t find the metal.

Don, have you used that tool? Does in grip harder as force is applied? Your post prompted me to look at nail pullers on youtube and there is one called the kwickgripper that applies more gripping force as you pull the nail out. it costs about $35.

Patron – I like your idea for the nails that go through both sides of the blank. I have a few of those but there are also a number that only go through one side.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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patron

13034 posts in 1995 days


#5 posted 12-05-2013 03:20 PM

as the shanks are long and even thru-out
they can expose the nail on the back side of the wood
where you can get a ‘grip’ on it

unless you are doing 8/4 or more thickness

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View SuperCubber's profile

SuperCubber

277 posts in 938 days


#6 posted 12-05-2013 03:25 PM

View Don W's profile

Don W

15029 posts in 1221 days


#7 posted 12-05-2013 03:26 PM

I have had one of those pullers for about 30 years. Yes, it applies more force as you pull. The handle is weighted so you drive it in. You’ll get a dimple in the wood where the jaws go. It works best on a nail with the head still attached, even finish nail heads but I’ve used it with nail that have been cut.

you can buy vintage models at flea markets and antique shops from $5 to $50.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2528 posts in 1005 days


#8 posted 12-05-2013 03:35 PM

5) Plan on sacrificing a set of jointer and planer knives to level the wood. Just keep the nails exposed.

I’d rule that out right away, that’s just plain crazy.

Personally I don’t use wood that has nails in it, not worth it to me. I wouldn’t touch it w/ a tool of any kind unless I was absolutely certain that all of the nails are removed.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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mbs

1438 posts in 1594 days


#9 posted 12-05-2013 03:54 PM

Patron, all the wood is 9/4. But some of it has nails that go all the way through. So, I believe your idea will work for some of the nails.

Super – the reviews state a drill press or some type of steady rest is needed to keep the tool from wandering. But, I like the idea of plugging the wood after I’ve buggered up the surface getting the nail out.

Don – I think i’ll order one. Many the nails heads are sheared but this tool and some plugs may do the trick.

Bondogaposis – I think there are enough solutions here that I can get most of the nails out of the wood. With roughly 700 bf of wood I will bet that a few nails are undetected. I’ll do my best.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Don W's profile

Don W

15029 posts in 1221 days


#10 posted 12-05-2013 04:02 PM

There is also the old cats paw stand by. The trick with a cats paw on long nails is pull the tool sideways. This gives more leverage and also bends the nail so the second grab becomes less likely to slip. Push the second grab the opposite sideways. It does make much bigger claw marks.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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Don W

15029 posts in 1221 days


#11 posted 12-05-2013 04:03 PM

And don’t get me wrong. I’ve used patrons drive through idea a lot as well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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patron

13034 posts in 1995 days


#12 posted 12-05-2013 04:08 PM

as usual
we have to go thru
plan A then B then C etc.
whatever works in each case

when using a plug cutter (hollow)
like these ‘extractor’ ‘hole saw’ types
i make a plywood scrap board
with the outside diameter of the cutter
drilled in it
and clamp it to the wood
that way i can drill freehand
(and follow the nail if it is at an angle)
without the cutter ‘wandering’ about
if the board is to much for the drill press
or i am on a job site without one

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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SuperCubber

277 posts in 938 days


#13 posted 12-05-2013 05:00 PM

Patron, excellent tip!

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DaddyZ

2401 posts in 1694 days


#14 posted 12-05-2013 05:25 PM

Another tip Use a 1/8” Drill And drill as close to the nail as you can on all sides you can get to.

Nail comes out easier also you can get pliers in to grab it.

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

1547 posts in 374 days


#15 posted 12-05-2013 05:39 PM

I’ve accidentally sacrificed a set of planer knives, sure they were expensive to replace, but not nearly as much as having the bed reground after spending several hours disassembly/reassembly to remove it from the machine. The knives didn’t even cut the metal that was encountered flush, they quickly chipped away and left little raised sections of wood behind every screw or nail that was hit. If you had a wide belt sander, or drum sander it might be a different story, albeit, much greater chance of a fire as the airborne dust was exposed to sparks as the abrasive ran over each nail.

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