Pulling nails out of Floor

Live in an old house where the nails rise up from time to time from out of the pine floor.
Years ago I went around pulling some of them up and replacing them with long screws. (The Phillip heads don't look nearly as nice as the old rustic nails... I should cover the screws with some wood-filler type stuff.
The tops of the nails are rectangular. The problem is that some of them don't rise up very much and it's difficult to remove them without occasionally damaging the surrounding wood.
I used a screwdriver type tool that has a curved v-shaped claw to it. Crowbars and hammer claws are too thick to fit beneath the nails. Sometimes, I couldn't grab the nail and damaged the wood slightly to get at it. Anyone recommend a less damaging method? And, any cosmetic substitute to using long screws other than covering them up?
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Charlie S. wrote:

How much of a project do you want to make out of it? The standard way would be to drill countersunk holes with a Forstner bit and install contrasting or matching wood plugs, then sanding them flush. It's a lot of work, but it will conceal what minor damage you do to the surrounding wood when you remove the nails and cover up the new screw heads.
R
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You could try end nippers or diagonal pliers. If there is enough high, you could stick a thin metal plate underneath the pliers/claw so that the tool bears on the metal plate instead of the wood floor.

I understand there is such a thing as a "finish screw" with a very small head, although I've never used them. You'd still want to countersink it and putty it, but it's a smaller hole.
Cheers, Wayne
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Wayne Whitney wrote:

Unfortunately those trim screw heads will probably be smaller than the cut nails that are there now and won't have much holding power. The square drives are better than Philips heads, and I think they're better looking, but they won't help with the wood damaged while pulling the larger nail.
R
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long
at
substitute
Uh, don't pull them, pound them through, and put the screw beside them? Then putty or peg the floor as your tastes dictate. Use a prick punch to pound them deep, so as to minimize the hole you create. If you want the authentic look, cut nails are still available.
aem sends...
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ameijers wrote:

----------------
there is a tool called a nail puller. You will not find it at ACE or Home Depot, but you will find it on a google search - that's where I got mine!
paul oman
--
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I have used Vise Grips. If they stick up much at all, you can get ahold of them. The jaws on the pliers are rounded, but put a small square of plywood or paneling or luan next to the nail, and then roll the pliers onto the piece to keep from marring the floor.
Works on some, not all, YMMV
STeve
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Charlie S. wrote:

How much area needs repair? This Old House dot com probably has articles, but I didn't want to sign in or pay. I would not try to pull the old nails if possible. I would try new nail at each end of board... drill pilot hole, put in new nail on a slant, counter sink it, put in wood filler. Then, with a template to protect the floor, drive the old nails so they are flush or barely lower than surface of the board. I would not want to put phillips screws into a good floor. There is probably a better way, but I don't know what it is :o)
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Going to have to digest what's written during the week, brainstorm a bit and act next weekend. Went around tonight looking in 3 rooms. Found about 8 nails raised. Put duct tape on them for now.
Looking over the screws I had put in years ago. They've held up well, but look hideous compared to the old aged nails. In some locations there are some very thin nails, with practically no heads. They don't show up much.
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I have a couple diagonal cutters I use for this. One has an angled head, which gives it better prying properties. The other has its cutting edge beveled from the backside of the cutter only, allowing it to get a grip on nails that barely stick out (flush cutting). I use either with a thick bladed 3" "paint scraper". Slide the scraper under the diagonal cutter before prying to avoid denting the wood.
Diagonal cutters look like http://www.jensentools.com/product/group.asp?parent_idT615 . You should get one bigger than this - maybe 7-8" long.
Bob
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