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?
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
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.
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
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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