removing baseboard without damage

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I'm still trying to put all my electrical stuff to rights... part of that process is providing a few auxiliary grounds upstairs so that the previous renovation work that was wired with grounded Romex will in fact be properly grounded. I need to peel back some baseboard to do this. Unfortunately, one wall is thin wood paneling, not plaster. I started by trying to pull the baseboard there, as that's where I need to run the first wire. Apparently the baseboard is held on by nails that are stronger than your average finishing nail. I cut through the paint and managed to separate the top of the baseboard from the wall with a thick putty knife; that's where I'm stuck. The putty knife is not strong enough to pry it free; I haven't pulled it away from the wall far enough to try a pry bar, and a screwdriver mars the paneling. Any ideas? Should I just keep doing what I'm doing, then cut the nails with a hacksaw blade, or is there a tool that I ought to have that'd work for this? Am thinking maybe run to FLAPS and buy a gasket scraper?
In case it matters, this is a three piece baseboard - main baseboard is a 1x4 with a piece of molding on top and a quarter round at the floor. I really only want to get the top piece off as I'm just going to hide a 14 AWG ground wire behind it and nail it back on.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

Locate the nails in the baseboard and use a good nail set punch to drive them all the way through the baseboard. When finished with your work nail the baseboard back with new nails in new positions, then putty the holes and paint.
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Pete C. wrote:

Not intended as a hijack, but what would you recommend for stained baseboard?
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mcp6453 wrote:

Same process and use a good color matched putty.
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I use a very thin, flat prybar that has an edge that is almost sharp like a knife and thickens to about 3/16" thick, made by Stanley. You push or hammer the sharp edge behind the baseboard and pry (sometimes with a wide putty knife behind it to prevent marring the wall). The baseboard should come loose either pulling the nails through it or pulling the nails out. Remove the nails by pulling them all through the board so that the finished surface is not damaged.
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On Thu, 24 Dec 2009 19:24:08 -0500, "EXT"

Wonder bar from Stanley... it's my go too tool for trim and baseboard removal.
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wrote:

Good answer!
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If the wood is soft enough to drive the nails through, that is a good solution. Back in stone age, we used a matched pair of the mini-size Stanley Wonder Bars (the little chrome ones), and some stiff carboard to protect the wall above. You have to keep them clean and sharp, almost chisel sharp. Get one bar started, move down a foot, get the second one started, pry a little on the first one, pull it loose and move down to position 3, lather, rinse, repeat. Goal is to pull the board and nail at the same time. Get one end started, and keep going back and forth till enough of the board is loose that you can pull on it. Other option, of course, is to just rip the top trim off and replace it, if you can find a modern profile that is a close enough match.
--
aem sends, still on Google for another week till I get home....

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The wonder bars have saved me several times
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I use a bent pole scraper like this one to get started: http://www.drillspot.com/products/574998/hangzhou_great_star_indust_5026tv_mp_3_bent_pole_scraper
It is stiff and starts the pry-off. Then I place a metal putty knife on the wall/paneling behind whatever I am using to pry it further (such as a screwdriver or pry bar). The metal putty knife protects the paneling from being dented/damaged by the prying device.
Or, to cut nails, you could try a MultiMax with a metal cutting blade -- again, placing a putty knife or square metal trowel over the paneling to prevent damaging it while cutting.

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wrote:

I use a putty knife to protect the wall, then use another tool such as a prybar to gently lift off the trim. Try a few putty knives and pry bars until you get one just right. Patience will help you from damaging the trim/wall. With damage you will be creating another job so be careful. If there is caulk, remove that first. I use a 7-in-1 tool (a snazzy putty knife) to remove trim.
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You've got many good suggestions to try Nate. I'm gonna guess that if you do get one all the way out that it's a ringed nail and that's why it's tough and/or it's very long and/or you have some wood back there that's old and hard as a rock.
Paneling nails are usually (always?) ringed.
    
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In typed:

Try a Mason't spatula. Masonry tools are quite strong. Or one of the S shaped pry bars, with thins ends. Not a construction bar, but a smaller version; like in the 17" range. Hope I"ve made sense out of that. It's what I've used for that kind of job and others like it.
Twayne
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Nate Nagel wrote:

I have a steel bar. It is 1/4" x 1 1/4" or so and maybe 2 1/2' long, with the last 6 inches bent maybe 45 degrees. I pry the baseboard out enough to slip the bent end behind it. Then I push the other end to the side, causing the bar to twist behind the board, prying it out. It's a really good tool for this job. Very powerful, and it focuses the force evenly right at the nail, minimizing damage.
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I like the Shark pry bar. (Amazon.com product link shortened) It's got a wide whale-tail that's thin and gently curved. Does an excellent job of getting behind trim without damaging it. As others have noted, use something to protect the wall regardless of what type of pry bar you use.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Right. I've got that tool and it does what it's supposed to do. However, I bought mine at HF for $4 instead of the $14.00 that Amazon wants (discounted from $27.00). http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?ItemnumberC651
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-snip-
I'm partial to this $3 one- http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber%29 I like the 2 flat ends, and the 'keyhole' nail puller.
Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote the following:

I have one of those and I find that it often dents the molding or sheetrock when trying to tap it between the two. Once you use a thinner flat bade to start the removal, that tool will work to finish the removal, but I wouldn't use it alone.
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Bill
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wrote:

Yep. A piece of thin plywood or scrap of heavy gauge sheet metal on the wall side.
Usually I hit the joint with a razor knife to break an caulk/paint beads. Then start with wall protector and a painters tool at or near a nail location,     
http://www.kk.org/cooltools/5-1-painter-tool.jpg
separate enough to get in a mini wonder flat bar, separate more, then a regular size flat bar. Work down to the next nail with duplicate tools if necessary.
Quite often I look ahead and just trash the existing and replace it. When you think about the time to carefully remove, fix all the dents and holes, sand and prime those spots so they don't show under the new semigloss paint replacing, it just isn't worth trying to save.
But I guess if you are only doing one piece in an area, you really don't want one piece to look brand new and stick out.

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-snip-
yup! Perfect. And those 5 in tools will take a razor edge on that point.

I'm with you here, too. On some jobs I don't count my labor as worth much-- but on removing molding I charge myself $20/hr because I hate that work--- so if I can take out the wall and make it work I'd much rather do it that way.
Also- looking around, I note that most my baseboards are now 4/4x3 1/2 cherry with a plain bead- and oil-rubbed finish. They are strong as can be if they need to be removed, and they finish back up real nice if they get a dent or scratch.
Jim
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