Removing deep-set nails

I need to remove some deep-set nails. They're the type without large heads, and they look like they must have been placed with a nail gun, because the heads are (say) 1/8" into the wood.
One method I thought of was some kind of drill bit that would drill out a small circle, except it would have a hole where the nail is so the bit wouldn't press on the nail itself.
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The only way I know of is to get a pry bar behind the board and pull the board and nail up until you can get at the head.
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sinister wrote:

That's called a "plug cutter". Hard - but not impossible - to use without a drill press.
--

dadiOH
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sinister wrote:

    It is not clear to me if you wish to salvage the wood. Assuming you do not, I recently had a similar problem removing the nails securing a countertop to kitchen cabinets. I did NOT need to save the wood of the countertop. I used a wood chisel to remove some wood around the sunken nail head and then used vice grips to latch onto the head. Placing a flat piece of steel for leverage under the vice grips made the removal of the nails easy.
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Quote: sinister wrote on Tue, 24 June 2008 01:17 ----------------------------------------------------

There's a gizmo called a "cat's paw" or "tiger's paw" that will do the trick. However it will make somewhat of a mess out of the wood around the nail. You actually drive this thing in near the nail and then rotate it to grab the nail and pull it out. See:
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&prod uctId™047-1431-102&lpage=none
-- Richard Thoms Founder - Top Service Pros, Inc. Connecting Homeowners and Local Service Professionals http://www.TopServicePros.com
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On Tue, 24 Jun 2008 02:17:14 -0400, "sinister"

You didnt give any details about why you want to remove the nails or what you're removing them from, but you might consider not removing them. Rather, take a nail set and drive them deeper, completely through the piece of wood.
-dickm
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I have one of these nail pullers. You use the handle to hammer the jaws in alongside the nail, then pry to the side, grabbing the nail and pulling it out.
http://tools.idoneos.com/index.php/306228/nail_puller
Read the reviews.
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on 6/24/2008 2:17 AM sinister said the following:

Like others have asked. Are you going to save the wood? If not, just use a pry bar to remove the wood. Try to get as close to the nail as possible. Better if you can get the slot in the pry bar around the nail. Pry gently. Some nails will come out with the wood and others may just stay put and rip out of the wood. The remove the nails in the wood and pry out the ones that stayed.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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Thanks to all of you for replying!
About whether I want to save the wood:
It'd be easier for me to save the wood, but it's not important. The problem is that the "top" piece (which I don't really need to save) looks sturdier than the "bottom" wood, which is thinner, tongue-and-grove panelling stuff. I'm worried that if I pry up the top piece, that I'll damage the panelling. (Minor scraping is OK, but if I just pound a crowbar into there, I'm not so sure.)
Maybe there's some wider prying tool than the usual crowbar that stands less of a chance of damaging the paneling?
Aside: this is in the basement. The reason I want to take this apart is that I need to be able to get at the AC, and this stuff (panelling, and the top piece which is if I recall 1/2 or 3/4 inch strip of wood) is nail up around the AC/furnace. I just bought the house, and myself, it makes no sense why someone would "nail in" the furnace like that. Me, I would have secured the part of the panelling (it cordons off a small storage area, in addition to the AC/furnace and H2O heater) with some kind of latch or large butterfly nut, or at least used screws there.
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On Wed, 25 Jun 2008 06:29:41 -0400, "sinister"

Yes: a Stanley Wonder Bar, which is a wide blue or black prybar. The local borg and hardware store will have it, and it's a great tool for lots of things. They come in small sizes, too.
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Shark pry bar would be one option for not damaging the wood underneath:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Ken
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Shark pry bar would be one option for not damaging the wood underneath:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
Ken
Or you could just use whatever the heck kind of pry bar you have but instead of prying agianst the wood/surface you are concerned about, pry against a putty knife, board or something else to spread the force over a wider area.
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sinister wrote:

you have a half-inch of nail showing, vise-grips will pull it right out. A small stanley wonder bar, with a piece of cardboard as a scuff guard, will protect the paneling the batten is nailed to. Yeah, I've done non-destructive demo before a few times. And you are right- furnaces and water heaters should never be trapped- if you must put a wall in the access path, put it on quick releases of some kind. And even then, you should leave plenty of air space around them for proper functioning.
-- aem sends...
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<snip>

The nails were sunk into the wood. I ended up getting a nail puller with a wide end; that didn't damage the wood underneed too bad.
But I also did get a vice grips, which I used for a nail or two, and for one screw which someone had mangled badly.

They did put in those metal slat vent thing-ees, so the circulation doesn't seem to be a problem.

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sinister wrote:

others may find it useful). Drill directly into the head of the nail, to de-head it. Then using the stanley wonderbar, pull the wood OFF the nail, in essence pulling the nail through the top board. That is when you use the vise-grips, to pull the headless nail out of the board below. Just another way of doing what another poster suggested, about driving the nail through the board with a nail set, but a skinny drill bit can often do less damage to the top board than a nail set would. I wouldn't bother for pine trim that will be painted anyway, but I have saved hardwood trim this way several times. Only an itty-bitty hole that the putty stick hid well.
-- aem sends...
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replying to aemeijers, tom wrote:

Excellent idea...seems like it will use the least leverage from arms/shoulders as mine are pretty messed up
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I have a similar situation. I want to salvage the wood (also). I was also thinking along the lines of drilling but have yet to find a suitable drill bit. Have you found anything?
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wrote:

I just pried it up with a wide nail puller (see my other post), but I was willing to tolerate a little bit of damage.
Another poster said you could drill around the nail with a "plug cutter". Then I suppose you could easily remove any remaining wood around the nail with a wood chisel, then either just pull the nail or (if the nail head doesn't project enough) use a narrow vice-grips and then either yank the nail using the grips, or pull the nail by pulling on the grips head not the nail itself.
Apparently it's hard to use a plug-cutter using a hand-held drill rather than a drill press, but one web page mentioned that you could make it easier by first drilling a hole in a piece of scrap and then use that to hold the bit in place.
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Thanks to everyone for the replies.
I ended up getting a nail puller with a really wide end (over an inch) and used that to pry the top piece of wood up. Didn't mark up the panelling too bad.

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replying to sinister, Pat wrote: I needed to remove the header trim over the refrigerator as we were replacing it with a taller one. there were 3 nails on each side that were on a finished section of wood. I took a hammer with a scrap of 2x4 and hit from the inside and the nails pulled loose at a 90 degree angle. Worked like a charm and didn't damage the outside finished area.
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