removing plant hooks from ceiling beams?

Previous owners installed plant hooks in the high ceiling of the wooden beams in the living room. I went to remove them today and found that the hook itself was a simple plastic piece that unscrewed from what appears to be a headless metal screw - it is a screw-like piece of metal, with threads exposed (that is what the hook itself attached to) and then a non-threaded part, and then a part that is sunk into the wood itself.
I have no idea how to remove this - since I didn't install it, I don't really know how it works. I thought perhaps it was threaded at the other end and I tried to grip the threaded end with pliers and turn, but either it's not threaded or I can't get a tight enough grip to turn it. I also tried the claw part of a hammer to see if I could get a grip and yank it straight out, but that didn't work.
Looking for any suggestions folks may have about getting these things out! Thanks so much!
Steve Portigal http://www.portigal.com
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Steve Portigal wrote:

It's threaded, it's a typical setup for those hooks. One end has thinner "machine" threads (screws into the hook, as you've found out) and the other end is a "wood screw" thread.
Vice-grips.
If you don't already own a pair, this is the perfect excuse to buy one. They're not expensive, and they're made for this kind of thing. Just size them a bit thinner than the post so you need to squeeze them to lock, and they should hold on to it and allow you to turn it out (counter clockwise, remember.)
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It is screwed in. You will need to get a better grip. Beg, borrow, buy, or steal a Vise Grip brand locking plier. Crank it down extra tight and turn counterclockwise.
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(Steve Portigal) writes:

I've got several plant hooks of similar type, I think. Mine are somewhat different though, I think. The "base" which attaches to the ceiling is not threaded - instead it's attached to the ceiling by an independent screw that sits in the center of the base.
My bases have two (for want of a better term) "legs" which hold the swivelling hook.
I can't tell for sure from your description, but if the base includes an integral screw and has similar legs, try using a long screwdriver as a lever. Insert between the legs and turn carefully so as not to break the legs. I've used this lever technique to remove cup hooks, eye bolts, etc, works like a charm.
Best,
Marc
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They may be too small to grip effectively with vise grips.
An alternative, assuming you haven't damaged the threads, is to get two plain nuts that fit the threads. Put both nuts on and tighten them against each other (backing out the top nut while tightening the bottom nut). Then put a wrench on the top nut and back out the screw. You have to have the nuts tight against each other to prevent them from turning on the screw. To remove the nuts, just hold the top one while backing out the bottom one.
Steve Portigal wrote:

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