#OldSchool Nail Puller Gets Tough Nails Out

November 21, 2016


The go-to tool for extracting hard-to-remove nails, and when minimal damage is important.


The slide-hammer nail-puller is a tool that many people own, but few know how to use. After I locate the 'headless' 16d galvanized casing nails in a door frame (tip: rare earth magnet), I demonstrate how to pull them—just watch out for the built-in pincher.


Step by step:

  • First, locate the nail heads either visually or with a magnet. 
  • Spread the pinching jaws a bit wider than the nail head and directly over it.
  • Draw the slide back and drive it in hard to set the pinchers deep enough to engage the nail.  Be extra careful not to pinch your hand in between the slide and stop collar!
  • Once the jaws are set, slide the hammer/handle out for better leverage and pull the nail out.
  • Use a protection block of the wood needs to be salvaged

There is not much to the sequence, really, but it can take a few tries to get the hang of it: place, pound, pull... done.


—Matt Jackson is a master carpenter, remodeler, SketchUp Wiz, YouTuber, and contributing editor to ProTradeCraft. He lives and works in Rapid City, South Dakota.