How to Remove Buried Nails from Wood in 7 Ways

What would you say is more troublesome than a stuck nail that you desperately want to get rid of from a piece of wood or furniture? Is there anything more stubborn? Undoubtedly, this is the reason we got frustrated enough to write this to let you know how to remove buried nails from wood.

Because let's get this straight, nails are better off holding pieces and stuff we want them to hold, not things we don't want it to stick to. But this very purpose of trying to make it do the opposite of what it was built for makes the job hard.

But for those in the refurbishing and carpentry business, this is a piece of cake. So if you have the handy tools, this is a piece of cake you can enjoy too!

Some tools we listed here that you can use to do the job. So, you will need any one of the following (great if you own more than one handy tool):

  1. Claw Hammer
  2. Nail Jack
  3. Pry Bar
  4. Nail Kicker
  5. Cat's Paw
  6. Reciprocating Saw
  7. Wooden Block

However, there are other tools such as torque wrenches we didn’t list before, that do similar business, and we are happy with anything that works.

Additionally, you can have safety glasses on to make sure your precious eyes are safe from nails flying off everywhere. Protective boots can stop you from stepping over flying nails, and also, please make sure there aren't children running areas you are working. Heavy-duty gloves can work to save you from blisters and splinters or any accident we hope doesn't happen.

7 Ways to Remove Buried Nails from Wood

Here is a collection of 7 ways, in no order whatsoever. However, the availability and usefulness of the ultimate tool and method may surprise you –

1. Using a Claw Hammer

This is the first most accessible method of the lot as there are hardly any houses or relatives/neighbors nearby who don't own hammers. But remember, the nails that are easy to remove, although stuck in wood, is when you can use hammer claws. If it is a deeply rooted one, we suggest you skip this method. When corrected slaty nails instead of removing them, this is an excellent method to try.

You start by preparing your hammer ready at hand and locating your nail that you want to be extracted. Position the claw adjacent to the head and pry it out to see and elevated head of the nail. If it is big enough to be held by fingers, pull sideways. If not, continue the job.

2. Using a Nail Jack

To hold onto the nail head, you need to do a little pounding with the Nail Jack. You can bend it over when it is secure enough, to see the nails come off quickly.

For this, you need to position the jack on the nail head. Use the puller to grab hold of the nail head by diving onto it. If you have done it, squeeze onto the pliers of the Nail Jack and bend it backward, pulling it firmly. The nail would instantly fall off.

3. Using a Pry Bar

For dismantling, Pry Bars are actual bosses. The fissure of the Bar makes it easy to remove stuck nails. These are more heavy-duty than claw hammers, applying a potent force on whatever you are dealing with to fix.

Start with a hammer for support if you need it. If you don't, fair enough. Locate the stubborn nail to come out. Position the Bar on the wood surface. Using the hammer, knock out a couple of pounds or less and bury the Bar on one of the sides of the nail head. With the head exposed, take it between the fissures and with a sharp jolt, draw it out.

4. Using a Nail Kicker

The Kickers are pretty consistent and fast in the removal process. Here, you have to give the least effort to pound the nails since it does the pushing itself. This also leaves insignificant to zero damage on the wood. But be safe with it as it can be a little dangerous.

Set the Kicker and prepare the wood. Then with the tool positioned on top of the head, push the nail gently. The pins will kick out, some remaining and some falling according to the depths they are stuck in. Perform another round or use another tool if you still have nails left in there.

5. Using a Cat's Paw

If you want to salvage the wood where you have the nail driven in, and you don't want to split the wood in half, this is your best bet.

For this purpose, use a supporting hammer with your Cat's Paw. Angle the Paw cleft at 45 degrees with respect to the nail head. Use a full strike of the hammer and let the Paw get hold of the nail head. With the head out, pull the Claw backward and out with the nail!

a reciprocating saw

6. Using a Reciprocating Saw

If rough work and demolition is no matter with you, just cut the nail with a reciprocating saw. It is much, much easier than pulling.

7. Using a Wooden Block

Resetting the hammer on another block before you pull nails out from the wood in question is pretty useful. But for that, your nail should be elevated to some extent. For a straight pull, then the pivot point on the block can be as close to the nail head as needed.

This will give the hammer enough leverage and protect delicate surfaces. This is also useful if you are half-left of nail-removing.


We hope you know just as good as a woodworker how to remove buried nails from wood! It should be comfortable enough for you with all the methods and techniques we mentioned. So hopefully, you will be getting back your wood piece minus the stubborn nail heads. Remember not to hurt yourself in the process of nail-removing.

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