*Using Hand Tools*
Tips ĎN Tricks
By: Jaden
16 May 2005

The tools below have many different uses. I canít begin to cover them all here. Be inventive. Wrecking bars and flat bars are made for prying. Get into a situation where something needs prying, refer to these. Hammers mainly exist for pounding. Tools exist to do certain forms of work.

Iím rebuilding a ĺís rotted deck at work for the boss. So Iíll use it for some of the "destruction" demonstrations.

There are different sizes, styles and types of hammers. The most common is the claw hammer. Itís used for driving and pulling nails. Hold the hammer near the end of the handle not up near the head. By holding near the head, the downward force is drastically reduced when swinging.

Sometimes nails are too large or too difficult to pull with a hammer. A hammerís pulling leverage isnít very good. To remedy that there are a couple of more tools. BTW, youíll see leverage mentioned several times in this article. Leverage is everything.

Many people have the misunderstanding that this is a crowbar. This is a wrecking bar. It can be used for prying or for pulling harder nails. There are different styles. Some have a "flat bar" claw on the end, while others just have flat wedge. Will get into that in a bit.

Wrecking Bar

The wrecking bar in action---

The nailís head will need to be pulled about ľ" or more out of the wood in order to use the wrecking bar. It just needs to be out enough so the claw will slide under the head. A hammer can be used to drive the claw too. Slide the curved endís claw under the nailís head and hold the bar near the opposite end (itís all about leverage). Then pry the nail up. 8 times out of 10 this will work. Sometimes it wonít. Be careful when pulling on the wrecking bar. If the claw slips, youíre apt to smash your knuckles.


Ready to pull Pulled

Letís say the nail is being a real PITA. Youíre not defeated yet. This is where a flat bar comes in

I said above that some wrecking bars have a flat bar claw on the straight end. The one at work does. Mine doesnít.


Flat bar claw Flat bar

Look close at the left pic. You see a teardrop shape in the middle. Youíll also see V shaped notch above it. The V notch can be used to help left nail heads so that a wrecking bar can be used or so that the teardrop can be used. I need to yank a nail that somebody had in the end of this plank. Look how the nail is in the teardrop. Now simply lift up. It will pull the nail.


There are many different situations in which a flat bar can be used. Stripping shingles, prying boards apart and such.

Yea ok I know what youíre thinking. How do you get the nails out of the wood so that they can be pulled out? Hereís an invaluable tool.

The catís paw is designed to slide in under a recessed nailís head and then pry it up far enough so that a different tool can be used.


Catís Paw Pawís claw

Ok, here is a nail that is flush with a piece of wood.

Now, letís take it outÖ

Place the V notch at the edge of the nailís head and at this approximate angle. (left pic) Then use a hammer and pound it while gradually standing the catís paw vertical. This will cause the claw to slip under the head.



Under the head Prying

Once the claw is under the head, pry back and the nail should lift. Be carefulÖif it slips and you donít catch yourself, itís knuckle bustiní time. Once the nail is up a tad bit, then a hammer, flat bar, or wrecking bar can be used.

Well the file size is getting pretty big so I guess Iíd better close down. Iíll continue with more hand tools in another article.

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