Awesome Nail Puller Needed - Router Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Default Awesome Nail Puller Needed

My daughter and her husband bought their first house recently. It's built on a slab, so the front "porch" is about 3" off of grade. It has several columns around the perimeter of the porch. There used to be handrails between the columns. The prior owner removed them. The horizontal segments were held to the columns with screws. Those segments were removed with a reciprocating saw. Therefore, the screw bodies are still in the columns, and they protrude ever so slightly.

I'm thinking the best solution to start the clean up is to use a very effective nail puller. (There are no heads on the screws.) There may not be enough of the screw to grab and pull without digging out the wood around it. What kind of awesome nail puller would you recommend for this task? It's ok if I mess up the wood as it will need a lot of clean up, too.

Once the screws are out, I'm probably going to clean up the columns with a belt sander. (I have one, but I can't find it.) I also have a power planer, but I'd hate to hit the remnants of a nail or screw with it. Plus, it's probably way too aggressive.

Any suggestions you have are appreciated. I'll get some pictures next time I'm over there.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 07:10 PM
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I can't imagine much success in actually pulling the screws out. Even if you succeeded you would have a real mess of destroyed wood. No matter what you do you're going to have to do some patching of some kind which might include epoxy putty or such. My first option would be to removed enough wood around the screw to grab hold with vice grips and see if I could back the screw out. There are also screw removers that look like a round tube with saw teeth on one end that you use with a drill to remove a plug with the screw. Highland Woodworking sells a set.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 07:29 PM
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Default screw

these screw removal drill bits are cheap and glue small piece dowel for repairing the hole
Amazon selling these for $13

Last edited by Semipro; 11-18-2017 at 02:41 PM.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 07:37 PM
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I echo the screw removal drill bits. Only a little damage easily repaired. Lot less work, stress and headaches.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 09:00 PM
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I usually use vice grips like Oliver (the real ones made by Petersen, the knockoffs don't grip as well). The drill tubes sound good but what if you aren't sure of the angle?

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 09:08 PM
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the tube starts to cut into the screw..
you won't miss it..
you back up an reset the angle..
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 09:53 PM
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One way to do this is to determine the diameter of the screw shank. Now get a GOOD pair of vice grips with a flush set of jaws. Use a drill press to drill a hole into the jaws that is slightly smaller than the screw shaft. Drill it so the hole is split by the jaws. Now the vice grips will grab the screw, even when you only have a small bit to grab, rather than flattening the end of the screw as normal vice grip jaws would. Done right, your modified screw extractor will grab the smallest bit of a screw shank and back it out.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 10:31 PM
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Screw removal drill bits, then plug the holes with dowel. Neat, and you have something to put the new connector into. This will be the easiest fix by far. Pulling screws is a nasty business and you have holes left raw even if you can get the screws out. Only complication might be if you hit the shaft of another screw coming in from the other side. But these bits aren't very expensive.

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2016, 10:34 PM
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@patlaw - I have been there before. Surely you won't be dealing with hard maple, as I was. I know, my screws were smaller and not as long, but hopefully you will be able to get them out.

I also used plug cutters. I bought mine at Lowe's. I drilled around the broken screw. Then I was able to pick out the screw with a screwdriver. You might have to use the Vise Grips like mentioned above to back the screw shank out. I think the important thing is getting some working room for the pliers to get a grip.

Once the screws have been extracted, use another plug cutter to cut plugs to fill the hole. Sand and paint and you are all done. You are going to paint I hope.

Here is my thread.

Hope this helps.
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Last edited by MT Stringer; 08-28-2016 at 10:44 PM.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 08:14 AM
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Unless this is (transparent) stained wood, this isn't a fine woodworking situation.

Use a razor blade knife to dig out around the end enough to grab with the vice grip. Fill the holes with bondo (epoxy wood filler) sand then paint.
If this is rough cedar then sanding will mess up the brushed look. Instead use caulk (DAP 3.0) (not silicone, it's not paintable) to fill the holes. While the caulk is still wet, brush it with a rough textured towel or a cleaning brush to recreate the rough brushed texture.
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