Pneumatic Nail Removers

pneumatic nail remover
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 150
What You'll Need
Air compressor
Pneumatic nail remover

Packing a punch, a pneumatic nail remover is a perfect tool to add to your DIY tool belt, especially if you're taking on a tricky remodeling project, or working with reclaimed wood.

What is a Pneumatic Nail Remover

A pneumatic nail remover is a tool that helps you remove nails from reclaimed wood. Whether you've got pallets that need to be taken apart, or you're scrapping an old project, and you want to save the wood, you need a way to take out old nails. Every DIYer knows the pain of prying bent, broken, or really (really) stuck nails out of old wood—which is where pneumatic nail removers change the game.

Attaching to an air compressor, this simple tool uses compressed air to shoot a metal rod into the stuck nails. The compressed air and metal rod work together to force the nails out of the wood.

Pneumatic Nail Remover Safety

When using this tool, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to wear protective noise-canceling ear covers. You can use gun ear coverings or the same ear coverings you wear in working with other large tools.

It's also essential to watch your fingers. Because the compressed air shoots a metal rod out of your pneumatic nail remover gun, you can do some serious damage if you end up hitting a finger instead of a nail.

Lastly, wearing eye protection is a good idea too. Though your goggles aren't a big fashion statement, they'll protect your eyes from flying wood splinters if your wood happens to break. Pneumatic nail removers are powerful, and sometimes old or reclaimed wood splinters easily when working with power tools. Protecting your eyes makes sure that you can see your project through to the end.

man using a pneumatic nailgun on a piece of decking

How to Use Your Pneumatic Nail Remover

Attach your nail remover to your air compressor using the hookup that your nail remover came with. Once you have hooked everything up, test the gun by pulling the trigger, pointing away from your body. If a small metal rod emerges when you pull the trigger, you're good to go.

Place the remover over the end of the nail that is stuck. With the gun's mouth over the tip of the nail, pull the trigger, and the gun should push the nail through the wood. If the nail doesn't come all of the ways out, you should at least push it far enough out that you can now remove it with the back of a hammer.

Note that the nail remover will leave a small indentation in the wood where you used the tool.

If you have curved or bend nails that need to be taken out of the wood, you may need to think outside of the box a little. Try to use a hammer to get the nail as straight as possible before using the pneumatic nail remover.

Filling Indentation Holes

If you need to fill the nail remover indents in your wood, do so before building with it. Use a basic wood filler and let it dry before you check to see if you need to do a second pass. Once the wood filler is dry, you can use the wood as normal.

If you don't know what wood filler brand to purchase, check with your local hardware store. They'll be able to recommend something specific to meet your needs.

Buying a Pneumatic Nail Remover

Many pneumatic nail guns run less than a hundred dollars, but not all nail removers are created equally. If you're buying online, make sure to check the reviews and read the return policy. Here's one on Amazon.

pneumatic nail remover

If you're buying a pneumatic nail remover in stores, ask an attendant to point you to one with good reviews and low return rates. Even though these guns don't break the bank, you want to make sure you're getting one that works for the kinds of projects you'll be using it for.

After you've salvaged all of your old wood, try building your own reclaimed shoe shelf or getting a jump start on DIY planter boxes for your garden this year.

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