Pry Bars, Nail Sets and Punches

Pry Bars, Nail Sets & Punches Safety Tips

  • Always wear safety glasses when using punches.

  • Always strike punches with a ball peen or sledgehammer.

  • Discard any punch that is bent, cracked or chipped.

  • Never use a nail set as a punch.

  • Discard any nail set that is bent, cracked, chipped or shows excessive wear.

  • Never use a nail hammer to strike a cat’s paw. The face of the hammer is too small and could chip. Use a ball peen or a small sledgehammer instead

Wrecking Bar

  •  Also known as ripping bars or crowbars, these tools are used in construction, demolition and where pulling nails, ripping wood and similar tasks are done.

  • Those with curved ends are also known as gooseneck bars.

  • Because of their length, usually 24" or 30", they have more leverage than hammers, enabling them to pull much larger and longer nails.

Pry Bar

  • Smaller and flatter than a wrecking bar and not designed for heavy-duty prying.

  • Features beveled notches in each chisel-like end and ranges in size from 6" to 21".

  • Useful for removing nails with exposed heads and for prying paneling or molding without marring the surface.

  • One type of pry bar features an extra curve, which makes it useful for lifting and holding such things as drywall panels in place.

  • Double claw models provide equal force on push or pull

Cat’s Paw

  • Tool used to pull nails when nail heads are buried beneath the wood’s surface.

  •  Forked chisel end is hammered into wood surrounding nail head until the nail head is positioned between notches. It can then be pulled from below the wood surface.


Nail Set

  • Used to countersink nails before filling with putty, plastic, wood or other filling materials for a smooth surface.

  •  Nail sets are sized by 1/32" and range from 1/32" to 5/32".

  • It is important that the correct size set be used for each size nail to prevent enlarging of a small nail hole by too large a set.

  • The pointed end of the nail set should be cupped or hollowed out to avoid splitting the nail head. Self-centering nail sets are available.

Pin Punch

  • Used for driving or removing bushings, pins and keys that have been loosened.

  • Also called a drive pin punch.

  • Shaft has a long taper to the tip, which is flat.

Prick Punch

  • Used to make a very light starter mark that can then be enlarged by a different type of punch (usually a center punch).

  • Also used to mark layout lines.

  • The point of a prick punch has a long bevel.

Starter Punch

  •  Used to make a starter mark that can be enlarged with a pin punch.

  •  Generally ranges in length from 4” to 7”.

Center Punch

  •   Also known as a nail punch, the point of a center punch has a short bevel.

  •  Used for starting holes in wood or metal, or to align rivet or bolt holes.

  • Also used for driving rivets after rivet heads have been removed.

  • Good all-around punch that is useful for most jobs requiring a punch.

Automatic Center Punch

  • Punch that is not stuck by a hammer. It has a spring-actuated internal drive that pushes the attached punch point into the material to be center punched.

  • These punches are available in different sizes and with replaceable screw-on points.


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