Nail Puller

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Forum topic by Maximus71 posted 05-02-2017 01:21 AM 673 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 994 days

05-02-2017 01:21 AM

My son is working on a project (I’m supervising). he is repairing/restoring set of rocking chairs for his girlfriend’s mother. The slats are nailed to the frame and it will be hard to get them out without damaging the slats. I have included a picture here:

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the nails out without wrecking the slats?

5 replies so far

View Rich's profile


5136 posts in 1193 days

#1 posted 05-02-2017 01:44 AM

That’s a tough one. You clearly can’t go after the head of the nail, since the slat would be damaged. You can try prying the slat up by going in underneath it where it’s nailed to the cross piece.

I’d recommend a small pry bar. They sell them at the big box stores and most hardware stores too. The size to look for is about 6 inches long. You also might need to put a good chisel grind on the end too, to help get it to slide in between the slat and the support. Give it a try on one of the slats to see if it looks like it’s going to work.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View EugdOT's profile


305 posts in 1159 days

#2 posted 05-02-2017 01:50 AM

A small pry bar used for trim, could be used under the slats to gently work them free, or a osolating fine tool could be used underneath to cut the nails under the slats

View BlasterStumps's profile


1494 posts in 1044 days

#3 posted 05-02-2017 02:04 AM

If he is just removing the slats because it would make it easier to strip the paint, I would try a paint stripper on the chairs before trying to take them apart. If it is hardwood and they used something like a ring shank nail, probably nothing short of dynamite will get them apart. I think you will tear up the chair. If a smooth nail, well there is a chance.
Some paint strippers today are pretty good and non-toxic.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View LittleShaver's profile


609 posts in 1224 days

#4 posted 05-02-2017 01:01 PM

I’ve done quite a bit of refinishing/restoring/salvaging over the years. If it were me, I’d avoid trying to pull the slats loose if at all possible. Yes, it’s a little tedious to clean up the edges of the slats, but it can be done. I’d also consider what final finish he’s going for. If it’s a repaint, then the clean up standard can be quite a bit lower. This piece looks to be oak that was painted when it was raw wood. Cleaning out all the pores is challenging at best. This piece would be a re-paint in my shop. Get all the loose stuff off, smooth out anything left, prime and paint.

-- Sawdust Maker

View ArtMann's profile


1462 posts in 1420 days

#5 posted 05-02-2017 02:40 PM

I have reworked a straight chair similar to that and I found the slats to be very easy to remove with a pry bar. You have to be gentle to prevent damage. When reinstalling the slats, I would use brass screws instead of nails. I completely disassembled the chair because most of the joints were loose.

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