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Problem removing old nails?????

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Forum topic by msinc posted 04-09-2018 02:24 AM 1798 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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msinc

567 posts in 924 days


04-09-2018 02:24 AM

I have some 120 year old cypress beams that were given to me. It is my intent to re-saw them into more usable lumber and make some things out of it. The problem comes in with old nails in the beams. Not too many, but they are there. For the most part the nails are basically rotted away to the surface. The few that did stick up immediately broke off flush when I tried to pull them. The nails, or what’s left of them seem to have become extremely very hard, probably so did the cypress. Not sure what the best “plan of attack is going to be here. They are valuable beams as they came out of an old lighthouse that was demolished, so they have some historic value. My grandfather was on that lighthouse when he was in the Coast Guard, so some degree of sentimental as well.
If I try to “relieve” the wood around them with a tiny drill bit that might work, but then I loose wood and open up a hole. But at least they will not get hit by a saw blade. Or, I could opt for a “sacrificial” blade or two…..any ideas or solutions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any info!!!!


20 replies so far

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000

2859 posts in 1320 days


#1 posted 04-09-2018 02:28 AM

deleted
I didn’t read properly, that you were re-sawing them.

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Aj2

2321 posts in 2219 days


#2 posted 04-09-2018 02:44 AM

Sounds like some nice wood I would just cut thru them with a Lenox bimetal blade.http://www.lenoxtools.com/pages/classic-bi-metal-band-saw-blades.aspx
Hopefully you have a bandsaw big enough to tension a .035 blade.

-- Aj

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Klondikecraftsman

52 posts in 473 days


#3 posted 04-09-2018 02:48 AM

Hopefully the bandsaw will get through the nails. 120 years ago they could have been any size. You will have to watch the tracking of your blade in the beams for deflection that could mess up some of your planks.
Make sure you have eye protection! Please post before and after pictures of your beams and some of the sawn lumber. Good luck!

-- It is a sin to covet your neighbor’s wife, but his woodpile is fair game.

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TheTurtleCarpenter

1053 posts in 1487 days


#4 posted 04-09-2018 04:02 AM

You can take a plug cutter an drill around the nail and then plug it with some of the same material using a larger plug cutter to make the plug with. The best nail puller are the antique ones.

-- "Tying shoelaces was way harder than learning to Whistle"

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TheFridge

10858 posts in 1907 days


#5 posted 04-09-2018 04:26 AM

I’d buy some cheap blades and run it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Ripper70

1291 posts in 1329 days


#6 posted 04-09-2018 04:43 AM


I could opt for a “sacrificial” blade or two…..

- msinc


I think this is your best approach. If the wood in question is weathered and worn the embedded hardware will provide even more character should you decide to preserve the reclaimed nature of the wood in whatever you decide to use it for.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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msinc

567 posts in 924 days


#7 posted 04-09-2018 11:58 AM

Thanks a million for all the replies so far. I will post some photos before and after. It is unbelievable how hard these things got. They feel like carbide.

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BoardButcherer

144 posts in 515 days


#8 posted 04-09-2018 08:45 PM

Here’s how I would do it to save myself a lot of grief. It’s not cheap but it’s low labor and will probably save the most wood.

Grab a tube of 3m Scotch weld for metal. Yes, it will cost around $15 an ounce. The stuff is liquid gold and yes, it’s worth it.

Grab some thread inserts that are just big enough to slip over the nails.

Use a dremel or something easy to clean out around the nails, and scotch weld the inserts onto the end, leaving ample thread for you to insert something from the top.

put a screw/bolt in the top of the insert and use a slide hammer to yank the nail out. If you don’t have a slide hammer, scotch weld a new nail in the top and use a hammer big enough to rip the nail in two to pull it out, because if you bought the right scotch weld, the nail will rip in half before the epoxy does.

You shouldn’t have a problem with the old nail breaking if you get in the wood a bit where it’s likely less timeworn and also if you’re pulling on the entire surface area of the nail through the adhesive bond.

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runswithscissors

3052 posts in 2446 days


#9 posted 04-12-2018 11:25 PM

I have had good luck using a long-nosed vise grip, after excavating enough around the nail to be able to grab the end. You will still have holes to deal with, but I don’t see how you can avoid that.

Another take on the problem: do these nails go all the way through the wood? If so, using a appropriately sized nail set or punch, drive them right on through and then remove. When I’m replacing trim using the old material, I pull the finishing nails on through from the back, rather than trying to drive them out, which invariable chips the surface wood.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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robscastle

6223 posts in 2625 days


#10 posted 04-13-2018 01:16 AM

Opps almost got me!
Comment deleted. ...usual reasons.

-- Regards Rob

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robscastle

6223 posts in 2625 days


#11 posted 04-13-2018 01:23 AM

.

-- Regards Rob

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 924 days


#12 posted 04-13-2018 04:47 AM

I am going to try “all of the above”...there are definitely some good ideas on here, thanks a million to all that posted info. As always, it is greatly appreciated. I cant just drive them thru at this time, the wood is actually 3 beams that are 7 foot long, 8 inches wide and 4 inches thick. I honestly don’t know how long the nails are. I also really don’t know the diameter as what I can see appears to be rusted down to a fine point. If I can do the resaw with a sacrificial blade I can probably drive them thru at that point. I still intend to try removing them using the other methods suggested. Even if I don’t get them all I will have a better idea about the diameter and the hardness deeper in the wood.
I will definitely post photos and give a report on what happens.

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Aj2

2321 posts in 2219 days


#13 posted 04-13-2018 05:14 AM

I don’t understand why you just don’t cut through them and leave the wood unmolested. And bimetal blade is m42 Hss steel just like a sawzall blade. Even those little 6 inch long sawzall blade with cut wood with nails in it for a good half a day.
I would love to see your planks after you get them sawn sounds like some neat stuff.

-- Aj

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runswithscissors

3052 posts in 2446 days


#14 posted 04-16-2018 02:56 AM

Rocker has a small hole saw intended for screw removal. In their catalog.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 924 days


#15 posted 05-08-2018 03:22 AM

I would like to post an update on this thread. Today was the first time I had to mess with one of these beams. I used a “sacrificial” blade on my table saw to cut the first beam down. I tried a bandsaw blade but it was very quickly ruined. In this beam the nails were such that I was able to drive them out with a punch once I got the beam cut down into rough size for making the picture frames.
First thing I did was take the prints I need matted over to Michael’s and was put into a state of shock!!! 5 prints that are like 17”X22” will cost me almost $1100.00 to have them double matted, the glass cut and the backing applied. Every time I go to have something done I end up saying “I am in the wrong business”....
Will post some follow up photos of the beams before and after the re-saw. I have never worked with cypress before and I was surprised to see how much it is like pine wood. To the point that I started to wonder if I just had some southern yellow pine…but, a quick “google images” and I saw wood that for certain looked exactly like what I have here. One thing confusing, on wiki they said in one area of the article that cypress is an “odorless” wood. A few paragraphs later they were talking about these guys that found an underwater forest of 50,000 year old cypress trees that “smelled just like a freshly cut down tree” when they brought some of them up and milled them.
My question is, does cypress have an almost pine like odor when you cut it or no? I belt sanded a side of one of these beams when I first got them and there really was no smell, but now that I have cut into the center of the beam there very definitely is a smell to the wood.

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