Quick Tip to Make De-Nailing Reclaimed Wood Easier




Introduction: Quick Tip to Make De-Nailing Reclaimed Wood Easier

About: i am an artist and musician. i make things of use out of things that no longer have use. i think the hip term is "upcycling." i post a lot of inspirational and entertainment videos on youtube.com/timsway. oc...

There are a lot of different approaches, techniques and tools to use when denailing reclaimed wood. 99% of the time I find myself using a claw hammer and dropping the nails in a bucket. I actually have this great old kitchen island with a sink basin set in (see pic) that is perhaps the best way to quickly collect your discarded nails.

But here's another way you may like:

Watch the video to see this technique in action.

Step 1: Setup!

When doing a lot of repetitive work, a good, ergonomic setup is key. Take the time to get cozy and get everything where you need it to be a one-person assembly line.

Just about everyone knows the easiest way to pick up nails is to "sweep" with a magnet. I have a large speaker magnet I use. Welding magnets are also large and inexpensive. For years I've always kept this magnet on hand when de-nailing to pick up the dropped, then it dawned on me:

Step 2: Put Your Magnet Right Next to Your Hammerin' Hand!

Duh! Instead of pushing the magnet "out of my way" in my "ergonomic" (OCD) setup, I left it right next to my hammerin' hand, so when i pull the nail and it is in the claw, instead of reaching for a bucket or having them float loosely around, I simply bang the nail loose next to the magnet and the magnet does the rest to corral it up for me. Like I said, Duh!

Step 3: Collect!

Now I can simply scrape the nails into my bucket when the magnet gets full. Some people wrap their magnets in a plastic bag so they can pull the bag off the magnet and collect the nails in it. Also a good tip, I just don't like having the plastic bag around. It annoys me.

What to do with the nails? I'll post another Instructable with one idea ;-)

Happy reclaiming!

Be good,




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    13 Discussions

    Put a plastic bag over the magnet and cleaning it will be easier.

    1 reply

    yes! I don't because i don't like to look at it for hours while doing stuff like this ;) thank you -tim

    Nice one mate A very good Instructable...Well done You got my Vote Tim ..

    2 replies

    Great idea... I built a playhouse almost entirely out of reclaimed lumber. I used pallets for the exterior and interior finishes. I used a saws all to remove the slats and left the nail heads in for an aesthetic appeal.

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    2 replies

    That is really cool! You should have posted an Instructable on that! ;)

    beautiful! nice work. sometimes i leave the nails in, too. and sometimes i use nails from my bucket to put them where i want them, for aesthetics. thanks for sharing these pics. it's awesome.

    weigh them in and get some money or straighten them out and use them again!

    1 reply

    i call that jar my "retirement fund ;-)

    I do also use them quite often. thanks man!

    Even the shingles, studs, and plywood were reclaimed from the discard piles at a couple of construction sites and a roofing supply company.