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Nail Pullers and Removing Metal from Reclaimed Lumber

nail puller piles 2

Nail puller [neyl pool er] 
1. One who pulls nails.

Pulling iron from our reclaimed lumber is one of the most important jobs here at Crossroads. A lot of our wood is remilled on site and due to the expense and time involved in keeping the milling blades sharp, making sure the wood is metal free is important.

Armed with a hammer, cat’s paw, crowbar, and a White’s metal detector, a nail puller will spend hours insuring a unit of wood is free of iron, along the way he will also be trimming out damage and grading the wood.

The two piles of nails represent a day of nail pulling. The larger of the two piles was created by a two man team working on 4”x12”x21’ beams. In the course of 8 hours they metal detected 80 of these beams, that’s 6,720 board feet of material. There is a lot of heavy lifting and use of 4’ crowbars when working on these 21 foot long beams.

The smaller pile was just one man metal detecting 2x decking material. Over 5 hours he cleared 1500 board feet of wood. Most of the metal was pulled with a hammer and cat’s paw.

These units are fairly direct and not difficult items to get nail free. It simply takes close attention and hard work.

On the other hand there are times when our nail pullers run into broken off nails, screws or bolts. We even find bullets and other unusual metals buried in our old wood. We have had times where it took 2 men 2-1/2 hours to clean a 10x12x20’ which is 120 BF in 5 man hours. That is slow going and one reason reclaimed wood costs more than new lumber.


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PO Box 928, 58500 Hancock Way
North Fork, CA 93643
Phone 559-877-3645
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