How to Remove Buried Nails from Wood

Nails that are left in a piece of wood after construction can be difficult to pull out. They have been pounded into the board and they may go down deep enough so that you cannot reach them with your fingers or pliers.

One way to get rid of these pesky pieces is by using a hammer, but there is an easier way: use water! Simply soak the nail for five minutes in warm water, then try pulling it out with your hands or pliers.

  • The grip will loosen as soon as it starts drying up again and this makes it much easier to pull out. If this does not work, wait until the nail dries up completely before trying again. This method works best on new lumber, but can also be used on old wood.
  • Another way to remove buried nails is by using a pry bar or claw hammer. Gently insert the pry bar under the head of the nail and lever it up. The nail should pop out easily.
How to Remove Buried Nails from Wood
  • If the nail does not come out, try wiggling the pry bar back and forth until it loosens. You may also need to use a little bit of force to pull the nail out. Be careful not to damage the surrounding wood.
  • If all else fails, you can always drill a hole next to the nail and use a screwdriver or pliers to pull it out. This method will likely damage the surrounding wood, so only use it as a last resort.
  • Drill a hole that is slightly smaller than the diameter of the nail. Insert the screwdriver or pliers into the hole and twist until the nail pops out.

You may need to use a little bit of force to get the nail started, but be careful not to damage the wood further.

Once you have removed all of the nails, sand down the area to smooth it out. If there are any large holes left behind, you can fill them in with wood filler or putty. Once everything is smooth, you can stain or paint the wood as desired.

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What to do if the buried nail breaks while taken out from the wood?

You can’t just walk away if you’ve struck a nail while hammering. This is because the nail has left an indent in the wood, and in order to remove it from there, you’ll need to take out the nails from both sides of the wood.

You must also be careful not to break off any more of your precious lumber than necessary when trying to pull out a stuck nail.

If you are having difficulty removing this particular type of nail, here’s what you should do:

  • If the nail is sticking out of the wood, use a claw hammer to grab hold of the nail and pull it out.
  • If the nail is buried in the wood, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to grab hold of the head of the nail and pull it out.
  • If the head of the nail has broken off, use a screwdriver to pry out the remaining piece of metal.

After you have successfully removed the nail from the wood, you can proceed with your project.


Removing buried nails can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and methods, it can be done. We have provided you with a few different ways to remove nails that are buried in the wood, so you can choose the method that works best for you.

Be careful not to damage the surrounding wood when trying to remove the nail and always use caution when using any type of tool. After removing the nail, sand down the area and fill in any large holes left behind. You can then stain or paint the wood as desired.

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