Today’s post is coming at you from Dave, who spent the last two days prying nails out of the hundreds of baseboards we removed from our walls.
I’ve got a brief run-down of how last week went:
Day 1: Awwwwww yeah, fixing up our new house so we can settle in!
Day 2: Hmmm, there are a ton of baseboards to take out, and they all have little nails in them…
Day 3: Oh my God, the nails.
Let me give you some advice: if you’re thinking of keeping your baseboards after a flooring change, punch that idea square in the face.
If you must be a masochist, get prepared for more banging, pulling and cursing than you’d find at a carpenter’s house (think I was going somewhere dirty with that, you filthy devil?). Since this was my first time with such a task, I’m guessing there may be an easier way, but I started with a hammer, a ramshackle adjustable sawhorse and all the boards filled with nails in the known universe.
You see, what’s annoying about this job is the need to hammer the pointed ends of tiny, flimsy nails until the top part is far enough out the other side to be pried up with the hammer’s prongs. After mere minutes, each board starts to look like this:
On a side note, this came up when I Googled “iron maiden”:
Despite my growing hatred for the task, I was slowly transforming into a nail-removing machine. My mental process became a programmer’s code, and the transcript of my brain waves likely read: “Hit nails. Flip board. Pull nails. Flip board. Hit nails. Flip board. Pull nails. Next board. Hit nail. Error: Nail bent. Error. Anger. Hit nail. Hit nail. Hit nail. Program failure.”
That’s right – being the aforementioned flimsy nails – hitting at the wrong angle or with the wrong amount of force (which varied from nail to nail) could bend a nail right in the middle with no hope of pushing it out the other end. After some thinking, I used needle-nosed pliers to straighten the nail and then hold it with the pliers while I hit it, an idea that made me feel like an absolute genius.
Other times, I just flattened the nail into the wood like a furious caveman.
In addition to the nail bending problem, there was also the problem of nails sometimes shooting out of the boards with a velocity of 300 meters per second in whichever direction brought them closest to my face.
Did I also mention that I was doing this in a hot garage? I’d swear the combination of the heat, the repetitive task and the cruel laughter of the nails made me feel as though I was in a terrifying cartoon from the 1930’s.
Long story short, rather than succumb to nails-induced madness, I finally fulfilled my arduous duty, sending all those metal pins to an early grave and setting the boards aside to be cleaned, painted and filled with nails again.