Favorite DIY tool: the cat’s claw nail puller
With all the DIY projects I’ve done I have accumulated a nice collection of tools. I often think about which tool is my favorite and I keep coming back to the same answer: The Cat’s Claw!
This is not a common tool and it actually goes by many names: cat’s claw, cat’s paw, or a bunch of brand specific nail puller names. My dad introduced me to this tool when doing some early demo on the house and I have been amazed by not only the durability, but how many applications where this tool has been a life saver.
First here is a description of what it is. A cat’s paw is at the simplest a nail puller, much like the nail pulling end of a hammer, but the in this case it comes to sharp points. This is useful when you need to pull out nails that have been hammer flush to the wood. The inside of the edges are also sharp which allows you to pull out nails that have lost their head. The other end can vary. Sometimes it is another straighter paw or it may form a flat sharp edge which is great for prying off wood such a trim.
The man who built our house didn’t have a good eye for detail, but he made sure everything he built was very very well put together. When it came time to pull up the slate in our kitchen and bathroom, the only thing that worked was the cat’s paw. We tapped the flat end under the edge of the slate tiles and popped them off one by one. I also relied on this tool when removing the jigsaw of subfloor pieces he used under the slate and securing with adhesive and hundreds, if not thousands, of small finishing nails.
My original cat’s claw had the flat prying end and was very useful, but my only complaint was that it was small. So I bought a second, larger one which I use anytime I need to remove drywall. I can pull the nails without breaking up the dryway which allows me to remove everything in larger, CLEANER, pieces.
Here are the two cat’s claws that I own. Both are extremely durable, made from drop forged steel. The hammer will probably give out before these do.
The price might seem a little steep, but these are the type of tool that will always be in your toolbox and probably last well beyond your DIY days. If you bought a house and plan on doing a great deal of renovation than I suggest you pick one of these up. I sure wish I’d gotten mine sooner.
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