Nail Jack & Nail Hunter - Review
We consider nail pulling to be one of the deepest hells of construction, and that's why we're pretty interested when a new tool comes along that might make the process a little easier. Enter the Nail Jack and the Nail Hunter, both from Nail Jack Tools. Can these funky looking pliers give a little relief in the nail removal department? We tested them pretty extensively in order to find out.
The two tools are identical except for size, so while we used them both out quite a bit, for the purpose of the review, we're just going to clump them together under the term "Nail Jack." In reality, the Nail Jack is the larger of the two, measuring 11" while the Nail Hunter is 8-1/2".
As far as looks go, it's a hybrid between a set of end cutting pliers, and a cat's paw. But there are a number of smart design choices that make this tool particularly useful. First off, the handle is offset from the business end of the tool. This, combined with the rounded heel of the pliers, makes for a very easy prying motion once a nail is clamped in the jaws. The inside of the jaws are also concave so you can easily catch the head of a nail. In addition, the tips of the pliers come to a sharp point and the rear of the head is made to take a hammer hit so you can dig the pointed end around a flush nailhead.
Nail pulling usually requires a different tool for whatever circumstance you're facing. If you're pulling finish nails out of the back of a piece of casing, you'll grab the end-cutting pliers; if you're taking apart some framing, you might opt for the old-fashioned cat's paw; but if you're removing clapboards, you might reach for the old-old fashioned nail pullers with the sliding shaft (they work great by the way, if you were wondering). From what we can tell, the Nail Jack is the only nail pulling tool that is successful in all of these situations and more actually.
We did a massive de-nailing of the garage and the Nail Jack worked great across the board. The tip of the tool is precise enough not to mar a finished surface too badly and it was also rugged enough to handle gun-fired framing nails. And we haven't even mentioned staples yet. This tool is a very, very good at removing staples. We took up a rug and had to deal with the stapled down pad and this tool paid its way with just that one project.
But there are some drawbacks to consider. First, the handle is a little awkward. Particularly after repetitive use, we found that we would end up hunched over the thing working some heavy carpal-tunnel action. It's sort of funny that the handle offset, which is one of the great things about the tool, is also one of the things that didn't work for us. Along the same lines, the handles are spring loaded, which is great when we were working the field of carpet staples, but it prohibited us from putting the Nail Jack in our tool belt.
Overall, though, we have to say that the Nail Jack is probably the most successful multi-purpose nail puller that we've used. So there's not only the feel-good story of Nail Jack buying the Irwin factory, but the tools actually work too.
We think that most people could get by with the smaller of the two models, the Nail Hunter, but if you think you're going to be using it on framing a lot, you might want to consider the 11" Nail Jack.
The Nail Hunter goes for about $25 and the larger Nail Jack costs around $30. It's pricey for sure, but we think it's well worth it.
8.5" Nail Hunter at Amazon.com
11" Nail Jack at Amazon.com
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 13, 2009 5:06 AM