This week’s Ask The Craftsman Question comes from my younger brother Daniel actually.
“How do you get the nails out of crown molding without damaging it?”
Daniel asked me this question over Christmas when I was home visiting our parents. He and his wife were just moving into their first house and I was helping him get some repairs done while in town. When he asked me this I knew immediately it would be a great Ask The Craftsman question!
There is a very simple carpenter’s trick for how to remove nails from molding without damaging your trim pieces. If you haven’t removed the molding yet, just pry it away from the wall not worrying whether you get any of the nails out yet.
Once you have the molding off flip it over and using end cutting pliers, you can easily pull the nails out through the backside.
By pulling the nail through the back, you virtually eliminate the chance of damaging the face of the molding. The heads on trim nails are small enough that they can be pulled out without causing damage. Don’t try this trick with big framing nails, though.
You’ll be left with a small hole that only needs a little wood filler before painting. Easy breezy!
And the great thing is that this technique can be used for any kind of historic trim and molding; crown molding, baseboards, casings, parting bead, window stops.
Thanks for the inspiration, brother, and good luck with the house!