If you’re removing trim and you want to re-use it, you don’t want to damage it by trying to pry out the finishing nails with a claw hammer. So you pull the nails through the wood rather instead. There’s only one problem with this technique: it’s tough. You need a good grip on the nail, and then you have to muscle it out without the benefit of the prying effect of a claw hammer. After a few of these you’re ready to pack it in.
So here’s an easier way. Grip the nail with a gripping tool, such as cutters, and then slide the claws of your claw hammer under the jaws of the cutter. Then pry up with the claw hammer.
The nail should come up easily, with less strain on you.
Space it right and save
If your decking or flooring material is thick enough, you may not need to space your joists at 16″ on center. On the other hand, maybe the material’s not strong enough to span a full 24″. How far apart should your joists be?
Your first guess might be 20″. After all, it’s right between 16 and 24. But if you think about it, the actual distance should be 19.2″. This way, the sixth joist is exactly 8′ o.c. from the first, and so on, which lets you fit standard materials perfectly.
An emergency concrete screw
If you’re all out of anchors or those special screws for concrete, but you need to get a job done fast, try this. Drill a hole in the concrete, stick in some stranded copper wire (still in its insulation), and screw in a wood screw.