HomePallet TutorialsDIY Pallet Video TutorialsRemove Cut Nails Using Simple Center Punch/Nail Setter

Remove Cut Nails Using Simple Center Punch/Nail Setter

  • 1 pallet

  • easy

  • 1h

  • $6

Here's a simple way to Remove Cut Nails using a nail setter/center punch. This means NO expensive power or air tools! All you need is a hammer and the punch.

Remove Cut Nails Using Simple Center Punch/Nail Setter - it's a great, multi-purpose money-saving tool!

Today I'm going to show you a quick and inexpensive way to remove nails from wood that have been cut during the dismantling process. This most commonly happens when you cut pallets with a reciprocating saw or Sawzall saw. You'll need a couple of sizes of nail setters/center punches, but they're very reasonably purchased. The best part is that these tools will do double-duty when you want to recess a nail (such as in pallet blocks), or get a nail head to sit flush without causing hammer dents. You'll find many uses for these handy tools when woodworking!

What's the difference between a Nail Setter and a Center Punch when you want to Remove Cut Nails?

There's not a lot of difference functionally if you're using a flat-tip punch or setter just to remove cut nails. However, it is important to know!

Nail setters tend to have either a flat tip or a concave/cupped tip to prevent splitting the nail head.

Punches can range from a flat tip to pointed tips. They're used to create a starting hole for drill bits, screws, or to create a hole in wood or sheet metal.

Some center punches are automatic - you don't need a hammer to use them.

Safety tips when you Remove Cut Nails:

  •  NOTE: ALWAYS use safety-rated eye protection when using nail punches/setters. There is the remote possibility of metal fragments chipping from the hammer or the tool.
  • Always strike punches with a ball peen or sledgehammer.
  • Discard any punch that is bent, cracked or chipped.
  • Never use a nail set as a punch.
  • Discard any nail set that is bent, cracked, chipped or shows excessive wear.
  • Never use a nail hammer to strike a cat’s paw. The face of the hammer is too small and could chip. Use a ball peen or a small sledgehammer instead.


Remove Cut Nails simply and effectively with a set of nail setters or center punches. You can even buy them used.
You can purchase good-quality sets for under 10 bucks, or you can frequently find them used for as little as 10 cents apiece!
Color coded sets of nail setters / center punches are even more convenient to Remove Cut Nails.
Color-coded center punch or nail setter sets are handy. You can find them easily in a little container in your toolbox or tool cart.


Turn an abandoned cart into a Mobile Salad Garden - great tip for those wheeled, folding shopping carts that don't roll so well anymore. Make a cozy corner Pallet Lounge Set now that you've dismantled all of those pallets.

Editor's note & budget-friendly tip: you can FREQUENTLY purchase these used at swap meets / garage sales for pennies on the dollar. Your administrative assistant bought approximately 20 of them for two dollars - 10 cents apiece at a swap meet. Happy Palleting! - H.S.

Bio: Been tearing pallets apart since 2013... read more

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