Crescent Nail Puller Details

Crescent brand Nail Puller Number 56 Sold by Used Anew


  • Length: 19" - 24" Fully Extended
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs


  • Drop forged alloy steel jaws and neck.
  • Box joint keeps jaws in perfect alignment.
  • Cast iron handle.
  • Black enamel finish.

Price: $39.95

Used Anew Review: Let’s be clear. The Crescent Forged Alloy Nail Puller #56 is not a tool you will be likely to pick up and get the hang of the first time you use it. It’s likely it will feel awkward and sloppy and you might even get a little exasperated trying to get the jaws to stay open just enough to capture the nail head. Although one of our guys did ‘get it’ pretty quickly, everyone else, (including me!) has had a bit of a learning curve to get the technique down pat. 

Once we got the hang of it, though, the nail puller became the ‘go to’ tool for embedded nails you can’t get out any other way. 

One jaw is fixed, while the other will open as wide as is needed to capture the head of the nail. If the head is missing, you may still be able to get a grip on the remaining shaft. The handle acts as a slide hammer. Once you have the jaws positioned where you want them, you pull the handle back and slam it forward to embed the jaws in the wood under the nail head. As you pull downward on the handle, the jaw foot will press against the board, locking the jaws tightly on the nail shaft. Continuing to pull down, lifts the jaws away from the board levering the nail along with them. The handle can be pulled all the way back on the slide to increase the leverage on tough to pull nails.

After using the Crescent Nail Puller a few times, you begin to get a feel for how hard (or how many times) you need to slam the handle forward to capture the nail. Softer woods or weathered boards require a gentler approach than hardwoods, which may require a number of blows to get the jaws deep enough to grip the nail. We’ve found that angling the tool a bit so that the corners of the jaws dig in first can really help get under nail heads in hard lumber, better than going at it straight on.

The Crescent Nail Puller is not the only tool you’ll need in your denailing arsenal, but it will be one you come to rely on repeatedly. When denailing lumber that is already off the building, we’ll use a variety of other tools first and will grab the Crescent Nail Puller when the others won’t do the trick.

But here’s where the Crescent Nail Puller really shines! When removing fragile wood from the building, if prying boards off shatters or splits what might otherwise be valuable lumber, pulling the nails first can be a much better option. It will be slower than prying or battering the boards off, but you will save a much higher percentage of usable material. After all, our objective is to preserve as much wood as possible for reuse. If we only wanted to get the building torn apart quickly, a bulldozer would be the tool of choice! That said, we can remove siding almost as quickly with the Crescent Nail Puller as we would by prying the boards off, then denailing them once they’re down.  We’ve used the Crescent Nail Puller to remove fragile haymow floor boards and lap siding too, preserving as much as 95% of the lumber where we might have gotten only 50% by another method.

We’ve heard that there are other nail pullers similar to the Crescent, available. In fact, we purchased a used one on ebay awhile back. Sadly, the design was not as good as that of the Crescent Nail Puller and we found ourselves favoring the Crescent. Eventually, we retired the other one and replaced it with another Crescent.

There are drawbacks and limitations to the nail puller. I would not use it for nails where the head is up high enough to get hold of with a flat bar, hammer claw or other extractor because it’s never going to be as fast on the easy-to-get nails. While the jaws will grip a headless nail shaft that you can get hold of, they will slip off of some shafts embedded in hardwood or plywood, that you can’t get a deep enough grip on. Frankly, we haven’t found a good solution for those nails yet!  Finally, if the wood surface is hard enough to require several blows of the slide hammer, it is likely to noticeably scar the wood at the point of impact.  Still, the damage is generally neglible when compared to other removal methods like cat claws or chisels. We tend to make a judgement call in these cases, generally preferring to live with some damage rather than destroy the entire board!

We currently have one Crescent Nail Puller for each member of our deconstruction crew and find them to be one of the most essential tools we have in our arsenal.  -  © Used Anew, LLC 2013