Cat’s Paw or Nail Puller

By Robert Robillard on Tool Reviews

Cat’s Paw the PURRfect tool for nail removal

Someone recently asked me how to remove a few rotted boards from his deck. I suggested using a cat’s paw to which he looked at me with a puzzled expression, and said, “a what?”.  I was referring to a nail puller but I’ve always called it a cat’s paw.   I wondered why.

An Internet search on the definition of cat’s paw yields;

Cat’s Paw To be made a cat’s paw of, i.e. the tool of another, the medium of doing anothers dirty work. The allusion is to the fable of the monkey who wanted to get from the fire some roasted chestnuts, and took the paw of the cat to get them from the hot ashes.

A cat’s paw or “nail puller” is a round or hexagonal steel tool that curves at one end to form a pointed, cup-shaped tip with a V-slot for gripping nail heads. You hold the tool’s shank with one hand and drive the claw around a nail head with a hammer.

When the V-slot is firmly seated around the nail’s shank, you rock the bar back to raise the head and then finish pulling the nail with the hammer’s claw. The cat’s paw, also called a nail puller, is invaluable for demolition work but, because it tears up the wood around the nail head.

This is not a tool to used for finish work.

Now that we took care of what a “cat’s paw” is, I wonder why they call a pry bar a “crow” bar???

~ concord carpenter

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzzr As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising-the-bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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