Over the last few months, I've been developing an appreciation of the utility and functional beauty of certain tools. Some are pretty basic, like the screw, their inventors unknown but still worthy of thanks. Others are basic, but surprisingly, their inventors known, such as the Phillips head screw. Either way, many's the time I find myself yanking nails or trimming a joint and pausing to give thanks to someone who had a flash of insight that is saving me some labor.
So, here's to the genii at the Crescent tool company of Bridgeport, makers of the #56 Suregrip nail puller. I love this tool.
You open up the sharpened, parrot-like jaws and place them on either side of the nail head. The handle slides up and down on the shaft, and you use that to whack the jaws down into the wood; they pinch on either side of the nail. The shorter arm then rests against the wood while you yard on the longer arm, pulling the nail out. It's beautiful and inspired because it doesn't matter if the nail head breaks off (which happens an awful lot with our house's 1930's nails), the harder you pull, the harder the tool grips the nail. Genius.