9 Tips and Tricks for Using Your Pry Bar
Make sure you're using your pry bar properly!
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Lift Heavy Stuff With a Flat Pry Bar
If you’ve ever had to remove a solid-core door, you know how heavy they can be. Lifting them up to reinstall hinge pins can be a challenge if you’re working alone, but a flat pry bar (AKA a flat bar) can give you just the leverage you need.
If your flat bar won’t raise the door high enough, install a small block of wood at the fulcrum point of the pry bar to increase the lifting distance. Hold the block in place with a small screw and washer. Make sure the screw doesn’t poke through. If it does, grind off the end so it won’t damage the floor.
This same setup can be used to raise bottom drywall sheets off the floor for fastening.
Double Up on Stubborn Nails
Nails can be a pain to remove, especially trim nails with small heads, and any nail when the head breaks off. The trick is to use two tools together: locking pliers to grab the nail shank, and a pry bar to do the pulling.
Makeshift Trench Tool
An idea came to mind: Why not mount the pry bar on an old hoe handle I had in the garage? It worked great!
Remove Trim with Minimal Damage
Pull Drywall Screws
Instead, use a pry bar or your hammer claw to pull them out just like you would with nails. Drywall screws are brittle, so if some joker used 3-in. screws to install the drywall, snap them off with your hammer. When you’re ready to hang drywall again, check out how to drive drywall screws like a pro.
John Keeble/Getty Images
Difficulty Moving Furniture Through a Door?
Buy a Small Molding Bar
A small molding pry bar with a wide, sharp blade is good for removing smaller trim and for starting to pry off larger pieces of trim. These little pry bars have the advantage of fitting easily into your tool belt. Of course, you’ll probably also need a medium-size pry bar for removing large trim or wide baseboard.
The pry bar shown here is made by Stanley and called a precision molding bar.
Pry Against Studs When Removing Baseboard
If you pry against the wall where there’s no stud, the pry bar might just go right through the drywall. You can avoid this problem by prying only where studs are located.
To find studs easily, look for the nails along the top of the baseboard. These are usually driven into studs so prying above them should be safe. If you can’t spot any nails through the paint, reach for the stud finder.
Have You Heard of an Inflatable Pry Bar?
Pry bars are great for lifting windows, appliances or cabinets to level them. But they’re also great at leaving scratches — and sometimes you need three hands to lift, align, level and shim all at the same time.
The AirShim Inflatable Pry Bar & Leveling Tool solves all that. This 6- x 6-in. bladder inflates with the squeeze of a bulb, up to about 2-1/2-in. thick. Push a button to deflate it. The manufacturer says each can support 300 lbs. There’s also a Pro XL model that can handle 500 lbs.
They’re handy for lifting appliances to adjust the leveling feet or lifting one end of a cabinet to slide permanent shims into place. You can also use them in pairs to level windows and doors during installation.