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#405 - Frank Lloyd Wright Renovations

Featured Tool - Pry bar

Three out of the four Frank Lloyd Wright homes we previewed on this show were undergoing major renovations. The most challenging part of renovating historic homes such as these is finding the materials that were used when the homes were built or coming up with a newer version that looks the same. However for many of us, the challenging part of our renovations is often the demolition!

This week we are featuring the basic demolition tool: the pry bar. The pry bar dates back to the cave people - it's all about leverage. In the next few weeks you will see us using different sizes of pry bars as we remove a couple of walls, countertops, and cabinets as we renovate a kitchen and a bedroom.

If you are going to reuse materials that are being removed, then take care during the demolition phase of the project. Best to tap the end of the pry bar just enough to get it in between the surfaces you want to separate and then gently push on the other end of the bar. Don't over do it, though - once there's a slight separation, tap the bar in further and push. Repeat by moving the bar slightly to one side or the other of the area and again tap and gently push. As soon as you can determine where the nails (adhesive or other fasteners) are, that's where you really want to apply more pressure. Both ends of the pry bar are usable and in many cases instead of pushing, you will be pulling on the bar - it's one of those things that you will just have to get the feel for. If needed, place a thin piece of wood or a wide-bladed putty knife under the pry bar to protect the surface from being damaged.

An important part of demolition is removing debris from the work site as quickly as possible. Leaving debris lying around is an accident waiting to happen. (Also, remove all protruding nails and screws.)

Here's what our staff carpenter, Jeremy Wright, has to say about pry bars: "Flat bars, pry bars and nail pullers (cat's paw) come in many different sizes. Some are big enough to require two hands to hold them. Some are small enough to fit in the side pocket of my tool bag. But they can be some of the most versatile tools I own and I am able to utilize them somewhere everyday on the job."

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