Can anyone please help me identify what the fixing below is and how to remove it?

Four of them attached a wooden gate post to the side of a masonry wall. The wooden post is gone - it was rotten so came off with a crow bar. Now I'm left with these and they're very firmly embedded in the wall. Some have half broken off due to rust. There doesn't seem to be any screw or nail in the middle but maybe there is one and it's deeply embedded inside.

enter image description here

4 Answers 4


I believe that is called a spring pin anchor or express nail

express nail

To remove it, I'd try these:

Channellock 357

or any nail puller.

Spraying some Liquid Wrench or other light lubricant might make it easier to pull out, but also slippery to hold onto, and might make an oily rusty stain.

  • 1
    I'd go for crushing it with locking pliers and then twisting with them for a removal attempt.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 16:56

Cutting it with a hack saw and then using an angle grinder should work.

  • Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Although this is interesting, this doesn't really answer the question. Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 15:27
  • But, each of the other answers also answered the explicit question, "what is this?". Someone downvoted you (not me); I'm suggesting why this might be so. Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 19:15
  • Oh OK I missed the first part of the question. You should also downvote me for such mistake
    – baba
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 4:29
  • 1
    I don't think that's necessary (and whoever downvoted you has removed that themselves). You're new, and learning: keep learning and contributing. Thanks. Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 11:09
  • Maybe he/she hasn't removed the downvote but someone would have upvoted me that why it not negative now
    – baba
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 11:11

batsplatsterson is correct, it is a hollow express nail, and made from very hard spring steel. If it can't be wrestled out by gripping and turning back and forth with a pipe wrench (or similar), then I've removed them by drilling a hole immediately adjacent to the fastener with a masonry bit. Be a bit careful if you go next to the slot with the drill bit, it might snatch if the drill bit hits the slot itself.

Once the new hole is approximately the same depth as the fastener (not likely to be more than 3" (75mm) deep), tap the fastener across into the new hole. Use a cold chisel and hammer and hit the fastener where it exits the wall. Don't just hit the top of it might bend or snap.

You'll still need to tap it back and forth to work it free.

Once it's out, blow out the dust and use a suitable mortar to fill the hole or a sealant in a pinch.


It looks like the sheath of some type of concrete wall anchor. I second an angle grinder, though you could also try cutting the flare off and pounding it into the wall.

enter image description here

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