I'd like to insulate ceiling under the small attic-like part of the house. The problem is, that from the inside, long nails have been driven through the wood planks of the ceiling, protruding into the space between the roof and the top side of the ceiling - including the very restricted space between the angled roof part and the angled ceiling, making it impossible to install the vapor barrier:

Angled ceiling, roof, nails

Green is the planned insulation - sorry, drawing not to scale... How could I cut these nails without demolishing the ceiling itself?

What I thought about: have a thin enough angle grinder and construct an attachment that would allow it to slide stable, and guide the nails and support the grinder physically - and add a contraption that allows the whole thing to be moved from the attic. Additionally, I could add my $10 endoscope cam for some sights in the space.

Crazy angle grinder contraption plan

Note: the disc would be spinning "away" from the attachment, so it would not pull the nails toward the machine itself, but the other way: it would be pushing the thing away.

Is there something better?

EDIT: I wonder how much force is required to operate this:

snipper with a ratio

  • 3
    watch for sparks that will start fire
    – Traveler
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 7:52
  • 2
    Why not just find the nails using a magnet or metal detector and pull them? Replace with screws or adjacent nails of proper length to avoid the protruding. Might need to so some mudding after, but that seems a lot easier than remotely piloting an angle grinder.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 12:30
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    How much space is there in inches/cm/feet? Sparks in a tight space with very dry wood and dust is not good. Cutting/snipping or bending would be much safer.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 13:31
  • 1
    How much space is there for tools? If access were available, cutting ordinary (not hardened) nails with a diagonal gutter is not difficult. Likely not worth the effort of building, but a hydraulic tool like a tonsil snare might be made: 4.bp.blogspot.com/-9PHML_TSSOc/TwWjMnt3C5I/AAAAAAAAADs/… Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 15:58
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    As suggested by others here, why not bend over the protruding nails? Perhaps just pushing a 2x4 or 4x4 down between the surfaces would be sufficient to bend over the nail ends.
    – Armand
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


I agree that a suitable mechanical nipper is safer and possibly more effective than a power tool.

Or you could just cleat down the nail points?

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