I am building a built-in that uses walnut ply boards for the seating/TV area. I tried to position the board you see but now it's stuck. The left side is sticking out 0.25" more than the right.

stuck board

I'd like to pull the board out without damaging the finish so I can sand/cut some of the material away to make more room, but with both hands and gloves, I cannot budge it.

What options do I have to remove the board?

  • 3
    I bet you'd be surprised at just how effective percussive maintenance would be in this context :-) Stuff that's "too tight to move" is a regular, nearly ubiquitous, situation in woodworking and the solution is traditionally to hit one or more of the workpieces with a hammer (making use of a protective block usually) or a mallet (sometimes still using a protective block, which argues strongly in favour of it being better to have selected a hammer in the first place).
    – Graphus
    Mar 8, 2021 at 8:52
  • Stuck vs. really stuck. It seems that means stuck is possible to remove and really stuck is impossible to remove?
    – Alaska Man
    Apr 15, 2021 at 17:16

3 Answers 3


Bow it up in the center, this should reduce the overall length allowing you to pull it free. Another person or two would help - have a hand at each end of the board, and pull up on the center. Hopefully the board is flexible enough to wiggle out. You may be able to use clamps to substitute people holding onto the board and a clamp in "expansion mode" to bow the board upwards.

If not, I would hammer it gently from below from one of the sides, this way any damage to the finish would be on one side only. Then if you shorten the board a little to make it not such a tight fit you could remove said damage.

  • 2
    +1. In case you might like to edit this in as a means to your suggested end, many makes of F-clamp or quick clamps can now have one head removed and then reinstalled backwards to convert to a spreader clamp. Perfect for lifting the middle of the board if the ends are stuck fast.
    – Graphus
    Mar 8, 2021 at 9:04
  • +1 Thank you very much for your suggestion! I tried it, but unfortunately it did not work for me. The way the board was clamped (all along its length and both short sides), it didn't allow for enough bowing to help matters.
    – sscirrus
    Apr 13, 2021 at 22:56

If the hand method suggested in the answer from Eli Iser does not work, consider to lightly clamp (with pads) each end to the frame underneath. The purpose of the clamps is not to tightly attach it to the frame but to prevent lifting.

Create simple wedge shaped shims from scrap wood with a short taper at the front and an extended flat portion for the remainder of the length, which should match the width of the board to be lifted.

Tapping in the wedge shims will lift the center while the loose clamps hold the ends down, providing the bowing suggested in Eli's answer. Once bowed, one clamp can be fully released, allowing the entire board to be lifted free.

wedge shim

It may be necessary to create a more-gradual taper on the first set of wedges to be inserted, followed by a more-abrupt taper to get sufficient lift overall.

  • "The purpose of the clamps is not to secure it to the frame but to prevent lifting" . But isn't that just what it is doing, preventing it from lifting by securing it to the frame? "while the loose clamps hold the ends down" Careful releasing a loaded clamp.
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 7, 2021 at 23:41
  • thanks for the heads-up. edited for clarity
    – fred_dot_u
    Mar 8, 2021 at 1:01
  • +1 Thank you for your suggestion! I tried Eli's method first, but when it didn't work I decided to chip away at the little part of the wood structure underneath that was clamping on the board the most. I removed about 1mm of material and that allowed it to pull free.
    – sscirrus
    Apr 13, 2021 at 22:57

I eventually solved the problem by chipping away at small part of the wood structure underneath where it was tightest. This gave it just the 1mm of space needed to be able to pull the board out.

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