Review: Dead on Tools Exhumer
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There are two things that I loved about the Dead On Tools Exhumer right from the start: The name, I mean “Exhumer” just sounds pretty cool, and the aggressive skull and crossbones logo that is emblazoned on the side. It’s hard not to feel like a bad a$ when you have this thing hanging in your tool pouch.
The above being said, there is really only one thing I use the Dead On Tools Exhumer for and that is the “exhumation” of nails. Although I’m sure you could find other things to use it for, I haven’t really had much luck with other tasks. Both the short length and the design of the claws work as a disadvantage when trying to use this tool as a pry bar. It usually is too bulky to fit into the space you need and if the tool will fit, the short length of the tool does not allow much leverage pry with. I’ll get on to the design of the tool below and a few small other uses will pop up.
I have currently have three Dead On Tools Exhumers in my tool collection, two of them are 8” models, which I believe came as an addition to a tool pouch and one “Exhumer 9” model. They main difference of each model is the length of the tool, the 8” models are just marked “Exhumer” and are right at 8” long, while the “Exhumer 9” is slightly longer and thicker, measuring in at a little over 10.5 inches. Both are cast out of one piece of S-5 grade steel, which is designed to hold up to the shock and impact from a driven hammer.
Very similar to a multi-tool, the Dead On Tools Exhumer incorporates, or tries to incorporate several features in its design.
The first being its two claws at each end of the tool, one parallel to the shaft while the other one sits perpendicular. Produced as the main element of the tool, these claws are the reason they named it the Exhumer. The design allows the Dead On Tools Exhumer to wedge itself down into the substrate, usually wood, and encircle the head of a nail even if it’s been driven below the surface.
Also included in the tool is a nail extractor that is built into the shaft of the tool. A small u-shaped notch, this extractor allows you to use the rounded end of the claw as a lever, helping to reduce the necessary force you need to apply to remove a nail.
Another feature that comes built into each model of the Dead On Tools Exhumer is a small hammer face on the backside of the perpendicular head. This face should work well to lightly set a nail or tap something down, but you’re not going to be doing any powerful driving with it.
Have a circular saw you use quite often? The Dead On Tools Exhumer also comes with a wrench to change out saw blades. I have never needed to use this feature, but it is a hex wrench head located on the side of the perpendicular claw head and seems like it would work just fine as long as the wrench fit that particular saw….
Lastly, located just below the circular saw wrench is a bottle opener. Again, this feature is one that I have never used, but it looks like it work just fine for opening bottles. It’s definitely a lot stronger than you standard kitchen model!
While some of the features may seem somewhat gimmicky, I give kudos to Dead On Tools for trying to think outside the box and include attributes that, while not necessary, might come in handy for some. Other elements aside, this is my go to tool for nail removal. This is especially true if I am trying to “exhume” a nail without causing much damage to the material around the nail. There is no getting around the fact that removing nails can be intrusive, the design of the tool and the claws help to minimized the destruction.
Even though uses are limited, for the cost it’s definitely worth purchasing at least one.