Pros: Strong but lightweight, forged, heat-treated high carbon steel construction, beveled edges, tight spots
Cons: Sometimes too small for the really big jobs
Those of us with experience as DIY Home Improvement/Repair guys know that sometimes before something beautiful can be created, that which was there before has to be destroyed. The really big jobs can be great fun and a natural stress-reliever as you locate your target and have at it with a 24" or 36" wrecking bar. Unfortunately, for most of us non-professionals opportunities to have this much fun and stress relief come along only once in a very long while. It's not that I don't find any number of projects that need a little wrecking done. It's just that they need only a little wrecking, careful controlled wrecking that clears the project area nicely, but doesn't let the carnage spill over into adjoining areas. These projects call for some self-control and a wrecking tool that help you practice it. I rely on my Stanley Wonder Pry Bar - 12 3/8 inch.
My experience with Stanley Tools Pry Bars goes back about 35 years when as a very young cash-strapped newlywed I purchased my first home, a 100 some-odd year old antique farmhouse in Stamford CT, that might politely be called a "fixer upper". Located in the very posh part of town we desired, it was the only home in the area we could afford. Major renovation was going to be needed and this novice DIYer was going to have to learn to do the work. I acquired a fair collection of Stanley Wonder Bars and FatMax Wrecking Bars in a very short while.
Stanley Wonder Pry Bar - 12 3/8 inch
As the name would suggest, this Stanley Wonder Bar is 12 3/8" long. The bar is made of forged high carbon steel and is contoured (see product image) such that it provides maximum prying and ripping leverage for its size. The ground polished claws are 1 ¾" and are notched with nail pullers on each end. The hooked end gives you approximately 3" of depth. This depth makes gently prying moldings without either destroying the molding or the wall fairly easy. At just short of 1 lb. the bar gives you the feeling of just enough heft to do the job but is not fatiguing at all in use.
When our kitchen faucet was recently found to be leaking and needing replacement, I also realized that the laminated particle board base below the sink had become saturated and compromised. There were visible signs of mold if the familiar odor was not enough of a clue. Clearly, the base had to be removed, treated for mold and replaced. This is just the kind of job for my Stanley Wonder Bar. It's compact size allowed me to work quickly in a tight space filled with waste pipes from the sink, garbage disposal and dishwasher as well as a the garbage disposal unit itself and a steaming water unit. Working quickly under the sink was also important for me since my claustrophobia often kicks in when I'm working in tight quarters.
With the beveled edge of the hook I was able to pry the moldings on top of the base very quickly. In a few spots, positioning the claw then tapping with a hammer allowed me to get behind some still tight fitting molding strips and pry them away from the wall. Since the actual base was water-logged and compromised, a few strikes with my hammer was all that was necessary to begin the destruction process. From this point the hooked claw was able to clear most of the shelf out. The remaining sections of the base and base supports were easily pried and cleared using the long curved end of the bar.
Although the beveled tips of this Wonder Bar are reasonably sharp, I find that they can never be sharp enough. A good grinding on my bench grinder produced a very keen edge that permits easier insertion of either end of the bar.
For the DIYer working in tight quarters, the Stanley Wonder Pry Bar - 12 3/8 inch is a must have tool. I highly recommend it.