Staples and paper clips need to be removed when they are rusty, when pages are photocopied or sewn into a pamphlet binder, and when the fasteners are damaging the materials. Removing staples and paper clips without damaging the paper can be fast and easy when the right tools are used.
The traditional double-jawed staple remover can be extremely damaging to paper materials. The staple remover grips the bridge of the staple and forcibly pulls the legs out of the paper.
If the paper is thin or weak, it often tears before the staple is open. When the stapled papers are thick or strong, they will resist the force of the staple remover until the legs of the staple are partially open. The great force exerted to force the staple partially open can damage the paper as can removing a partially open staple.
Using a specially beveled tool called a staple extractor or a common oyster knife, staples are easy to remove without damaging the paper
- Working from the back side of the staple, slip the beveled edge of the staple extractor under each leg of a closed staple and lift each leg up gently.
- Turn the materials over and slip the beveled point of the staple extractor under the bridge of the staple.
- Lift the staple straight out of the paper.
Staple extractors can be purchased from most book repair supply houses and less expensive oyster knives are available where kitchen utensils are sold.