Put an old plastic spatula under the head of the hammer when trying to remove a nail. It protects the wood and is easy to find in your toolbox.
I keep a 2" - 6" piece of old leather belt in my toolbox - Place it between the wood and the hammer and it protects the wood very well - I also use it to not scratch plumbing fixtures and pipes - just wrap it around the pipe and put your wrench onto it instead of the pipe. Lets you loosen or tighten the pipe without damage to the pipe's finish.
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