There are over a dozen styles
of nails, and
they are available in sizes ranging
tiny tacks to huge spikes. Nails
that rely on friction to keep
them in place,
so they should be used to secure
forces that are across the length
nail rather than along its length.
a greater diameter provides greater
however, care must be taken not
the material into which the nail
and the wider the nail, the more
need to pre-drill the hole before
(when pre-drilling, be sure to
drill a hole
smaller than the nail in order
to be friction to hold the nail
The size of nails is designated by the term
"penny" (abbreviated "d").
Some claim that the term indicates the nail's
weight as "pounds per thousand."
For example, a twenty-penny nail (20d) weighs
.02 pounds. Others say the term refers to
how much 100 nails use to cost -- 20d would
mean you could get 100 nails for 20 cents.
Since nails are generally proportional in
shape, a 20d nail, which has a length of
four inches, is thicker and longer than 10d
nail, which has a length of three inches.
When picking nails, consult with a size chart
to make sure you get the length you want.
Below is some more information on the more
common types of nails:
Box nails are thinner gauge nails (made from
thinner wire) used in applications where
splitting wood is likely with a thicker common
nail. They have a full, round head.
These nails are used where the nail head
must be hidden. They have small heads and
smaller diameters than common nails. Casing
nails have a conical head, sometimes cupped,
and are somewhat thicker than a finishing
nail. They are sometimes sold already painted
and are used to attach trim.
A general purpose nail for construction
A nail with a large, very thin head for securing
wall panels and drywall.
These nails have a very small head and a
slight indentation in the center. They used
most commonly when you want to hide the nail
(the small head allows it to sink into the
wood (called countersinking) and the indentation
facilitates using nailset tool). Used typically for trim and molding,
but because of its common availability and
neat appearance, they are frequently used
for other purposes such as hanging pictures.
The hardest of nails, made of steel to hammer
in concrete (yes, you can nail into concrete).
As the name implies, roofing nails are used
for roofs because of its extra large head
to hold down shingles; also usually has a
water resistant coating.
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