How to Choose the Right Nail


Nails are used for making permanent joints. Choose among different types of nails for different applications.

Things You'll Need

  • Boat Nails
  • Finishing Nails
  • Form(ing) Nails
  • Masonry Nails
  • Wire Nails
  • Box Nails
  • Common Nails
  • Concrete Nails
  • Drywall Nails
  • Hammers
  • Roofing Nails
  • Tack Hammers
  • Choose common nails for heavy-duty wood construction. Box nails are smaller and typically are used in woods that splinter easily.

  • Select finishing nails for trim and cabinetwork. These nails are usually countersunk with a nail set.

  • Secure drywall to wood with drywall nails.

  • Use boat nails for fences, outdoor furniture and, of course, boats.

  • Remove forming nails easily. They have two heads and are designed for temporary use.

  • Hold fabric to furniture and carpet to furring strips with tacks.

  • Prevent rusting and hold shingles on with galvanized roofing nails.

  • Consider wire nails for very light jobs. These are measured by wire gauge rather than pennyweights (the higher the number, the smaller the gauge).

  • Use masonry or concrete nails in masonry and concrete.

Tips & Warnings

  • Nails are measured in pennyweight and designated by a "d" for denarius, the ancient Roman equivalent of a penny. Nails were at one time priced by the hundred. Today the "d" simply indicates the nail's size: a 2d or "2-penny" nail is 1 inch long, a 6d nail is 2 inches long, and a 10d nail is 3 inches long.

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