Knowledge Centre

What are Nails

In woodworking and construction, a nail is a pin-shaped object of metal (or wood, called a treenail or "trunnel") which is used as a fastener, as a peg to hang something, or sometimes as a decoration.[1] Generally, nails have a sharp point on one end and a flattened head on the other, but headless nails are available. Nails are made in a great variety of forms for specialized purposes. The most common is a WIRE NAILS.

Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer, a pneumatic nail gun, or a small explosive charge or primer. A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally. The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or clinched after driving to prevent pulling out.

As the name implies, wire nails are formed from wire. Usually coils of wire are drawn through a series of dies to reach a specific diameter, then cut into short rods that are then formed into nails. The nail tip is usually cut by a blade; the head is formed by reshaping the other end of the rod under high pressure. Other dies are used to cut grooves and ridges. Wire nails were also known as "French nails" for their country of origin.[11] Belgian wire nails began to compete in England in 1863

Diffrent Types of Shanks & Dia

Part Type Abbr. Remarks
Heads Flat Counter-Sink Cs For nail concealment, light construction, flooring, and interior trim
Gypsum Wallboard Dw For gypsum wallboard
Finishing Bd For nail concealment; cabinet-work, furniture
Flat F For general construction
Large flat Lf For tear resistance; roofing paper
Oval O For special effects; cladding and decking
Shanks Smooth C For normal holding power; temporary fastening
Spiral or Helical S For greater holding power; permanent fastening
Ringed R For highest holding power; permanent fastening
Points Diamond D For general use, 350 angle; length about 1.5 x diameter
Blunt Diamond Bt For harder wood species to reduce splitting, 450 angle
Long Diamond N For fast driving, 250 angle; may tend to split harder species
Duckbill Dh For ease of clinching
Conical Con For use in masonry; penetrates better than diamond

Size Charts for Nails

Birmingham wire Gauge BWG Standard wire Gauge SWG
6 BWG 0,203 5,16 6 SWG 0,192 4,88
7 BWG 0,180 4,57 7 SWG 0,176 4,47
8 BWG 0,165 4,19 8 SWG 0,160 4,06
9 BWG 0,148 3,76 9 SWG 0,144 3,66
10 BWG 0,134 3,40 10 SWG 0,128 3,25
11 BWG 0,120 3,05 11 SWG 0,116 2,95
12 BWG 0,109 2,77 12 SWG 0,104 2,64
13 BWG 0,095 2,41 13 SWG 0,092 2,34
14 BWG 0,083 2,11 14 SWG 0,080 2,03
15 BWG 0,072 1,83 15 SWG 0,072 1,83
16 BWG 0,065 1,65 16 SWG 0,064 1,63
17 BWG 0,058 1,47 17 SWG 0,056 1,42
18 BWG 0,049 1,24 18 SWG 0,048 1,22
19 BWG 0,042 1,07 19 SWG 0,040 1,02
20 BWG 0,035 0,89 20 SWG 0,036 0,91
Penny Size ( USA ) Length (Inches) Length (Nearest mm)
.75d 3/8" 9.5
1d 1/2" 12.5
2d 1 25
3d 11/4 32
4d 11/2 38
5d 13/4 44
6d 2 51
7d 21/4 57
8d 21/2 65
9d 23/4 70
10d 3 76
12d 31/4 83
16d 31/2 89
20d 4 102
30d 41/2 115
40d 5 127
50d 51/2 140
60d 6 152


  • Box a wire nail with a head; box nails have a smaller shank than common nails of the same size
  • Bright no surface coating; not recommended for weather exposure or acidic or treated lumber
  • Casing a wire nail with a slightly larger head than finish nails; often used for flooring
  • CC or Coated "cement coated"; nail coated with adhesive (cement) for greater holding power; also resin- or vinyl-coated; coating melts from friction when driven to help lubricate then adheres when cool; color varies by manufacturer (tan, pink, are common)
  • Common a common construction wire nail with a disk-shaped head that is typically 3 to 4 times the diameter of the shank: common nails have larger shanks than box nails of the same size
  • Cut machine-made square nails. Now used for masonry and historical reproduction or restoration
  • Duplex a common nail with a second head, allowing for easy extraction; often used for temporary work, such as concrete forms or wood scaffolding; sometimes called a "scaffold nail"
  • Drywall a specialty blued-steel nail with a thin broad head used to fasten gypsum wallboard to wooden framing members
  • Finish a wire nail that has a head only slightly larger than the shank; can be easily concealed by countersinking the nail slightly below the finished surface with a nail-set and filling the resulting void with a filler (putty, spackle, caulk, etc.)
  • Forged handmade nails (usually square), hot-forged by a blacksmith or nailor, often used in historical reproduction or restoration, commonly sold as collectors items
  • Galvanized treated for resistance to corrosion and/or weather exposure

    • Electrogalvanized provides a smooth finish with some corrosion resistance
    • Hot-dip galvanized provides a rough finish that deposits more zinc than other methods, resulting in very high corrosion resistance that is suitable for some acidic and treated lumber;
    • Mechanically galvanized deposits more zinc than electrogalvanizing for increased corrosion resistance

  • Head round flat metal piece formed at the top of the nail; for increased holding power
  • Helix the nail has a square shank that has been twisted, making it very difficult to pull out; often used in decking so they are usually galvanized; sometimes called decking nails
  • Length distance from the bottom of the head to the point of a nail
  • Phosphate-coated a dark grey to black finish providing a surface that binds well with paint and joint compound and minimal corrosion resistance
  • Point sharpened end opposite the "head" for greater ease in driving
  • Pole barn long shank (2 1⁄2 in to 8 in, 6 cm to 20 cm), ring shank (see below), hardened nails; usually oil quenched or galvanized (see above); commonly used in the construction of wood framed, metal buildings (pole barns)
  • Ring shank small directional rings on the shank to prevent the nail from working back out once driven in; common in drywall, flooring, and pole barn nails
  • Shank the body the length of the nail between the head and the point; may be smooth, or may have rings or spirals for greater holding power
  • Sinker these are the most common nails used in framing today; same thin diameter as a box nail; cement coated (see above); the bottom of the head is tapered like a wedge or funnel and the top of the head is grid embossed to keep the hammer strike from sliding off
  • Spike a large nail; usually over 4 in (100 mm) long
  • Spiral a twisted wire nail; spiral nails have smaller shanks than common nails of the same size