Get Nailed

Do you have a job that requires nails and you’re not sure what type to buy?  I know, just take a look in the hardware section of your local hardware store sometime.  The types and sizes available can be overwhelming.  Although, if you idle in front of the bins long enough, that cute guy working on Aisle Six may just walk over to see if you need help.

But, if there is no cute guy on Aisle Six, or if you’re in a hurry, here are some hints on buying the right nail for your job.

Common or box nails are used for framing jobs.  Good for putting up a new wall, not so hot for putting up dry wall. 

Roofing nails have a big old head on them – perfect for shingles or for jobs where the material might tear if the nail head is too small.  If you’re looking for roofing nails, the hot-dipped are better than electro-plated galvanized.  They just last longer.

Casing and finishing nails have small heads.  They’re good for medium and heavy-duty finishing work.  For example, attaching molding is best done with a finishing nail.

If you’ve got some fine work, use a wire brad or spiral nail.  The spiral nail grabs more wood and holds tighter than conventional nails.

Before you nail anything, make sure the nail will not poke through the materials you’re fastening together, or that the nail is too big for your joining task.  A quick measure first will save you heartache later. 

Now here’s a cool tip about common, box and finishing nails.  Check out the tip of the nail and you’ll see that it’s not symmetrical.  In fact, the end is diamond-shaped, not square.  If you start the nail so the flatter side o f the diamond is parallel to the grain of the board you’re nailing, the chances of splitting the wood are lower than if you start the nail with the flat side against the grain.

Another hint – buying nails in bulk is less expensive and you won’t have a whole bunch of nails you don’t need hanging around the garage or in the basement.

Well, I hope this has helped.  Be sure to check back in a few weeks and learn how to get screwed!