Throughout the years, the nail has had a long development starting from the first blunt, square-cut piece of iron. The old-school cut nail had a rectangular cross section and a taper from a flat head to a blunt point. You might remember it as the horseshoe nail. It is still made, but nowadays it is carefully designed.
Today, there are numerous other types of nails, each one made to do a certain job better than the others.
The wire nail bears a circular cross section, without a taper. This is normally used for indoor projects, and it is available in a lotof sizes and shapes, with and without heads.
The common flathead nail is employed for most rough work. Generally, the head of the nail you choose depends on the hardness of the wood and the chance of the head’s working through. Huge flatheads are finest for soft materials: fiberglass, top masonite, shingles, and the like.
The finishing nail has a small head and is employed for more uses than any other.
The box nail is thin and can likewise be used for rough work.
The brad has almost no head in the least and is used for work that’s to have a good finish. Normally the heads are countersunk under the surface of the stock.
Nails having decorative heads are also used for fine work and upholstery, where the head is a function of the decoration. These heads might be oval-shaped, or they could have a decorative design.
A double- or duplex-headed nail has two heads, one over the other. These are utilized for work that should be disassembled afterwards. The extra head remains above the stock and can be grasped by the clutches of a claw when the nail will be removed.
Special nails are created for all purposes. Masonry nails are particularly hardened. Nails for riveting are tempered or softened. Hardened aluminum are used for rust-proof outdoor nails. A nail having a slotted head is designed to be removed with a screwdriver. Boat builders use a copper clout nail for outdoor jobs. A lead-capped nail is watertight when used on metal roofing. A dowel pin has a roughened edge to grasp it in joints.
In addition to variants in their heads, nails vary at their points. In general, theduller the point, the lesser the danger of splitting the wood. Actually, where the danger is eminent, the end of the nail might be clipped with a pair of pliers or otherwise dulled. Blunt points appear on cut nails (some floor nails and shingle nails). These tend to avoid wood from splitting because they cut their way through wood fibers. All the same, blunt-pointed nails don’t hold as well as sharp nails.
A duck-bill point is used on clinching nails to diminish the danger of breaking. As the name implies, the point is shaped like a duck’s bill, having one edge not tapered.
Diamond points come to a sharp point quickly. Long diamond points narrow to a sharp angular point with a diamond cross section, which has a distance equivalent to about three diameters. They’re used for parquet flooring, hinges, plaster boards, and the like. Easier compared to most nails to drive, they also give great holding power.
The needle-point nail has a similar taper, but it has a circular cross section to the end. These are cheaper to construct from wire and are used on all small brads. The needle point holds best in softwoods but offers more danger of splitting than a diamond point.
A chisel point, nearly a two-sided point, is used on boat spikes and for paneling.
Another difference in nails happens in the shank. The holding power of a nail departs directly with the amount of area in contact with the wood. Hence, some nails are made to have a maximum outside area. A square shank has more area than a round one. Some shanks include grooves and spirals, and even barbs, to afford them more holding power. Other nail shanks are etched or coated. Etching triples the holding power of nails in soft or hard woods. Cement-coated nails would hold from 75 to 100 per cent stronger in softwoods than would uncoated nails.
© 2011 Athena Goodlight