All that you wanted to know about finish nails

Nails are used in carpentry and manufacturing and there are huge variety of nails that are manufactured to meet various kinds of requirements.  Nails are not only differentiated according to its use but also differ in looks. Some have large heads while some others have small heads, some have straight finish while there are angle finish nails too. Nail materials also vary according to the use. Stainless steel nails, copper nails and galvanized steel nails are commonly used although aluminum is also used in some places.  Nail that is used in disguise is perhaps the best way to describe finish nails. The reason for using this type of nails is to hide its presence from viewing because these are used in finishing work. Finishing nails are generally made from stainless steel and due to its tiny size the diameter and head size is also very small.

It looks different

Nails are nails no doubt, at least if it is considered from its functional perspective of fastening pieces of wood or other similar materials.  The most distinguishing feature of finish nails is the head, which remains enclosed within wood surface. The head is barrel shaped and small with a distinct dimple on the top. This has been done to facilitate it being driven deeper so that it remains invisible.


Selecting finishing nails

There are some specific parameters that drive the selection of finish nails. The first and foremost requirement is its ability to stay concealed. As a thumb rule, the length of finishing nails has to be three times the thickness of the wood piece for which it is being used. This ensures that there is proper fastening.  The other parameters of selection are size of nails, thickness of the nail shank length of nail and head diameter.

Uses of finishing nails

Since nails are mostly used for carpentry work, finishing nails are no exceptions. It is used for making cabinets, furniture, moldings and paneling. It is also used for small jewelry boxes where aesthetics is an important consideration. That finishing nails can be used without being seen is the reason why it is used at such places. A wood frame house uses about 20,000 to 30,000 assorted variety of nails on an average, including finishing nails.

Nail measurement

The standard unit of measuring the length of nails is penny and it is represented by ‘d’.  The smallest length is 2d which is equal to 1 inch or 2.5 cm.  Between the sizes 2d and 10d, the incremental value for every penny is 0.25 inch or 0.64 cm. the unit of measurement dates back to the eighteenth century England when a hundred nails were available for a penny.

Since finishing nails are used for finishing work and the purpose is to hide it, care has to be taken when fixing these nails. Hammering mindlessly can leave a mark on wood and this would defeat the purpose of concealment. The right way is to drive the nail up to some depth and then finally using another nail placed on its head to hammer it deep down.

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