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Nailing Your Way To Better Woodwork

Feb 3, 2008
Although nails are not the only way to hold two pieces of wood together, they are by far the most popular. Nails are essential in most woodworking enterprises and especially in home building. It would be quite a challenge to raise a roof without a few boxes of nails. However, depending on how much holding power you need, you might require different varieties of nails. There are basic nails whose heads show when you hammer them in, and more elegant nails that you use for finishing a project where you do not want the head to show. Here are a few types of nails in greater detail.

Common nails are exactly that - by far the most common. These are the nails that you probably visualize in your head when you think of nails. They are straight pieces of metal with a flat head on one side and a pointed tip on the other. The flat head makes the nail easy to hit with a hammer and the pointed tip makes the nail enter the wood more smoothly. Common nails are the ideal nails for hammering into plywood, two-by-fours, or particle board. They pretty much do almost any woodworking job you might want to do, except perhaps going into finished wood. This brings us to our next type of nail.

Casing nails are more invisible than common nails. They are ideal for hammering into finished surfaces because their heads will not be revealed. Casing nails work well on molding or cabinets - basically anything that the human eye can see. Casing nails are less unsightly than common nails and so they work best in these prominent settings. Another type of nail that can be used for finer work is the finishing nail.

Galvanized nails are immune to rust. They are great for outdoor projects like sandboxes and doghouses. They can be exposed for long periods of time to rain, snow, and other elements, and not oxidize. Rusty nails are especially unsightly because they stain the wood they are in. Galvanized nails also have a very sturdy shank that you would be hard pressed to bend. Another nail that does not rust, but that is much softer than a galvanized nail, is an aluminum nail. Aluminum nails are for specialized tasks like mounting lights in a pool. You should only use them if your current project specifically calls for them.

Nails do not always have to have a point on one end. There is a variety of nail called pointless, that is simply flat on one end. When hammering it in, it is less likely to split the wood you are working with. Pointless nails are great for fragile, showy wood like moldings and trim.

Nails are not the only kind of fastener that woodworkers use. You can also use screws, bolts, or even glue. You should always have a wide variety of latches and fasteners to choose from, because your needs will always change with your projects. However nails are your best old standby.
About the Author
Greg Hansward frequently pens informative papers on topics related to portable air tanks and car air compressors. His publications on portable air compressors are published on his website .
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