In engineering, woodworking and construction, a nail is a pin-shaped, sharp object of hard metal, typically steel, used as a fastener. Nails for specialized purposes may also be made of stainless steel, brass or aluminium.
Nails are typically driven into the work piece by a hammer or by a nail gun driven by compressed air or a small explosive charge. A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength in lateral directions. The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or clinched to prevent it from pulling out.
Nails are made in a great variety of forms for specialized purposes. The most common type of nail is a "wire nail". Other types of nails include "pins", "tacks," "brads" and "spikes."
Types of nail include:
Most countries, except the United States, use a metric system for describing nail sizes. A 50 x 3.0 indicates a nail 50 mm long (not including the head) and 3 mm in diameter. Lengths are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
USA uses a similar system except nail lengths are given in inches.
United States penny sizes
Nails are usually sold by weight (either in bulk or in boxes). In the US, the length of a nail is designated by its penny size. It is commonly believed that the origin of the term "penny" in relation to nail size is based on the old custom in Englandof selling nails by the hundred. A hundred nails that sold for six pence were "six penny" nails. The larger the nail, the more a hundred nails would cost. Thus the larger nails have a larger number for its penny size. This classification system was still used in England in the 18th century, but is obsolete there.
The penny size is written with a number and the abbreviation dfor penny (e.g. - 10d). Dis an abbreviation for denarius, a Roman coin similar to a penny; this was the abbreviation for a penny in the UKbefore decimalisation. A smaller number indicates a shorter nail and a larger number indicates a longer nail. Nails under 1¼ in., often called brads, are sold mostly in small packages with only a length designation (e.g. ½" (12 mm), 11⁄8" (28 mm), etc.). In boxes of nails that are packaged for pneumatics nails are called 8 penny nails but have a length of 2-3/8. Some 16d nails are called 16d short and measure 3-1/4". Penny size is not always directly correlated to length because nails with larger shanks and shorter lengths will be the same weight as the standard penny designation.
penny size length (inches) length (nearest mm)
2d 1 25
3d 1¼ 32
4d 1½ 38
6d 2 51
7d 2¼ 57
8d 2½ 65
9d 2¾ 70
10d 3 76
12d 3¼ 83
16d 3½ 89
20d 4 102
30d 4½ 115
40d 5 127
50d 5½ 140
60d 6 152
· Electrogalvanized- provides a smooth finish with some corrosion resistance
· Mechanically galvanized - deposits more zinc than electrogalvanizing for increased 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; often easier to bend than other types of nails