Nails - the basics
Most of us don't think much about nails, until we get one in our tire. Then we want to know how it happened, and who was responsible for it being in the road.
This type of fastener is one of the most common you'll find, and it's been around for many years. There are just about as many applications for this fastener as there are types to be had.
The intention of this discussion is to familiarize you with the various types of nails that you might come across.
Knowing what they are will help you make a good selection when it comes time to use them.
First, let's look at what we're really talking about. These fasteners are short pieces of wire with a head and a point. That's it. The head is used to drive the fastener, and the point is it's leading edge. That's the quick and dirty explanation.
There are different ways to drive these things, and there are different designs, diameters, lengths and types of heads, but essentially, we're talking about a wire with a head and a point.
I'm not going to address all types, but just the most commonly used of these "driven wire" fasteners.
Common is one type. As you might expect, it's common, and used mainly in construction for framing and sheathing. Chances are, most of the nails you have ever used have been common.
Spike is any of the very large nails, sometimes 10 to 16 inches in length. They are also up to a half an inch in diameter. A bit more like a rod than a wire. They are used for putting timbers together.
Roofing is one of the short galvanized varieties with a broad head. It's doesn't need much penetration depth, but it needs to be able to hold onto tar paper, rolled roofing and shingles with the large head.
Concrete is aptly named for this fastener is meant to be driven into concrete. They are usually fairly short with a shiny round shaft. If you have a carpet tack strip fastened to your poured concrete basement floor, chances are good that this type of fastener was used to secure it in place.
Ring Shank get their name from the ridges on the fastener that are oriented perpendicular to the shaft. There might be 20 to 30 tiny ridges/rings on each fastener. These rings grab the wood and make it very difficult to remove.
Cement types are not to be confused with concrete. These fasteners aren't meant to be driven into cement, but rather they have a cement coating on the outside that bonds the fastener to the material into which it's driven. The cement can be a rough milky substance or it can be a green or brownish substance coating the entire fastener.
Finish denotes a type with a very small head that can be driven just beneath the surface of the wood so you don't see the fastener at all.
That's about it for typical varieties of nails. They seem to be everywhere, but they aren't all the same - unless you pick one up in your tire, then they're all regrettable. Each one is different because it's used for a specific application.
Done with Nails, back to Do It Yourself