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In
woodworking Woodworking is the skill of making items from wood, and includes cabinet making (cabinetry and furniture), wood carving, woodworking joints, joinery, carpentry, and woodturning. History Along with Rock (geology), stone, clay and animal parts, ...
and
construction Construction is a general term meaning the and to form , , or ,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b. and 1.c. ''Oxford English Dictionary'' Second Edition on CD-ROM (v. 4.0) Oxford University Press 2009 and comes from ''constructio'' (from ''com-' ...

construction
, a nail is a small object made of
metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

metal
(or wood, called a tree nail or "trunnel") which is used as a
fastener A fastener (US English) or fastening (UK English) is a hardware Hardware may refer to: Technology Computing and electronics * Computer hardware, physical parts of a computer * Digital electronics, electronics that operate on digital signals * E ...

fastener
, as a peg to hang something, or sometimes as a decoration. Generally, nails have a sharp point on one end and a flattened head on the other, but headless nails are available. Nails are made in a great variety of forms for specialized purposes. The most common is a ''wire nail''. Other types of nails include ''
pins
pins
'', ''
tacks
tacks
'', ''
brad Brad is a given name, usually a diminutive form (hypocorism) of Bradley, Bradford (name), Bradford or Brady (given name), Brady and generally masculine. It may refer to: People Sports * Brad Anae (born 1957), American football player * Brad Ausmus ...
s'', ''spikes'', and '' cleats.'' Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a
hammer A hammer is a tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tool A stone tool is, ...

hammer
or pneumatic
nail gun 250px, Pneumatic nail gun in use A nail gun, nailgun or nailer is a type of tool A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use simple tools, only hum ...

nail gun
. A nail holds materials together by
friction Friction is the force In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related en ...

friction
in the axial direction and
shear Shear may refer to: Textile production * Animal shearing, the collection of wool from various species **Sheep shearing Sheep shearing is the process by which the woollen fleece of a sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebr ...

shear
strength laterally. The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or ''clinched'' after driving to prevent pulling out.


History

The history of the nail is divided roughly into three distinct periods: * Hand-wrought (forged) nail (pre-history until 19th century) * Cut nail (roughly 1800 to 1914) * Wire nail (roughly 1860 to the present)


Hand wrought

The
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
provides a number of references to nails, including the story in
Judges A judge is an official who presides over a court. Judge or Judges may also refer to: Roles *Judge, an alternative name for an adjudicator in a competition in theatre, music, sport, etc. *Judge, an alternative name/aviator call sign for a member ...
of
Jael Jael or Yael ( he, יָעֵל ''Yāʿēl'') is the name of the heroine who delivered from the army of King of in the of the . After failed to take action at the behest of the prophetess , God turned over to Yael, who killed him by driving ...
the wife of Heber, who drives a nail (or tent-peg) into the temple of a sleeping Canaanite commander; the provision of iron for nails by
King David David (; ) (traditional spelling), , ''Dāwūd''; grc-koi, Δαυΐδ, Dauíd; la, Davidus, David; gez , ዳዊት, ''Dawit''; xcl, Դաւիթ, ''Dawitʿ''; cu, Давíдъ, ''Davidŭ''; possibly meaning "beloved one". is described in th ...
for what would become
Solomon's Temple According to the Biblical narrative, Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was a temple in Jerusalem (: ''Bēṯ hamMīqdāš'') built under King Solomon's reign and completed in 957 BCE. The Temple was looted and then Siege of Jer ...

Solomon's Temple
; and in connection with the
crucifixion Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned killing of a person as punishment for a crime. The sentence (law), sentence ordering that someone ...

crucifixion
of
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
. The
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...

Romans
made extensive use of nails. The Roman army, for example, left behind seven tons of nails when it evacuated the fortress of
Inchtuthil Inchtuthil is the site of a Roman legionary fortress situated on a natural platform overlooking the north bank of the River Tay southwest of Blairgowrie, Perth and Kinross, Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of th ...
in Perthshire in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
in 86 to 87 CE. The term "penny", as it refers to nails, probably originated in medieval England to describe the price of a
hundred 100 or one hundred (Roman numerals, Roman numeral: C) is the natural number following 99 (number), 99 and preceding 101 (number), 101. In medieval contexts, it may be described as the short hundred or five 20 (number), score in order to differenti ...
nails. Nails themselves were sufficiently valuable and standardized to be used as an informal
medium of exchange In economics Economics () is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. ...
. Until around 1800 artisans known as ''nailers'' or ''nailors'' made nails by hand – note the surname Naylor. (Workmen called ''slitters'' cut up iron bars to a suitable size for nailers to work on. From the late 16th century, manual slitters disappeared with the rise of the
slitting mill The slitting mill was a watermill for slitting bars of iron into rods. The rods then were passed to nailers who made the rods into nails, by giving them a point and head. The slitting mill was probably invented near Liège Liège ( , , ; ...

slitting mill
, which cut bars of iron into rods with an even cross-section, saving much manual effort.) At the time of the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
, England was the largest manufacturer of nails in the world. Nails were expensive and difficult to obtain in the American colonies, so that abandoned houses were sometimes deliberately burned down to allow recovery of used nails from the ashes. This became such a problem in Virginia that a law was created to stop people from burning their houses when they moved. Families often had small nail-manufacturing setups in their homes; during bad weather and at night, the entire family might work at making nails for their own use and for barter. Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter: "In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable. I am myself a nail maker." The growth of the trade in the American colonies was theoretically held back by the prohibition of new slitting mills in America by the
Iron Act In American Colonial history, the Iron Act, Short title, short-titled the Importation, etc. Act 1750, (Statute 23 Geo. II c. 29) was one of the legislative measures introduced by the British Parliament, within its system of Navigation Acts, Trade ...
of 1750, though there is no evidence that the Act was actually enforced. The production of wrought-iron nails continued well into the 19th century, but ultimately was reduced to nails for purposes for which the softer cut nails were unsuitable, including horseshoe nails.


Cut

The
slitting mill The slitting mill was a watermill for slitting bars of iron into rods. The rods then were passed to nailers who made the rods into nails, by giving them a point and head. The slitting mill was probably invented near Liège Liège ( , , ; ...

slitting mill
, introduced to England in 1590, simplified the production of nail rods, but the real first efforts to mechanise the nail-making process itself occurred between 1790 and 1820, initially in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
and
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...

England
, when various machines were invented to automate and speed up the process of making nails from bars of wrought iron. Also in
Sweden Sweden ( sv, Sverige ), officially the Kingdom of Sweden ( sv, links=no, Konungariket Sverige ), is a Nordic country The Nordic countries, or the Nordics, are a geographical and cultural region In geography, regions are areas that ...

Sweden
in the early 1700s
Christopher Polhem Christopher Polhammar (18 December 1661 – 30 August 1751) better known as Christopher Polhem (), which he took after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. ...
produced a nail cutting machine as part of his automated factory. These nails were known as ''cut nails'' or ''square nails'' because of their roughly
rectangular In Euclidean plane geometry, a rectangle is a quadrilateral A quadrilateral is a polygon in Euclidean geometry, Euclidean plane geometry with four Edge (geometry), edges (sides) and four Vertex (geometry), vertices (corners). Other names for ...

rectangular
cross section Cross section may refer to: * Cross section (geometry), the intersection of a 3-dimensional body with a plane * Cross section (electronics), a common sample preparation technique in electronics * Cross section (geology), the intersection of a 3-dim ...
. Cut nails were one of the important factors in the increase in
balloon framing upright=1.35, The erection of a wooden frame in Sabah, Malaysia Framing, in construction Construction is a general term meaning the art and science to form Physical object, objects, systems, or organizations,"Construction" def. 1.a. 1.b ...
beginning in the 1830s and thus the decline of
timber framing Timber framing and "post-and-beam" construction are traditional methods of building with heavy Beam (structure), timbers, creating structures using squared-off and carefully fitted and Woodworking joints, joined timbers with joints secured by ...
with wooden joints. Though still used for historical renovations, and for heavy-duty applications, such as attaching
board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting board ** Sounding board, of a musical instrument * Cardboard (paper product) * Paperboard *Corrugated fiberboard *Fiberbo ...
s to
masonry Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by ; the term ''masonry'' can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are , building such as , , an ...

masonry
walls, ''cut nails'' are much less common today than ''wire nails''. The cut-nail process was patented in America by
Jacob Perkins Jacob Perkins (9 July 1766 – 30 July 1849) was an American inventor, mechanical engineer and physicist. Born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Perkins was apprenticed to a goldsmith. He soon made himself known with a variety of useful mechanical inv ...

Jacob Perkins
in 1795 and in England by Joseph Dyer, who set up machinery in
Birmingham Birmingham ( ) is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Ro ...

Birmingham
. The process was designed to cut nails from sheets of iron, while making sure that the fibres of the iron ran down the nails. The Birmingham industry expanded in the following decades, and reached its greatest extent in the 1860s, after which it declined due to competition from wire nails, but continued until the outbreak of World War I.


Wire

Wire nails are formed from wire. Usually coils of wire are drawn through a series of dies to reach a specific diameter, then cut into short rods that are then formed into nails. The nail tip is usually cut by a blade; the head is formed by reshaping the other end of the rod under high pressure. Other dies are used to cut grooves and ridges. Wire nails were also known as "French nails" for their country of origin. Belgian wire nails began to compete in England in 1863. Joseph Henry Nettlefold was making wire nails at
Smethwick Smethwick () is an industrial town in Sandwell, West Midlands, England, historically in Staffordshire Staffordshire (; postal abbreviation Staffs.) is a landlocked Counties of England, county in the West Midlands (region), West Midlands of ...
by 1875. Over the following decades, the nail-making process was almost completely automated. Eventually the industry had machines capable of quickly producing huge numbers of inexpensive nails with little or no human intervention. With the introduction of cheap wire nails, the use of wrought iron for nail making quickly declined, as more slowly did the production of cut nails. In the United States, in 1892 more steel-wire nails were produced than cut nails. In 1913, 90% of manufactured nails were wire nails. Nails went from being rare and precious to being a cheap mass-produced commodity. Today almost all nails are manufactured from wire, but the term "wire nail" has come to refer to smaller nails, often available in a wider, more precise range of gauges than is typical for larger common and finish nails.


Materials

Nails were formerly made of
bronze Bronze is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appear ...

bronze
or
wrought iron Wrought iron is an iron Iron () is a with Fe (from la, ) and 26. It is a that belongs to the and of the . It is, on , right in front of (32.1% and 30.1%, respectively), forming much of Earth's and . It is the fourth most common . ...
and were crafted by blacksmiths and nailors. These crafts people used a heated square iron rod that they forged before they hammered the sides which formed a point. After reheating and cutting off, the blacksmith or nailor inserted the hot nail into an opening and hammered it. Later new ways of making nails was created using machines to sheer the nails before wiggling the bar sideways to produce a shank. For example, the Type A cut nails were sheared from an iron bar type guillotine using early machinery. This method was slightly altered until the 1820s when new heads on the nails' ends were pounded via a separate mechanical nail heading machine. In the 1810s, iron bars were flipped over after each stroke while the cutter set was at an angle. Every nail was then sheared off of taper allowing for an automatic grip of each nail which also formed their heads. Type B nails were created this way. In 1886, 10 percent of the nails that were made in the United States were of the soft steel wire variety and by 1892, steel wire nails overtook iron cut nails as the main type of nails that were being produced. In 1913, wire nails were 90 percent of all nails that were produced. Today's nails are typically made of
steel Steel is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appe ...

steel
, often dipped or coated to prevent
corrosion Corrosion is a that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as , , or . It is the gradual destruction of materials (usually a ) by chemical and/or electrochemical reaction with their environment. is the field dedica ...

corrosion
in harsh conditions or to improve
adhesion Adhesion is the tendency of dissimilar particles In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physic ...

adhesion
. Ordinary nails for wood are usually of a soft, low-carbon or "mild" steel (about 0.1% carbon, the rest iron and perhaps a trace of silicon or manganese). Nails for concrete are harder, with 0.5–0.75% carbon.


Types

Types of nail include: * Aluminum nails – Made of aluminum in many shapes and sizes for use with aluminum
architectural metals Metals used for Architecture, architectural purposes include lead (metal), lead, for water pipes, roofing material, roofing, and windows; tin, formed into tinplate; zinc, copper and aluminium, in a range of applications including roofing and deco ...
* Box nail – like a ''common nail'' but with a thinner shank and head * Brads are small, thin, tapered, nails with a lip or projection to one side rather than a full head or a small finish nail ** Floor brad ('stigs') – flat, tapered and angular, for use in fixing floor boards ** Oval brad – Ovals utilize the principles of
fracture mechanics Fracture mechanics is the field of mechanics Mechanics (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eur ...
to allow nailing without splitting. Highly
anisotropic Anisotropy () is the property of a material which allows it to change or assume different properties in different directions as opposed to isotropy Isotropy is uniformity in all orientations; it is derived from the Greek ''isos'' (ἴσος, ...
materials like regular wood (as opposed to wood composites) can easily be wedged apart. Use of an oval perpendicular to the wood's grain cuts the wood fibers rather than wedges them apart, and thus allows fastening without splitting, even close to edges ** Panel pins * Tacks or Tintacks are short, sharp pointed nails often used with carpet, fabric and paper Normally cut from sheet steel (as opposed to wire); the tack is used in upholstery, shoe making and saddle manufacture. The triangular shape of the nail's cross section gives greater grip and less tearing of materials such as cloth and leather compared to a wire nail. **
Brass Brass is an alloy An alloy is an admixture of metal A metal (from Ancient Greek, Greek μέταλλον ''métallon'', "mine, quarry, metal") is a material that, when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured, shows a lustrous appea ...

Brass
tack – brass tacks are commonly used where
corrosion Corrosion is a that converts a refined metal into a more chemically stable form such as , , or . It is the gradual destruction of materials (usually a ) by chemical and/or electrochemical reaction with their environment. is the field dedica ...

corrosion
may be an issue, such as furniture where contact with human skin salts will cause corrosion on steel nails **
Canoe A canoe is a lightweight narrow , typically pointed at both ends and open on top, propelled by one or more seated or kneeling paddlers facing the direction of travel and using a single-bladed . In , the term "canoe" can also refer to a , while ...

Canoe
tack – A clinching (or clenching) nail. The nail point is tapered so that it can be turned back on itself using a clinching iron. It then bites back into the wood from the side opposite the nail's head, forming a rivet-like fastening. ** Shoe tack – A clinching nail (see above) for clinching leather and sometimes wood, formerly used for handmade
shoe A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the Foot, human foot. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration and fashion. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with form origin ...

shoe
s. **
Carpet A carpet is a textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knit ...

Carpet
tack **
Upholstery Upholstery is the work of providing furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing, and fabric or leather Leather is a durable and flexible material created by tanning animal rawhide and skins. The most common raw mater ...
tacks – used to attach coverings to furniture **
Thumbtack A drawing pin (British English) or thumb tack (North American English) is a short nail Nail or Nails may refer to: In biology * Nail (anatomy), toughened protective protein-keratin (known as alpha-keratin, also found in hair) at the end of ...

Thumbtack
(or "push-pin" or "drawing-pin") are lightweight pins used to secure paper or cardboard. * Casing nails – have a head that is smoothly tapered, in comparison to the "stepped" head of a ''finish nail''. When used to install casing around windows or doors, they allow the wood to be pried off later with minimal damage when repairs are needed, and without the need to dent the face of the casing in order to grab and extract the nail. Once the casing has been removed, the nails can be extracted from the inner frame with any of the usual nail pullers * Clout nail – a roofing nail * Coil nail – nails designed for use in a pneumatic nail gun assembled in coils * Common nail – smooth shank, wire nail with a heavy, flat head. The typical nail for framing * Convex head (nipple head, springhead) roofing nail – an umbrella shaped head with a rubber gasket for fastening metal roofing, usually with a ring shank * Copper nail – nails made of copper for use with copper flashing or slate shingles etc. * D-head (clipped head) nail – a common or box nail with part of the head removed for some pneumatic nail guns * Double-ended nail – a rare type of nail with points on both ends and the "head" in the middle for joining boards together. Se
this patent
Similar to a dowel nail but with a head on the shank. * Double-headed (duplex, formwork, shutter, scaffold) nail – used for temporary nailing; nails can easily pulled for later disassembly * Dowel nail – a double pointed nail without a "head" on the shank, a piece of round steel sharpened on both ends * Drywall (plasterboard) nail – short, hardened, ring-shank nail with a very thin head * Fiber cement nail – a nail for installing fiber cement siding * Finish nail (bullet head nail, lost-head nail) – A wire nail with a small head intended to be minimally visible or driven below the wood surface and the hole filled to be invisible * Gang nail – a
nail plate A nail is a claw-like keratinous plate at the tip of the fingers and toes in most primate A primate ( ) (from Latin , from 'prime, first rank') is a eutherian mammal Mammals (from Latin language, Latin , 'breast') are a group of ver ...
* Hardboard pin – a small nail for fixing hardboard or thin plywood, often with a square shank *
Horseshoe A horseshoe is a fabricated product, normally made of metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country lo ...

Horseshoe
nail – nails used to hold horseshoes on hoofs * Joist hanger nail – special nails rated for use with
joist hanger A joist is a horizontal structural member used in Framing (construction), framing to span an open space, often between Beam (structure), beams that subsequently transfer loads to vertical members. When incorporated into a floor framing system, jois ...
s and similar brackets. Sometimes called "Teco nails" ( × .148 shank nails used in metal connectors such as hurricane ties) * Lost-head nail – see finish nail * Masonry (concrete) – lengthwise fluted, hardened nail for use in concrete * Oval wire nail – nails with an oval shank * Panel pin * spike – Large long nail intended to hold wooden gutters and some metal gutters in place at the bottom edge of a roof * Ring (annular, improved, jagged) shank nail – nails that have ridges circling the shank to provide extra resistance to pulling out *
Roof A roof is the top covering of a building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house A house is a single-unit residential building, which may range in co ...

Roof
ing (clout) nail – generally a short nail with a broad head used with
asphalt shingle Asphalt, also known as bitumen (, ), is a sticky, black, highly viscous The viscosity of a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or external ...
s, felt paper or the like * Screw (helical) nail – a nail with a spiral shank - uses including flooring and assembling pallets * Shake (shingle) nail – small headed nails to use for nailing shakes and shingles * Sprig – a small nail with either a headless, tapered shank or a square shank with a head on one side. Commonly used by glaziers to fix a glass plane into a wooden frame. * Square nail – a cut nail * T-head nail – shaped like the letter T * Veneer pin * Wire (French) nail – a general term for a nail with a round shank. These are sometimes called French nails from their country of invention * Wire-weld collated nail – nails held together with slender wires for use in nail guns


Sizes

Most countries, except the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, use a
metric system The metric system is a system of measurement A system of measurement is a collection of units of measurement and rules relating them to each other. Systems of measurement have historically been important, regulated and defined for the purpose ...

metric system
for describing nail sizes. A ''50 × 3.0'' indicates a nail 50 mm long (not including the head) and 3 mm in diameter. Lengths are rounded to the nearest millimetre. For example, finishing nail* sizes typically available from German suppliers are: * Drahtstift mit Senkkopf (Stahl, DIN 1151)


United States penny sizes

In the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, the length of a nail is designated by its penny size.


Terminology

* Box: a wire nail with a head; ''box'' nails have a smaller shank than ''common'' nails of the same size * Bright: no surface coating; not recommended for weather exposure or acidic or treated lumber * Casing: a wire nail with a slightly larger head than ''finish'' nails; often used for flooring * CC or Coated: "cement coated"; nail coated with
adhesive Adhesive, also known as glue, cement, mucilage, or paste, is any non-metallic substance applied to one or both surfaces of two separate items that them together and resists their separation. The use of adhesives offers certain advantages over ...
, also known as cement or glue, for greater holding power; also resin- or vinyl-coated; coating melts from friction when driven to help lubricate then adheres when cool; color varies by manufacturer (tan, pink, are common) * Common: a common construction wire nail with a disk-shaped head that is typically 3 to 4 times the diameter of the shank: ''common'' nails have larger shanks than ''box'' nails of the same size * Cut: machine-made square nails. Now used for masonry and historical reproduction or restoration * Duplex: a common nail with a second head, allowing for easy extraction; often used for temporary work, such as concrete forms or wood scaffolding; sometimes called a "scaffold nail" * Drywall: a specialty blued-steel nail with a thin broad head used to fasten gypsum wallboard to wooden framing members * Finish: a wire nail that has a head only slightly larger than the shank; can be easily concealed by countersinking the nail slightly below the finished surface with a nail-set and filling the resulting void with a filler (putty, spackle, caulk, etc.) * Forged: handmade nails (usually square), hot-forged by a blacksmith or nailor, often used in historical reproduction or restoration, commonly sold as collectors items *
Galvanized Galvanization or galvanizing ( also spelled galvanisation or galvanising) is the process of applying a protective zinc Zinc is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Zn and atomic number 30. Zinc is a slightly brittle metal ...
: treated for resistance to corrosion and/or weather exposure ** Electrogalvanized: provides a smooth finish with some 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; ** Mechanically galvanized: deposits more zinc than electrogalvanizing for increased corrosion resistance * Head: round flat metal piece formed at the top of the nail; for increased holding power * Helix: the nail has a square shank that has been twisted, making it very difficult to pull out; often used in decking so they are usually galvanized; sometimes called decking nails * Length: distance from the bottom of the head to the point of a nail * Phosphate-coated: a dark grey to black finish providing a surface that binds well with paint and
joint compound Joint compound (also known as drywall compound or Mastic) is a white powder of primarily gypsum Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula . It is widely mined and is used as a fertil ...
and minimal corrosion resistance * Point: sharpened end opposite the "head" for greater ease in driving * Pole barn: long shank ( in to 8 in, 6 cm to 20 cm), ring shank (see below), hardened nails; usually oil quenched or galvanized (see above); commonly used in the construction of wood framed, metal buildings (pole barns) * Ring shank: small directional rings on the shank to prevent the nail from working back out once driven in; common in drywall, flooring, and pole barn nails * Shank: the body the length of the nail between the head and the point; may be smooth, or may have rings or spirals for greater holding power * Sinker: these are the most common nails used in framing today; same thin diameter as a box nail; cement coated (see above); the bottom of the head is tapered like a wedge or funnel and the top of the head is grid embossed to keep the hammer strike from sliding off * Spike: a large nail; usually over 4 in (100 mm) long * Spiral: a twisted wire nail; ''spiral'' nails have smaller shanks than ''common'' nails of the same size


In art and religion

Nails have been used in art, such as the Nail Men—a form of fundraising common in Germany and Austria during
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

World War I
. Before the 1850s bocce and pétanque
boules ''Boules'' () is a collective name for a wide range of games similar to bowls and bocce (In French: jeu or jeux, in Italian: gioco or giochi) in which the objective is to throw or roll heavy balls (called in France, and in Italy) as close as possi ...
were wooden balls, sometimes partially reinforced with hand-forged nails. When cheap, plentiful machine-made nails became available, manufacturers began to produce the ''boule cloutée''—a wooden core studded with nails to create an all-metal surface. Nails of different metals and colors (steel, brass, and copper) were used to create a wide variety of designs and patterns. Some of the old ''boules cloutées'' are genuine works of art and valued collector's items. Once nails became cheap and widely available, they were often used in
folk art Traditional styles of faience pottery from Székely Land, Romania, on sale in Budapest in 2014. A conventional idea of folk art, though no doubt made in quasi-industrial conditions. Folk art covers all forms of visual art made in the context ...

folk art
and
outsider art Outsider art is art by self-taught Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) or self-education (also self-learning and self-teaching) is education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, sk ...
as a method of decorating a surface with metallic studs. Another common artistic use is the construction of sculpture from welded or brazed nails. Nails were sometimes inscribed with incantations or signs intended for religious or mystical benefit, used at shrines or on the doors of houses for protection. File:Magical Roman Nails.jpg, Roman bronze nails with magical signs and inscriptions, 3rd–4th century AD. File:Nagelfigur Mannheim 1915.jpg, ''The Iron Roland of
Mannheim Mannheim (; : or ), officially the University City of Mannheim (german: Universitätsstadt Mannheim), is the in the of after the state capital of , and Germany's , with a 2020 population of 309,119 inhabitants. The city is the cultural and ...

Mannheim
'', an example of Nail Men (1915).


See also

*
Date nail Date nails were tagging devices utilized by railroad Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transferring passengers and goods on wheeled vehicles running on rails, which are located on tracks. In contrast to road tr ...
- a tagging device utilized by railroads to visually identify the age of a railroad tie * Denailer - a tool that removes used nails * Nails (1979 film) *
Rail spike A rail fastening system is a means of fixing rails Rail or rails may refer to: Rail transport *Rail transport and related matters *Rail (rail transport) or railway lines, the running surface of a railway Film *Rails (film), ''Rails'' (film ...
*
Screw A screw and a bolt Bolt or bolts may refer to: Implements and technology * Bolt (fastener), similar to a screw, used with a nut * Bolt (climbing), an anchor point used in rock climbing * Bolt (firearms), a mechanism used in firearms * Crossbow ...

Screw
*
Truss connector plate Metal connector plates. A truss connector plate, or gang plate, is a kind of tie Tie has two principal meanings: * Tie (draw) A draw or tie occurs in a competitive sport when the results are identical or inconclusive. Ties or draws are possible ...


References


External links


UK DIY site - description of different types of nails

US DIY site - description of different nails

Nail forging movie
{{DEFAULTSORT:Nail (Fastener) Fasteners Woodworking Ironmongery Metallic objects Articles containing video clips