Talk:Nail (fastener)

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US naming convention[edit]

Construction nails - I added some info on nails as related to building and construction - hopefully not too provincial; terminology varies from country to country. - Rlvaughn 22:15, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Fascinating - I never knew that about US nail sizes. This article now needs splitting into engineering and anatomical nails - I'll just do that if you don't mind holding off any more edits for a moment. seglea 22:51, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)

OK, all done now. I called hammer-and-nail nails "nail (engineering)", which sounds a bit grand for so common-or-garden an object, but I couldn't think of anything better. seglea 23:04, 11 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I think the split you did was needed. And I don't think I had ever heard this - "D"...was the abbreviation for a penny in the UK before decimalisation." I was a little tentative about so much just about nails in the US, but I guess others can add info from their country. I am assuming that perhaps the US has preserved a "system" that probably was common in most English-speaking countries, since we obviously received it from England. - Rlvaughn 03:07, 12 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Yes, anyone my age grew up on d standing for "pence" - pounds, shillings and pence was always abbreviated LSD (usually £sd, of course). And we were taught that d did stand for denarius (L for pound stood for librum, and s for shilling actually stood for solidus not shilling, though that was not widely known). When decimalisation came in, using the more logical p for pence was a convenient way of distinguishing new pence from old, which mattered since 1p=2.4d. But the great British public seized on it with glee, and pronounced it as the slightly vulgar "pee", which was a fine way of expressing disdain for the decimalisation process.
By the way, does the US use the abbreviation lb for pound weight (also from librum of course), which is standard in Britain? I don't think I remember seeing it in shops since I've been here.
I think it's fine to have the US weight system described in detail on the nails page - it's inherently interesting, it appears to be unique, I'm sure you're right it's a survival, and anyone (like me) English living in the US would need to know it, otherwise we're in for a mystifying session at the hardware shop.
seglea 07:09, 12 Dec 2003 (UTC)
Yes, still the common abbreviation in the the US for a pound (weight). - Rlvaughn 12:51, 12 Dec 2003 (UTC)

I restored the information on the length of nails by penny size, which user had deleted. Perhaps that user is not familiar with American construction, though the edit smacked a little of "vandalism". - Rlvaughn 23:50, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Ridges on shank[edit]

I heard a story that the philosopher and mathematician Leibniz invented the ridges on the shank of a nail, just below the head. Anyone know if this is true?

The ridges on the shank of a nail just below the nail head are called "gripper marks". When wire is fed into a nail making machine it is gripped and drawn into the machine where it is cut to length and headed with the appropriate size (type) for that nail. --Swanguy (talk) 15:48, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Places like Lowes list Nail Gauge[edit]

What does it mean to talk about an 8 gauge nail??


I changed this edit - "Nails are usually sold by the pound (454 g) (either in bulk or in boxes) in the United States only" - to this - "Nails are usually sold by weight (either in bulk or in boxes)" - hoping that it would be somewhat universal (the intent of the other edit), but perhaps a little smoother. This of course assumes that nails are "usually sold by the pound", which I can't speak to that well universally. - Rlvaughn 23:16, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Cut nails[edit]

No mention or picture of cut nails...why is this? Also, I believe "wire nail" is to distinguish the modern technology from older manufacturing techniques like forging and cutting, but someone should double-check that.--Joel 23:42, 4 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Transferring info from Tack, which is being turned into a disambiguation page:

Tack or Tintack is a type of nail. Nornally cut from sheet steel (as opposed to wire); the nail 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. See also tack piano.

I don't see a good place to integrate this here at the moment, but it's good information that shouldn't be lost. — Catherine\talk 20:38, 7 January 2006 (UTC)

What about the dates from hand hard cut to slit and hammered then hard cut mill shaped them from hard cut to the time standard nails replaced mill hard cut? I see no dates showing the time frame they started switching from hard cut to wire...

Cut nails[edit]

Can any one supply details of who invented the cut nail and precisely when? I have just fleshed out the earlier history of the nail, but do not know the answer to that matter. All I know is that it happened in America and was causeing concern in England in 1812. Peterkingiron

The recent publication of an article has enabled me to improve the coverage to the 19th century. However, more material on 19th cnetury hand nailmaking trade ought to be cited. Peterkingiron (talk) 17:19, 1 April 2013 (UTC)


Link to article

I don't know much about this, save for the fact that it was a recently developed design. I did a little formating on the article a couple days ago, but it'd be nice to have some better informed people deal with it. I am also unsure of how it may fit into the current Nail article, if at all. KojieroSaske 22:52, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Propose move to Nail (construction) or Nail (carpentry) or Nail (woodworking)[edit]

I believe one of the three names above would be a much better description. As a structural engineer, I certainly design engineered systems with nails. But most nails that are used are never "engineered" in the normal sense of the term.

I know, I know, "be bold". But I would like to get another opinion before moving a pretty stable page, and if moving is agreed to, I'd like some input on which name above is better.

For me, my preferences (in order) are #1 construction, #2 carpentry, #3 woodworking, and #4 engineering

Anyone else? --barneca (talk) 21:38, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Due to lack of response, I'll move the page. I've decided to move to Nail (fastener) as the most generic description. Post-move discussion welcome; we can always move it back. --barneca (talk) 19:15, 30 July 2007 (UTC)


How are nails made? How are they used? How are they removed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Scott Adler (talkcontribs) 10:48, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

Links at bottom[edit]

I have deleted the link to "Bostitch: Global supplier of nails, fasteners, and fastening tools" - it seems to be an advertisement more than anything else. I do not see any benefit it provides to the article. If someone can justify the change, please do. (I also looked up who made the change. It was an IP address Special:Contributions/ - which belongs to "stanley works STANLEY-WO857-49-64" according to whois This IP has mostly changed the article for Mark Mathieu - who just happens to be a VP at Stanley Works, an affiliate of Bostitch.) Crito2161 03:45, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Illustration caption[edit]

The description of the image ( File:Spijkers_(Nails).jpg )says that the first two items are "asfaltnagel". And the caption in English says roofing nails. Is this correct? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:17, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Probably. This type of nail would be used to nail asphalt impregnated felt/tar paper or asphalt shingles (and the more modern formulations) to the roof deck. I can't imagine there are nails made specifically for nailing into asphalt paving. Modal Jig (talk) 15:27, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Actually, surveyors routinely use nails made specifically for nailing into asphalt paving - for example — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:48, 18 October 2012 (UTC)

Questionable etymology[edit]

In Folk-etymology: a dictionary of verbal corruptions or words perverted in form or meaning, by false derivation or mistaken analogy, published by G. Bell & Sons, 1882, Abram Smythe Palmer says, "Ten-penny nails are not nails ten of which may be got for a penny, but properly ten-pun'y or ten-pun'-nails, i.e., ten-pound, large nails, a thousand of which will weigh ten pounds (the old form of the verb to pound was pun). "It is surprising how slowly the commonest mechanical terms find their way into dictionaries professedly complete. I may mention, as instances of this, that penny, a denomination of the sizes of nails, as a six-penny or a ten-penny nail, though it was employed by Fently two hundred years ago, and has been in constant use ever since, is not to be found in Webster. — Marsh, The Eng. Language, p. 126 (ed. Smith). "Six-penny, eight-penny, ten-penny nails, are nails of such sizes, that a thousand will weigh six, eight, or ten pounds, and in this phrase, therefore, penny seems to be a corruption of pound." ...and he then goes on to quote a couple of usages from earlier literature (Abel Redivivus and Jokes and Wit of Douglas Jerrold). So, can anybody verify the origin of the term tenpenny nail as currently given in our article? rowley (talk) 20:08, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Missing description of modern manufacturing method[edit]

I'm not seeing a good description of how nails are manufactured today. Does anyone have a source so we can add a short section on that? Lockesdonkey (talk) 22:52, 20 March 2015 (UTC)

That's a good question. There was a "How it's Made" segment available on YouTube, but id that good enough for a reference? I added a brief description in the Wire Nails section. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Uranographer (talkcontribs) 14:49, 6 December 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Nail (fastener)/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Page doesn't display correctly. Somebody who knows about these things please fix the HTML so it displays properly. Thank you...

Last edited at 08:39, 31 May 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 00:47, 30 April 2016 (UTC)

History of the WORLD[edit]

How do China has nails? How do America has nails? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:05, 26 July 2016 (UTC)