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Understanding What Makes A Nail A Nail

Hammer and Nail in a Table Wood
Nails are among the most common and indispensable of all hardware fasteners, used to hold together the structure of furniture, homes, and more or less anything else you can think of. In order for nails to do all that, they have to come in a wide array of styles, each designed with its own array of strengths to fulfill specialized tasks.
When most people think of nails, however, they tend to imagine that all nails are basically the same. This often leads to the use of incorrect nails for certain tasks, which in turn can lead to the premature failure of the things they should be holding together. If you would like to get your facts straight regarding nails, read on. This article will introduce you to the surprisingly diverse world of two fundamental structural features of nails.

Nail Shanks

As alluded to above, nails consist of two basic structural features: shanks and heads. The shank makes up the bulk of the nail, being the long pointy piece of metal that sits below the surface of the material being fastened. If you are like most people, you may be surprised to learn that a nail may possess one of four different types of shanks, depending on the nail's particular purpose.
Most everybody is familiar with so-called smooth shank nails. Common household nails almost always have smooth shanks, which are more than adequate for general tasks like hanging pictures and attaching door trim. When it comes to more specialized or heavy-duty use, smooth shank nails generally don't have enough holding power for reliable use.
For projects that require a greater degree of stability, barbed shank nails are a better choice. The shanks of such nails feature a raised herringbone pattern. This helps to give the nail a bit more "bite," ensuring that it holds its place as time goes on. Screw shank nails offer the same advantage and are especially prized when fastening hardwoods.
Ring shank nails are frequently used in roofing projects, to the extent that they are often simply referred to as roofing nails. The raised rings along the shank ensure that shingles will stay safely in place during even the most serious gales.
Finally, there are the nails with fluted shanks, which are the preferred nail for use when fastening such materials as concrete, cinder block, and masonry. Fluted shank nails have special triangular grooves that run the length of the shank. These grooves help to prevent the material from crumbling or chipping as you drive the nail into place.

Nail Heads

The nail head is the part of the nail that you strike with a hammer. The most common type of nail head is the flathead, which most household nails have. Flathead nails offer a generous striking area, making them easy to hit, while also ensuring that they will hold their place adequately.
Of course, some flat nail heads are larger than others. You can find enlarged heads on nails used for attaching siding and roofing shingles. Here a strong hold is especially important, in order for the material to stand up to constant abuse from the elements.
The heads of nails used for framing houses have another interesting feature: a textured checker pattern. This is meant to provide a greater amount of grip for the hammer, thus helping to ensure a clean and even blow, while preventing the hammer from slipping. This is especially important when you consider that such nails are often installed in tight or hard to reach places.

Nail Experts

By now you should have a better idea of the natural variation that vvcan you can find within the seemingly simple world of nails. Virtually every fastening project has a nail that has been designed to meet its unique needs. For more information about the best nail for your next project, please don't hesitate to contact the fastening experts at Ascension Fasteners.