15 Types Of Nails – Woodworking Tools Guide

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There are several types of nails commonly used in woodworking. Some of the most common types of nails for wood include roundhead nails, finish nails, brad nails, box nails, and common nails.  There are many of other types of nails such as flooring nails and framing nails although those are used mostly in construction rather than woodworking.


Nails. Image Credit: Chris RubberDragon

Different Types Of Woodworking Nails

What we have listed here today isn’t an all-comprehensive list. However, in this article, we attempt to cover the most commonly used types that you can use in woodworking. So, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Round Head Nail

The round head of these nails also has a rather large diameter, which makes it easy to hit them with a hammer. You have to be careful in choosing the diameter of these nails to avoid splitting the wood into which you are driving the nail. Although these nails do not have perfect aesthetics, they are excellent for general-purpose use.

Common Nails

Common nails are a type of nail made of medium to high carbon steel that feature a smooth or slightly textured shank, a round head, and a diamond-shaped point. They are versatile and commonly used for general construction, framing, and other structural work. They are also suitable for rough carpentry projects where appearance is not important. Common nails are strong and stiff, and their shanks have greater diameters than other nails. They are available in a range of lengths and gauges to suit different applications.

Brad Nails

Brad nails, also known as “brads”, are thin nails made of 18-gauge steel wire that has been formed into a sharpened nail. They are thinner than standard finishing nails and feature a smaller head, which allows them to be easily concealed in wood trim or paneling. They are commonly used for attaching lightweight trim, molding, and other decorative woodwork. Because they are thin, they are less likely to split the wood and leave smaller holes than larger nails. Brad nails are also available in a headless variety for jobs you don’t for jobs where you want to avoid hole filling.

Box Nails

Box nails have a narrower shank than common nails, which reduces the chance of splitting the wood when you drive the nail. They are similar in design to common nails but are not as strong, so they are not appropriate for structural applications. Box nails are often used for small projects, household use, and thin wood materials such as wooden boxes and exterior trim. They are also commonly galvanized to help prevent corrosion.

Finishing Nails

Finishing nails, also known as finish nails, have a small, narrow head that can be easily concealed with wood filler or paint. They are typically made of 15- or 16-gauge steel wire and are used for attaching delicate trim, paneling, and other decorative woodwork. They are available in a range of lengths and gauges to suit different applications. Because of their small size, finishing nails are less likely to split the wood and leave smaller holes than larger nails. They are also less likely to damage delicate woodwork.

Those five- common, brad, box, finishing and round-headed are some of the most common types of nails used in woodworking. The following types of nails are more often used for construction and other projects but we’ve included them for your reference.

Masonry Nail

You can get the best out of masonry nails if you need to attach wood to masonry structures. Masonry nails have a content of zinc to make them resistant to corrosion. The reason for this is that there is a high tendency for these nails to rust inside the concrete. The zinc also imparts a certain level of hardness to the nail.

Cut Clasp Nail

This nail looks somewhat like a crude metallic stake. Rectangular in cross-section, the cut clasp nail or cut nail does not have an anti-corrosive coating. Due to this reason, it imparts a rather antique appearance to the metal. Thus, these nails are a popular choice for restoring old properties to retain the original look. However, do not underestimate the strength of this category of the nail. It takes a particular level of skill to drive a cut clasp nail into wood. But these nails provide an incredibly powerful grip, once in place.

Oval Head Nail

The head of this nail has an oval cross-section. The purpose of this oval shape is to reduce the tendency of the wood to split while hammering it in.

Annular Ring Shank

As the name of this kind of nail suggests, it has annular rings along the length of the nail. These annular rings provide an exceptional grip, once driven into the wood. Therefore, we consider these nails as among the best in woodworking nails.

Spiral Shank Nail

These nails enjoy a prominent position in the construction industry. We use them to join wood frames and shelves to masonry. The spiral groove along the length of the nail provides extra grip when you drive the nail into the job.


This unique form of the nail does not have a head. It is just a metallic wedge that we use to fix glass panes in wooden frames.

Lost Head Nail

If you want to hide the head of a nail, then you will need to use a lost head nail. This nail is a headless nail. You drive this nail into the job with a hammer in the usual way. However, once flush with the surface, you can use a punch to drive the nail slightly below the surface. These nails help us to fix laminate to wood.

Roofing Nail

If you are doing extensive work on roof building or repairs, you will need these nails. Roofing nails are typically galvanized, given that they are likely to be exposed to the elements.

Siding Nail

Also useful for working on roofs and walls, siding nails will help you as you work on siding. There are various types of siding, but the nails that you use are likely to be the same, which are siding nails. These nails usually have a galvanized coating for corrosion resistance. We typically drive siding nails into the job with the help of a specialized siding nail gun.

Corrugated Nail

These nails don’t look like nails, but they are, and we drive them into place with the help of a hammer. Corrugated nails, also known as corrugated fasteners, are flat, corrugated strips of steel that have a bevel at one end. We use these nails to make wood joints, particularly for mitered wood joints, to make a frame. You will find corrugated nails extremely handy for assembling plywood frames where you can’t use regular nails.

Drywall Nail

A drywall nail is a nail that you can use to penetrate a wall without damaging the wallpaper.

Cut Flooring Nail

The cut floor nail has a similar crude construction of the cut clasp nail. However, the difference lies in the head. Unlike the cut clasp nail, the cut floor nail has a flat head. You will find this type of nail beneficial for use on floorboards.

Group of metal nails on white background

Featured Image: Craig Dugas