Most of the time, finish nails are used in order to attach molding or trim to a house. The reason why these are used is because they can sink right into the molding, leaving just a small hole that can be filled with putty. These nails have small heads and sizes, ranging from one to four inches in length. The weight is determined through “pennyweight”, although some stores will list the according to their gauge size.
Pennyweight is a term that has been used for a long time. It originated in Great Britain, where it used to cost one penny to purchase 100 nails. At some point, the term started to be used to describe the weight of the nails, rather than the amount, and this is still used today. To make it more interesting, people started to add “D” to it. D stands for “denarius”, which means penny in Latin. Hence, we now purchase nails in 2d, 4d and so on. The range of stainless steel finish nails is from 2d to 20d in pennyweight. In order to actually find out what that means in size, you need to measure the nail and subtract ½ inch from this. Multiply this by four in order to receive the penny size.
The length of stainless steel finish nails is also incredibly important. The length is actually determined by the width of the molding or trim. If this is half an inch, then the nail should be one and a half inches in total. Simply put, a nail should be three times wider than the molding or trim on which it will be used. Usually, there is no need for the nail to be any longer, since it is used to do finishing work. However, these nails can be as much as four inches in length.
When you use a finish nail, they leave a small hole where they were sunken into the wood. The head is only marginally larger than the nail’s shaft. Generally speaking, the head of the nail will have a small indentation. Another nail’s point can be placed on there, allowing you to easily tap it into the wood. This process is known as sinking the nail. Once all of your nails have been sunk, you can return to various places where you have put the nails in and use some putty to fill the holes in. Many people will try to get a putty that is the exact same color as the wood itself, thereby effectively rendering the nail completely invisible.
Finally, there is the gauge of the nail. This tells you just how hard it actually is. The range of gauges is between 16 and 10, with the lower numbers indicating harder nails. The gauge you need will depend on the material into which you are placing the nail. It is important to get it right, because a nail that is too soft won’t go in, and a nail that is too hard could damage the trim or molding.
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