The Types of Nails


 In woodworking and construction, a nail is a pin-shaped object of metal (or wood, called a tree nail or "trunnel") which is used as a 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, tacks, brads, spikes, and cleats.

Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer, a pneumatic nail gun, or a small explosive charge or primer. A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally. The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or clinched after driving to prevent pulling out.

Types of nail include:


  • Clout nail – a roofing nail
  • Coffin nail – general name for a nail used in a Coffin, slang for a cigarette and/or the final nail. Used less due to metal coffin manufacturing.
  • 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
  • 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