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    Nails, pins and fasteners

    Oval wire nail

    The oval shank of this type of nail reduces the risk of the timber splitting, and once it has been driven into the timber its head will be below the surface.

    Round wire nail

    An excellent general-purpose nail often used on work where a rough finish is acceptable, such as fixing a timber stud frame. The round head makes hitting the nail accurately with a hammer easier, but round wire nails can split the timber if driven in too far.

    Round lost-head wire nail

    This variation of the round wire nail has a much smaller head and is used with timber that is prone to splitting. The head will sit flush with the timber but can be knocked beneath the surface using a nail punch.

    Masonry nail

    As its name suggests the masonry nail is used for making fixings to masonry. Masonry nails are usually made of hardened steel or zinc and have a thicker shank than most other nails. Anti-corrosion galvanised masonry nails are also available.

    Clout nail

    Distinguishable by their large flat heads, clout nails are widely used to fix roof slates or tiles. As this use exposes them to the rain, clout nails are generally galvanised (coated with zinc) to prevent rust. Smaller clout nails are available for fixing roofing felt.

    Plasterboard nail

    Used for fixing sheets of plasterboard to a timber stud frame, plasterboard nails are galvanised to stop them from rusting. As these nails have to hold up heavy sheets of plasterboard the shank will be serrated or jagged to allow it to grip the timber more firmly.

    Annular ring shank nail

    Although very similar in appearance to the round wire nail, on closer inspection you will discover that the shank of the annular ring shank nail is ridged with small rings. This provides greater grip and a more secure fixing.

    Square twist nail

    The square twist nail is treated with zinc and is recognisable by its square cross-section and twisted shank. This is a strong general-purpose nail that is widely used outdoors.

    Plastic-headed nail

    Designed for fixing UPVC cladding to timber, the plastic-headed nail is made of stainless steel and has a ringed shank and a shatterproof, plastic head. It is also known as the poly-head nail.

    Springhead nail

    Widely used in roofing to fix sheets of board to timber, the galvanised, springhead nail is easily identified by its twisted shank and large head, which serves to keep the hole waterproof.

    Cut clasp nail

    With it broad shank the cut clasp nail may appear to be a relic from the past, but it is still used in the renovation of older properties when period detail needs to be maintained.

    Cut floor nail

    The traditional nail for fixing down floorboards, the cut floor nail is similar in appearance to the cut clasp nail.

    Carpet tacks

    Carpet tacks are small nails designed to fix fabric to wood. As their name suggests, they were used for laying carpets but have now been replaced by gripper rods.

    Upholstery nail

    These small, dome-headed nails are used in upholstery. They come in different finishes to match different styles of furnishing.


    For fine carpentry and joinery work, such as fitting moulding you should use pins. These are thin nails with small heads, which are less likely to cause splitting as well as being almost invisible to the eye when fixed.

    Pin picture hook

    Single and twin pin picture hooks are available. The pins are made from hardened steel and are about 25mm (1in) long.

    Glazing sprig

    Small, wedged-shaped pins used in conjunction with putty to fix glazing in position.

    Corrugated fasteners

    In addition to nails and pins there are a number of fasteners available designed to hold mitred frame joints together. The most common is the corrugated fastener. This is fixed across the mitre joint. Simply place the corrugated fastener at a right angle over the joint and hammer into position. It is advisable to use two parallel fasteners on each joint for extra strength.


    A staple is a U-shaped fixing most commonly used to attach wire fencing to fence posts.

    Corner clips

    Used to fix square or rectangular mirrors to the wall, the clips fit over the corners of the mirror.

    Sliding clips

    For hanging mirrors and pictures this variety of fixing clip has an elongated aperture in the clip allowing it to be adjusted by loosening the screw fixing it to the wall.

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