Fitting Your DIY Project with the Right Brad Nails and Finish Nails
When it comes to nails in carpentry, brads and finish nails are among the most commonly used. Although these two types of nails look similar, there are actually considerable differences between them that have to be taken into account.
First and foremost, the size differences between these two nail types are considerable. Brad nails are much thinner than finish nails and have a smaller diameter of 1.22 mm when compared to a gauge number 16 finish nail, which has a diameter of 1.63 to 1.83 mm. In terms of length, brad nails typically range from 5/8-inch to two inches while those of finish nails, which are sometimes also referred to as pattern nails, range from 5/8-inch to 2 1/2 inches.
The main functional differences between these two types of nails are the types of surfaces they are best suited for fixing to, as well as the type of job they can be used for. Brad nails, with their flat heads and thinner diameter, are the go-to choice when it comes to trim carpentry, such as doors, casings, or moldings. On the other hand, finish nails are best used for finish or detail carpentry, such as on cabinets, storage containers, or pieces where the head of the nail needs to be hidden. Generally, finish nails are driven in so strongly that their heads are submerged, so that they can be painted over and made to blend in.
Since brad nails are thinner and have blunt ends, they are much less likely to split the wood or damage the corners of the surface they are driven into when compared to finish nails. This is due to the fact the finish nails have more pointed ends, making them easier to drive, but also making them more likely to split the wood corners.
Ultimately, which type of nail to be used is based a carpenter’s preference and the project at hand. For small projects like tacking together plywood or other simple carpentry tasks, where the heads will not be a problem, brad nails are the preferred choice. For bigger projects, such as outdoor woodwork or furniture that requires stronger fixings, finish nails are best.
Although the diameter of a brad nail is much less than a finish nail, it does not necessarily mean that it is weaker; this depends on the type of wood and dependability of the fixture required. Despite their differences, both brad nails and finish nails are indispensable tools in the carpenter’s tool box. Together, these two nails are a perfect combination for most carpentry projects.