Common Wire Nails
Size Length,
inches
Gauge Number
in a
pound
Safe Lateral Load* Resistance to withdrawal
in pounds per inch of penetration
perpendicular to the grain,
into the main member,
in Douglas Fir
Required
penetration.
inches
load,
pounds,
in Douglas Fir
2d 1 15 876      
3d 1¼  14 568      
4d 12½ 316      
5d 12½ 271      
6d 2 11½ 181 1 70 27
7d 11½ 161      
8d 10¼ 106 100 32
9d 10½ 96     32
10d 3 9 69 120 36
12d 9 64 1 5/8 130 36
16d 8 49 1 5/8 160 40
20d 6 31 2 190 48
30d 4½  5 24 230 52
40d 5 4 18 2 1/3 270 56
50d 3 14 310 61
60d 6 2 11 3 360 67

*For nails inserted perpendicular to the grain. For nails driven parallel to the grain or toe-nailed, the load should not be more than 2/3 of the value in column 6.

A useful rule of thumb for estimating safe lateral loads for nails 12d and smaller is to take ten times the pennyweight.