box nails

silhouette of a smooth box nail

Box nails are made for use in thin dry wood. To reduce a nail's tendency to split such wood, the point is slightly blunted, so that it crushes the wood fibers and punches its way through instead of enlarging a crack. Box nails are thinner than the corresponding penny size in common nails, and about ⅛ inch shorter than their nominal size. Often they are coated with a resin (such as nylon) that is melted by the heat generated in driving the nail and glues the nail in place.

The Uniform Building Code allows the use of galvanized box nails instead of common nails for shear wall nailing. The zinc coating increases the diameter of the thinner box nail. Only galvanized nails are permitted, and even so perhaps 5 box nails should be used where 4 common nails would have been.

Style A may have a barbed shank.

Style A
Size Nominal length,
inches
Gauge Diameter,
inches
Number
per pound
2d 1 15½ 0.067 1010
3d 14½ 0.076 635
4d 14 0.080 473
5d 14 0.080 406
6d 2 12½ 0.099 236
7d 12½ 0.099 210
8d 11½ 0.113 145
9d 11½ 0.113 132
10d 3 10½ 0.128 94
12d 10½ 0.128  
16d 10 0.135 71
20d 4 9 0.148 62
30d 9 0.148  
40d 5 8 0.162 35

cement-coated, diamond-point, flat head, round smooth shank.

Type B
  Length,
inches
Gauge Head
diameter,
inches
Number
in a
pound
2d 1 16½ 0.172  
3d 1 1/8 16 0.188  
4d 1 3/8 15½ 0.203  
5d 1 5/8 15 0.219  
6d 1 7/8 13½ 0.250  
7d 2 1/8 13½ 0.250  
8d 2 3/8 12½ 0.266  
9d 2 5/8 12½ 0.266  
10d 2 7/8 11½ 0.297  

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