When you are coming to the end of a project, and are ready to attach different parts of your woodwork to each other, you may be torn between using brad nails and staples. The type of nail that you use will depend very much on how you want the final product to look, and if you will be showing the item in a position that will reveal the nails. Using the wrong nail here could result in damage to your work, or even in an unattractive nail being clearly visible in your finished project. While you may use brad nails or staples almost interchangeably, if you want to get the right tool for your project, then you should consider the differences between the two before you use the wrong piece.
The brad nail is a type of finish nail, and like the rest of the family, are used for final work on a project. As they are so small, and may be referred to by the phrase 2d, they are suitable for use in millwork, or on fine-grain wood that will not take a heavier nail. The brad nail can be used in places where other nails and staples are simply not small enough to fit into the gap, and they can also be used where you want to show off a piece of work, without the nail being visible. If you want to nail a small piece of work, without it splitting or chipping, then you should use the brad nail.
While the staple can also be used in finishing wood projects, they are not nails. The staple will have a double-prong, unlike the brad, meaning that it can transfix two pieces of wood at the same time. The staple is a strong finishing piece and can be used for hardwoods, where a small brad nail would not be strong enough to hold the two pieces together. They are also best used outside on roofing projects, or on wooden casements. On the downside, the staple will leave a very large, visible mark on the project, so if you want to prevent this, you should avoid the staple.
Finish Nail or Staple
With a staple, you will get a strong but visible grip, while the brad nail will hold a smaller grain without damaging the wood, or leaving a clear mark on the project. The latter are less suitable for hardwoods, and would not be used outside, so the staple is best here, while the staple would not be suitable for milled pieces, fine detail work, or in places where a visible nail would be detrimental to the piece being created.