A common nail, also known as a common bright nail, is mostly used in construction works, particularly when dealing with dimensional lumber. Simply put, common nails are used for framing in building and remodeling. In fact, certain building codes require that common nails be used for this purpose. Common nails are made from iron wire; they have a thick shank and a wide flat head. The shank of a common nail ends in a sharp diamond-shaped point. There are typically three types of framing nails, and common nails are one of them. The other two are sinkers and box nails.
When hammering common nails, your first step should be to select the right hammer. Many different types of hammers are available in the market today, and each has its own function. While some are used specifically for stonework, upholstery, bricklaying, and panel beating, others, like the curved claw hammer, is used specifically for carpentry and wood work. The curved claw hammer is most suited for hammering in common nails when framing. As the name suggests, this hammer has a curved claw that can be used for pulling out nails as well. You will find these hammers with various different handles (made out of ash, glass fiber, steel or hickory); pick one that suits you best.
Now that we know about common nails and the hammer that you need to use with them, let’s take a closer look at the proper hammering procedure when using common nails with framing.
Point the Handle Right
When hammering in a nail, always keep the handle pointed toward your hips. Why? This is because hammering correctly involves body movement that carries through your wrist, arm, and body. If you keep the handle pointed at your hip, you are ensuring that you never put unnecessary strain on any body part or the nail.
Blunt the Tip
One common problem when using common nails is that the sharp tip often splits the lumber. To avoid this problem, use the hammer to blunt the sharp diamond-shaped tip of the nail. This will ensure that your nail drives through the lumber instead of splitting the wood fibers.
While driving a nail straight will hold nicely, for a better grip, drive in the nails at an angle. Nails that are hammered at an angle grip the wood better and provide greater strength and durability. This is also a good technique to use if your nails are longer than needed.
Move the Hammer Back and Forth
The trickiest part when framing is when you are working with glass. Instead of trying to avoid the glass, so as to not break it, place the hammer on the glass itself and move it gently back and forth to hammer in the nail.
Sandpaper the hammer head; this will ensure that the head grip the nail head better when you strike it. If the hammer head is smooth, it may slide off the nail and you might end up injuring your thumb. Also, always wear safety goggles when working with nails and a hammer as both nails and wood often tend to chip and break.