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sourcing collated 10d/12d/16d “Common” nails

neutral_grey | Posted in General Questions on

I have plans spec’ing Common nails, only.  It seems after some digging** that virtually all collated nails are “Box” nails sizes.  I am having trouble sourcing this size nail for my nailer (21degree plastic)

A few conflicting observations:
– My local building supply (i.e. not big box), for instance, only had 3″-0.131″ for 3″ collated nails. 
– My 3 framing nailers, including the most limited (the dewalt 20v nailer, which only handles up to 3.25″ vs 3.5 of the pneumatics) ARE rated to shoot Common, at least through 12d / 0.148″ (none will shoot 16d common == 0..162×3.5)
– I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a collated nail label make the “Box” / “Common” distinction explicitly
– Weyerhaeuser TJI fastener specs mostly reference Common nail sizes, but also include 8d-box (alongside 8d-common), as well as explicitly listing options for “.131 x 3-3.5

There must be some industry context I am not aware of here?

Common Nail size:
8d: 2.5″ 10ga (0.134″),
10d: 3″ 9ga (0.148″)
12d: 3.25″ 9ga (0.148″)
16d: 3.5″ 8ga (0.162″)

Box Nail sizes:
8d 2.5″ 11.5ga (0.113″)
10d 3″ 10.5ga (0.128″)
16d 3.5″ 10ga (0.135″)

common plastic collated nail size: 0.131 x 3-3.5″


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  1. kbentley57 | | #1

    The answer, as you've stumbled onto, is that the state of specifying fasteners is a mess at the moment.

    We should be specifying nails the way we specify all other materials, IE nail diameter, head diameter, head shape, length, and coating or finish, if any.

    That's they way nails are sold now, IE .131" x 3" hot dipped galvanized. What isn't sold right now are "21 degree 16 penny nails". There's a conflict of legacy specification, and modern design.

    FWIW screws aren't any better. The number system on #6, #7, #8 ... and so on tells you nothing about the physical properties of the screw, even if those numbers are standardized.

    If it calls for 3" nails, I'd assume you're save for regular collated 3" x .131" bright finish nails. That's been standard for a while.

    1. neutral_grey | | #2

      Have asked my engineer ... hopefully true here.

      The plans say "no box nails without approval* - and the cross section IS substantially smaller (less sheer, more pressure on wood), so it does have different loads.

      What I didnt ask my engineer is why on earth he spec'd humdreds of non-machine-nailable fasteners!

      1. kbentley57 | | #3

        It's true that they're smaller, but in reality if your engineer is designing that close to the ultimate design values of the fasteners, you're already in trouble. The NDS rates nails and other connectors at something like 5% of the ultimate load of a large number of samples, so it's unlikely that given the other built in safety factors, it would have a material difference.

        Alternatively, you can ask if you can add one (1) extra fastener to account for the difference in the nail's combined cross sectional area per stress area in the design.

        If anyone believes residential houses are built with anything other than ~3 x .131" strip nails, they're lying to themselves, regardless of whats on the plans. The guys on site aren't going to go to town with hammers anymore.

  2. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #4

    Specification tables for framing hardware usually show multiple options for fastener size, using the fastener length and diameter in inches.

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