Fashionable Mechanics

It’s time to settle an age-old debate: nails vs. screws. Both are a type of historic wood-fastening expertise that also get the job finished at present. But how have you learnt which one to make use of for any given venture?

That query was truly simpler to reply a number of a long time in the past as a result of now there are numerous extra sorts and sizes of nails and screws obtainable, and lots of extra—and higher—methods to drive them in.

So let’s speak concerning the variations and similarities between nails and screws, so you possibly can determine the suitable one for the job.

Nails vs. Screws: A History

Let’s begin by saying that each nails and screws are wonderful wooden fasteners after they’re sized accurately and put in correctly. And in lots of instances, you should utilize both a nail or a screw for a robust, lasting connection. The proper alternative typically comes all the way down to the software used to drive within the fastener, the size of the wooden items being fixed collectively, and whether or not you’re developing a home or constructing a woodworking venture.

At one time, nails have been most well-liked over screws as a result of it was a lot simpler and quicker to hammer in nails than to make use of a guide screwdriver or spiral-ratcheting screwdriver (e.g.: Yankee Screwdriver) to drive in slotted screws.

The creation of the Phillips-head screw within the Thirties modified every part and commenced the gradual motion from hammering nails to driving screws. Phillips screws have been quick and straightforward to drive in, versus slotted screws, which have been—and are—painstakingly gradual and tough to put in. As electrical and pneumatic screwdrivers grew to become extra commonplace, the recognition of screws grew exponentially.

But the actual quantum leap for power-driving screws coincided with the introduction of the cordless drill/driver, the most well-liked moveable energy software ever invented. Soon got here the following introduction of cordless impression drivers and impression wrenches permitted power-driving even the very longest, thickest screws.

So a lot for nails proper? Well, not fairly.

Nails as soon as once more grew to become the fastener of alternative for a lot of jobs each small and enormous as soon as individuals found the pace and ease of utilizing air compressors and pneumatic nailers. More lately, battery-powered cordless nailers match cordless drill/drivers with the comfort of being untethered from a compressor.

One of our favourite YouTubers, The Essential Craftsman, provides an excellent rundown on a number of the similarities and variations between our two favourite wooden fasteners:

How to Pick the Right One

When deciding between nails and screws, understand that nails are much less brittle, so they supply higher shear power. They might bend underneath stress, however they seldom snap.

Screws, then again, might not be as forgiving, however their threaded shafts maintain higher in wooden and draw boards collectively rather more tightly they usually have higher tensile power. Screws additionally do a greater job of holding tight throughout wooden’s pure growth and contraction.


In many instances, nails might be stronger and cheaper—a bonus for any dwelling builder.

Generally talking, nails are fashionable for common carpentry jobs, similar to:

– Framing partitions and roofs

– Securing plywood sheathing

-Putting down hardwood flooring

-Installing siding and roofing

Small-diameter nails, together with ending nails and brads, are perfect for:

-Nailing up inside moldings, similar to baseboard, chair rail and window and door casings

-Installing exterior home trim, together with rake boards, fascia, frieze and nook boards

-Attaching stiles and rails to cupboards

-Solid-wood edging to plywood cabinets

-Anywhere you don’t need to mar the wooden’s floor with the top of a screw


As talked about earlier, each nails and screws are wonderful fasteners and you may typically use them interchangeably, relying on the job at hand.

Screws are most well-liked for such duties as:

-Hanging drywall

-Attaching ledger boards

-Installing cupboards

-Fastening wooden decking

-Fabricating cupboards, wood toys, bookcases, and different woodworking tasks

-For any wood-to-wood connection that you could be must take aside

The backside line is that selecting the most effective fastener—nail or screw—comes all the way down to choosing the suitable measurement fastener after which utilizing the most-appropriate software for driving it into the wooden. And after you’ve gained some hands-on expertise by way of trial and error, the suitable alternative will change into crystal clear.

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