What nail do I use?
Nails are the most common and the quickest fastener for anything from building houses or chicken coops to repairing a wine rack or hanging pictures. To achieve the best possible bond, it pays to use the right type. Most nails are made from steel, some are galvanised and others, where strength isn’t the main factor, are made from alloys. They‘re made in many different shapes and sizes to suit different applications. So, if you’re patching or repairing, try to find a nail similar to those already used.
Nails come in various lengths and guages (thickness) and in a variety of metal types (see What metal type should the fastener be?).
Here is a list of common ones, but ask your hardware merchant, cabinet maker or builder if you’re in doubt. There are specialist nails galore so have a look through a few shopping carts on the internet for ideas if you are looking for something special.
For hammering techniques see Use a hammer like a professional.
Bullet or jolthead nail
A general-purpose nail with a small head, which allows the nail to be punched below the timber surface and then filled. Ideal for a painted or varnished surface.
Has a large, flat head, which helps support the material being fixed. Ideal for fixing metal straps, brackets or plastic clips (such as the ones holding your down-pipe to the wall).