Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil Engineering


This thesis gives the results of a study of the influence of the size and design of nails on their efficiency with respect to driving and pulling from various species of wood. The study was made at the Forest Products Laboratory of the United States Forest Services in cooperation with the American Steel and Wire Company, primarily to compare two types of nails, a common nail with plain head and regular point, and a special nail with a larger checkered head and a longer “diamond” point. The results indicate in a general way that the blunter point is the more efficient from the standpoint of ease of driving and low splitting tendency. The influence of the type of point on the wood in driving has a marked effect on their relative holding power. The regular-pointed nail requires slightly great work to pull immediately after driving. Subsequent soaking of the wood specimens containing the nails, however, results in a slightly greater resistance to withdrawal of the diamond-pointed nails. The regular-pointed nails require slightly more total work to withdraw while the diamond-pointed nails require a higher maximum load to start withdrawal. In general, the data indicate a slight superiority of the regular-pointed nail, particularly from the standpoint of splitting. Very little difference was found between the plain and checkered heads in amount of slippage of the hammer in driving, and resultant bending of the nails. This thesis covers only a small part of the general study of nail design. The whole problem of determining the design of a nail which will do the least damage in splitting, and have the necessary holding power, is one involving a great many factors or extreme importance whose influence is not very well known. A broad study of these factors and their relation to different uses, covering all the important commercial species would undoubtedly lead to greater economy and efficiency in various fields of construction, particularly the wooden container industry.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nails and spikes



Number of Pages



South Dakota State College


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only