nails and pennies

I was just asked about nail sizes and pennies. In the U.S., the length of nails is designated by “penny” abbreviated “d”. For example a twenty-penny nail (20d) has typically has a length of four inches. See table (attached picture).

Talk to you later.

Well, if that wasn’t half-assed education, I don’t know what is! :p:p

(just kiddin, Ben)

How about ed-u-ma-catin’ us on why the term “penny” is even used, and why a 4" nail is called a 20d, as opposed to… lets say… 4d or 16d ? :smiley:

Ah… You could probably look that stuff up on a Google search. It all comes from old English way of measuring - 600 nails could be bought for six pence or six penny, etc. yada yada.

Depending on which story you believe, the term penny was derived in England based upon the number of pence you paid for a pound of nail. Being that the larger nails cost more you there for have a larger designation.

The “d” is derived from denarious, a roman coin similar to the penny.

The most common nails you see in construction are the 6d, 8d, 12d, and 16d. Nails over 4"- 20d, are commonly referred to as spikes.

The most common problem you find in regards to home inspections and nails are improper sized and wrong application, especially with common nails being used in pressured treated materials.

Those who do phased inspections can easily pick apart a house if they so choose…especially in regards to exterior sheathing, joist and trust fastening.

Your basic 16d cc fastener has a minimum of 200 # of holding power… at least according to an engineer that I work with from time to time… I can also attest that when driven through you hand or foot, which I have done at least a half dozen times with a nail gun… they are difficult to get out…although I have never measured the force it takes to pull one out, it does in deed hurt.

Yea… I could of, but what would be the fun in that? Ribbing you is so much more fulfilling!!! ;):smiley:


Thanks for the info (BTW Ben, I am familiar with most of it)… :smiley:

And the testimonial to the holding strength… :shock:

Hope none of them were ring-shanked… ;-):smiley:

Might at well add a little history to this topic.
The term “penny”, as it refers to nails, is thought to have originated in medieval England to describe the price of 100 nails. (e.g. 100 3-1/2” nails would cost 16 pence, while 100 2-1/2” nails could be bought for 6 pence.) This system of classifying nails by size according to price was in place by 1477 AD. The letter “d”, which means penny, stands for the Latin name given to Roman Coins, Denarius.
The size of the nail is determined by measuring its length. Nails start at 2d, which is 1” in length, and range up to 60d which is 6” in length. From 2d to 16d the penny length increases by quarter inches. Above 16d, the size increases by half inches. Nails longer than 60d or shorter than 2d are described in inches or fractions thereof.

amazing what you old guys know…:mrgreen::mrgreen::mrgreen:

Jeff if you have driven 16 sinkers through hand or foot at least a half dozen times You might want to think about slowing down just a tad…

Old guys…and Marcel…

Hey, what’s all this talk about old guys.?
Jae 's got me beat by a couple of decades. :mrgreen:

sorry i couldn’t help myself…

Just look at all the **wisdom **you possess and share with all us youngsters ;):D:D

Thanks a lot buddy. :twisted:

My son asked me the other day why my left hands shakes but not my right… I told him because its scared of my right hand… it has a tendency to shoot my left hand when given a chance. :mrgreen:

As for as slowing down… I just keep my tetanus shots updated.

Jeffery, nails usually grow all by themselves on your toes, no need to implant more than you need.:mrgreen::wink:

Didn’t you guys break away from England at some point??? Just can’t fully complete the separation???

Up here in Canada, we call a 3+1/2" nail… a 3+1/2 inch nail. And that’s even after we got metric…fied. No “d” used anywhere…call it like it is!!