Different Types of Wood Nails

Phillip James

Nails are the mainstay of wood construction throughout the world. Due to the variety of applications, many different styles of nails have been developed to meet specific needs. There are nail types suited for large framing projects to delicate trim work and everything in between.

Wood nails come in a variety of sizes and designs.

Round-Wire Nails


These nails are designed for general work. They have a large, flat head and come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses. This type of nail is so widely used in general construction that it is also known as a "Common" nail. Do not use these nails for decorative or trim work; the large head cannot be hidden and this nail shape is prone to splitting thin wood.

Oval-Wire Nails

As the name implies, these nails have an oval wire shape instead of a round one. They have smaller heads and are well-suited to applications where thin wood must be fastened. This nail type is designed to avoid splitting wood as they are hammered in. Because of the smaller, rounded head, oval-wire nails do not have as much holding power as common nails.

Lost-Head Nails

Finishing nails are designed to disappear into the surface of wood.

Used exclusively for trim work and crafts, these nails have a head designed to be sunk below the surface of the wood with a small punch. This allows the nail to be completely hidden in a finished project. These nails are usually the smallest type available and because of their application are usually referred to as "finishing" nails.