Keeping Nails from Splitting Wood
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated October 2, 2019)
If you have ever had a piece of wood split on you because of a nail, then you know just how frustrating the whole thing can be. Not only is it frustrating, but it can also end up being fairly expensive if you have to keep going back and buying new wood and nails so you can get the job done. There are several tricks that you can use for keeping nails from splitting wood, most of which don't really require a whole lot of extra work or money from you. All you need to do is use one or more of these methods, and the chances of you having an incident of splitting wood will be dramatically reduced.
- Harder isn't always better. While hardwood is always a popular choice, it isn't always the best choice. The reason for this is rather simple, hard wood tends to be brittle and split a whole lot easier. Frankly, if you have the ability to incorporate soft wood into your plans, you should since the chances of it splitting will be dramatically lower than it would with the hard stuff.
- Check the point. Surprisingly, a sharp point doesn't necessarily mean that you will be less likely to have wood split. In fact, if you use sharp pointed nails then the nail will act as a wedge and help to split the wood. Instead, take a look at the nails and if the points are sharp dull them a little bit. The duller tip will, instead of acting like a wedge act more like a pile driver and crush the wood. Simply slam the nail point against something harder (like stone) and you will be able to dull the point enough.
- Coat your nails. Another fantastic method for avoiding split wood is to make your nails just a tad slippery. This is easily accomplished by dipping the nail into petroleum jelly, paraffin wax, or to rub a bar of soap all over the nail (exempting the head). This slippery coating will in effect lubricate the nail so that it go through the wood a whole lot easier.
- Use guide holes. Use an electric drill, and create a few guide holes where you want your nail to go. This will do a couple of different things, all of which can be beneficial. Not only will this reduce the amount of wood that your nails have to go through (thereby reducing the chance of creating a split), but it will also help you to make sure that you drive the nail straight. Just make sure that you use a drill bit that is a little narrower than the nail you plan on using.
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