What are the different sizes of finishing nails?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 
A hand driving a nail into a wood with a hammer.
Finishing nails are small nails with very small heads used for final touches for molding. Kohei Hara / Getty Images
Key Takeaways
  • Finishing nails are small, with tiny heads, designed for the final touches like molding or trim. They sink into surfaces for a nearly invisible finish.
  • These nails are steel and come in various sizes and thicknesses, with gauge sizes ranging from 16 to 10, indicating the nail's strength. The smaller the gauge, the stronger the nail.
  • Lengths vary from 1 to 4 inches (2.5 to 10 cm), measured in "penny" units denoted with "d," where a 2d nail is 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and a 6d nail is 2 inches (5 cm) long.

Finishing nails are small nails with very small heads. They are usually used for "final touches" such as molding or trim. They usually are sunken into the surface and leave a small hole that can be filled in with putty and painted over for a smooth finish and invisible nail and nail hole.

Finishing nails are made of steel, and they come in different sizes and thicknesses. The gauge size, or thickness of the nail, is a measure of how strong the nail is. Gauge size ranges from 16 to 10, the smaller the gauge size, the stronger the nail. Finishing nails vary in length from 1 inch to 4 inches (2.5 centimeter to 10 centimeters). The size of finish nails is also measured by "penny" units. The letter "d" is used to determine length. In this method, a 2d finishing nail is 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) long, and a 6d nail is 2 inches (5 centimeters) long.



Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the right gauge size for my finishing nails?
Choose a smaller gauge size for stronger nails needed for heavier trim or molding work to ensure durability and support.
What's the best method for achieving a smooth finish after using finishing nails?
Use wood putty to fill in the small holes left by finishing nails, then sand lightly and paint over for an invisible nail finish.