Nail Sizes

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The pennyweight scale that manufacturers use to size nails was developed centuries ago as an approximation of the number of pennies it would take to buy 100 nails of that size. The range of nail types available today (and what they cost) is much wider, but the scale is still in use. Each pennyweight refers to a specific length (see chart, below), although you will find slight variations in length from one nail type to the next. For example, box nails of a given pennyweight are roughly 1/8″ shorter than common nails of the same weight.

Nail SizesEstimating Nail Quantities

Estimate the number of nails you’ll need for a project, then use the chart to determine approximately how many pounds of nails to purchase.

Pennyweight
2d
3d
4d
5d
6d
7d
8d
10d
12d
16d
20d
Length (in.)
1
1 1/4
1 1/2
1 5/8
2
2 1/8
2 1/2
3
3 1/4
3 1/2
4
Common
870
543
294
254
167
101
66
61
47
29
Box
635
473
406
236
210
145
94
88
71
39
Cement-coated
527
387
293
223
153
111
81
64
52
Finish
1350
880
630
535
288
196
124
113
93
39
Masonry
155
138
100
78
64
48
43
34

Note: Sizes and quantities not listed are less common, although they may be available through some manufacturers.

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