What Is Shank of Nail – Nail Shank Types and Diameters


The nail shank is the part that involves the most holding, what are the different types of nail shanks and what are common diameter sizes?

What Is Shank of Nail?

In carpentry or construction, the nail is a kind of fastener, and the shank of a nail refers to the long, cylindrical part of the nail that extends from the head to the tip. The shank is the part of the nail that is typically inserted into the wood or material being fastened. The shank can vary in diameter, length, and shape depending on the intended use and the type of nail. The shank can be smooth or have ridges or threads, which can provide more holding power and prevent the nail from slipping or pulling out of the wood.

What Are Different Types of Nail Shanks?

– Smooth Shank: A smooth shank is a straight, plain cylindrical nail without any ridges, twists, or threads. Smooth shank nails are commonly used for finishing work where the nail head must be concealed, such as trim and molding.

– Ring Shank: Ring shank nails have a series of raised rings or ridges around the shank, providing extra holding power by creating friction that helps prevent the nail from pulling out of the wood.

– Screw Shank: Screw shank nails have a spiral thread that wraps around the shank, providing superior holding power for heavy-duty applications such as framing and decking.

– Annular Shank: Annular shank nails have a spiral twist that runs the length of the shank, creating a series of sharp barbs that grip the wood, providing a secure hold.

– Fluted Shank: Fluted shank nails have a series of shallow grooves or flutes running the length of the shank to provide additional grip while reducing the risk of splitting the wood.

– Tapered Shank: Tapered shank nails are made with a shank that is thicker at the head than at the tip. This design makes the nail easier to drive into the wood, reducing the risk of splitting the wood.


Differences between ring shank and smooth shank

1. Holding Power: Ring shank nails have significantly more holding power than smooth shank nails. The rings or ridges on the shank create friction with the wood, preventing the nail from pulling out.

2. Splitting Prevention: Ring shank nails are better at preventing splitting, especially in hardwoods, as they create less stress on the wood fibers compared to smooth shank nails.

3. Nail Head Concealment: Smooth shank nails are a better option when nail head concealment is required, typically for finishing work where the nail head must be covered.

4. Ease of Installation: Smooth shank nails are generally easier to install than ring shank nails, as the latter can often require more force to drive into the wood.

5. Cost: Ring shank nails are generally more expensive than smooth shank nails due to the added manufacturing process.

What Is the Shank Diameter of a Nail?

The shank diameter of a nail refers to the thickness or diameter of the cylindrical portion of the nail that is driven into a material, typically wood, to secure two pieces of material together. It is usually measured in fractions of an inch or in millimeters, depending on the country and the system of measurement used. The shank diameter of a nail can vary depending on the length and type of the nail, as well as the intended application. Generally speaking, thicker shanks provide better holding power and are better suited for larger, heavier-duty nails, while thinner shanks are used for smaller, lighter-duty nails and finishing work.


What are common shank diameters for nails? For example, for 6d nail shank (11 gauge), the diameter is 0.12-inch, other sizes include 2-inch shank length and 17/64-inch head diameter. And for a 16d, 8-gauge nail shank, the diameter is 0.165-inch, along with a 3.5-inch shank length and 11/32-inch head diameter.

Shank diameter of different nails

2d, 15 gauge, 0.072-inch 

2d, 14 gauge, 0.083-inch

3d: 14-gauge, 0.083-inch 

4d: 12-gauge, 0.109-inch

5d: 12-gauge, 0.109-inch 

6d: 11-gauge, 0.12-inch 

8d: 10-gauge, 0.134-inch

10d: 9-gauge, 0.148-inch 

12d: 9-gauge, 0.148-inch

16d: 8-gauge, 0.165-inch

20d: 6-gauge, 0.203-inch

30d: 5-gauge, 0.220-inch

40d: 4-gauge, 0.238-inch 

60d: 4-gauge, 0.238-inch